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TCU survives against West Virginia on last-second field goal


TCU's College Football Playoff hopes survived -- barely.

On a lackluster day for both offenses, Jaden Oberkrom's 37-yard field goal as time expired gave the Horned Frogs a 31-30 win over West Virginia.

Turnovers were the story of the day, and five of the seven in this one were committed by the Mountaineers, who controlled the game until the final few seconds behind a top-notch defensive effort that ended up falling just short.

The headliners in the contest, especially for NFL scouts, was easily a one-name battle for Big 12 supremacy.

In the battle of Kevin White, the TCU cornerback, and Kevin White, the West Virginia wide receiver, it was the former who emerged from a windy Morgantown with the win and maybe the best day of his career. White took over as the Horned Frogs top cornerback once Jason Verrett was drafted by the San Diego Chargers this year, and he might have set himself up for a nice payday down the road by limiting the Mountaineers star to three catches and 28 yards.

WVU's White, who entered the week as a potential first-round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft behind fellow star receiver Alabama's Amari Cooper, was largely locked into one-on-one matchups but did occasionally draw bracket coverage. The contest was the second straight Big 12 game in which he failed to crack the 100-yard mark after pulling the feat in every other game this year.

The subpar passing game was partially a result of an off day from quarterback Clint Trickett, who was under pressure most of the day by an active front seven and wound up with just 162 yards passing with a single touchdown and two interceptions. If there was a bright spot for Dana Holgorsen's offense, it was the running game, which moved the pile effectively using backs Dreamius Smith, Wendell Smallwood, Andrew Buie and Rushel Shell.

TCU's offense appeared to come crashing down to earth after the team shattered Big 12 records in an 82-point performance against Texas Tech last week. Signal-caller Trevone Boykin made a number of plays with his feet (49 yards, 1 TD rushing) but was average in the passing game (12-of-30 for 166 yards) and wasn't helped by a number of drops by his wideouts.

Receiver Josh Doctson, one of the pleasant surprises this year for the Horned Frogs, had three catches for 29 yards as he battled back from an ankle injury suffered in the team's last game.

At the end of the day, West Virginia can do nothing but kick itself for squandering a chance for the win, but TCU came up with some clutch plays down the stretch to keep its Big 12 title hopes alive, setting up a huge showdown against Kansas State next week in Fort Worth.

You can follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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