Via The Sports Xchange
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Skyler Howard threw four touchdowns against the hometown school that didn’t recruit him as No. 12 West Virginia crushed TCU 34-10 on Saturday.
Rushel Shell ran for 117 yards, Howard threw for 231 and the Mountaineers (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) extended their best start since beginning 7-0 in 2006.
The most surprising aspect has been the defense, which suffocated one of the nation’s high-scoring attacks for the second straight week.
“I thought it was our most complete game,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, whose program has won 11 of its last 12 dating to last season. “Feels good to be 6-0 … but you’re only as good as your next one. You can’t get too excited about it, can’t feel too good about it.”
Despite 103 rushing yards from Kyle Hicks, the Horned Frogs (4-3, 2-2) fell to 0-3 against teams currently ranked in the AP top 25 and came nowhere near their 40 points-per-game average.
“Our kids played 60 minutes today. It was fun to watch,” said West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson. “Expectations get higher every week if we continuing to do what we do.”
Howard’s final touchdown, a 16-yarder off a scramble, was scooped off the turf by Ka’Raun White to put West Virginia ahead 31-10 late in the third quarter. That followed Daikiel Shorts reaching around TCU cornerback Niko Smalls for a leaping 36-yard catch, and Jovon Durante contorting his body to snatch a 31-yarder away from two defenders.
“Those receivers bailed me out a lot today,” Howard said. “On the stat sheet it looks like I had a really good day, but I was just average. The receivers were the players of the game. They were just out there balling.”
Frogs quarterback Kenny Hill finished 18-of-31 passing for 148 yards with a touchdown and an interception. TCU finished 2 of 11 on third downs and fumbled away two kickoffs while enduring its lowest-scoring output since 2013.
“You can’t win ballgames when you turn the ball over. And if you can’t move the football you don’t score,” said Frogs coach Gary Patterson, who admired West Virginia’s defensive effort. “At times you have to go make plays and we didn’t get anything over the top of them.”
West Virginia recovered Deante Gray’s fumble on the opening kickoff and scored three plays later on Howard’s 10-yard pass to Shorts.
The lead grew to 14-0 when Howard found Shelton Gibson with a 22-yard strike.
TCU drew within 14-10 on Hill’s 11-yard pass to Jaelen Austin only to see the Mountaineers answer 1:45 later on Howard’s third touchdown of the half, a 12-yarder to Gary Jennings.
Controlling the ball for nearly 14 minutes of the third quarter, West Virginia outnumbered TCU’s plays 28-4.