No. 12 West Virginia beats TCU, has best start since '06
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) West Virginia cornerback Rasul Douglas wanted TCU to have a taste of what the Horned Frogs did to the Mountaineers a year ago.
Douglas had an interception to set up a touchdown and No. 12 West Virginia held TCU scoreless in the second half of a 34-10 win Saturday.
It was the second straight blowout in the series after TCU won 40-10 last year in Fort Worth, Texas. Their first three games after joining the Big 12 in 2012 were decided on the final snap, including two that went to overtime.
''We owed them,'' Douglas said. ''No disrespect to them, but we owed them as a team.''
A retooled defense that has vastly improved over the past month is one reason why West Virginia (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) is off to its best start since winning its first seven games in 2006.
''I thought it was our most complete game,'' said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen. ''It feels good to be 6-0. It's hard to win. So when you do, you've got to enjoy it a little bit.''
TCU (4-3, 2-2) had only five second-half possessions. Three ended in punts, Deante' Gray fumbled away a kickoff and the final possession ended on downs.
This one went the Mountaineers' way from the start. West Virginia scored touchdowns in the game's first six minutes after two TCU turnovers – another fumbled kickoff by Gray and Douglas' interception of Kenny Hill.
West Virginia's Skyler Howard threw four touchdowns passes, including tosses of 10, 22 and 11 yards to three different receivers to stake the Mountaineers to a 21-10 halftime lead. Helped by some impressive catches by his receivers, including Ka'Raun White's diving 16-yard TD grab in the third quarter, Howard finished 16 of 23 passing for 231 yards.
''To have guys like that to bail you out, it's great as a quarterback,'' Howard said. ''It makes your job a lot easier.''
West Virginia used scoring drives of 11 and 15 plays in the third quarter to eat up most of the clock.
TCU: With a bye week to fix an offense that was lethargic in a close win at Kansas , not much worked for the Horned Frogs against West Virginia. Hill completed 18 of 31 passes for a season-low 148 yards. TCU's 300 total yards also were a season worst.
TCU was saddled with its most lopsided loss since joining the conference, surpassing a 23-point setback to Texas in 2013.
''The bottom line is you're not going to win any ball games if you turn the ball over,'' said TCU coach Gary Patterson. ''And if you can't move the ball, you don't score.''
West Virginia: The Mountaineers' defense, which has nine new starters this season, is fast becoming the staple of this team. In successive weeks the Mountaineers have held high-scoring Texas Tech and TCU to their lowest point totals of the season.
''Our kids, I tell you, I keep saying it every week. They're fun to coach,'' said West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson. ''They just get it. They come in and they work. These guys, they just find a way.''
West Virginia could be poised to edge closer to its first Top 10 appearance since October 2012 when the AP poll comes out Sunday.
With Justin Crawford limited to one carry after sustaining a sprained ankle last week, Rushel Shell got the bulk of the work for West Virginia, finishing with 117 yards on 24 carries. It was his second-straight 100-yard effort after he had 70 yards combined in the two games before that.
TCU hosts Texas Tech next Saturday.
West Virginia plays at Oklahoma State.
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