No. 12 West Virginia tops TCU, keeps improving defense

West Virginia wide receiver Daikiel Shorts (6) celebrates making a catch during the first half of an NCAA college football game against TCU, Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016, in Morgantown, W.Va. (AP Photo/Raymond Thompson)
AP

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) Skyler Howard threw four touchdown passes and No. 12 West Virginia's improving defense held TCU scoreless in the second half of a 34-10 win Saturday.

And there's this, too: 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.''

Howard had first-half TD tosses of 10, 22 and 11 yards to three different receivers to stake West Virginia to a 21-10 halftime lead. Howard finished 16 of 23 passing for 231 yards.

West Virginia used scoring drives of 11 and 15 plays in the third quarter to eat up most of the clock.

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.

The Mountaineers scored touchdowns in the game's first six minutes after two TCU turnovers – another fumbled kickoff by Gray and Rasul Douglas' interception of Kenny Hill.

THE TAKEAWAY

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.

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.

''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.''

POLL IMPLICATIONS

West Virginia could be poised to edge closer to its first Top 10 appearance since October 2012 when the AP poll comes out Sunday.

SHELL GAME

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.

UP NEXT

TCU hosts Texas Tech next Saturday.

West Virginia plays at Oklahoma State.

More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org