FORT WORTH, Texas -- To say this one lacked much artistry would be accurate, but also simple and thus do away with the chance to share the most relevant and telling detail about what happened between West Virginia and TCU here Saturday.
The Horned Frogs lost a 14-point lead in the second quarter and erased a 10-point deficit in the fourth to somehow find themselves in overtime against the Mountaineers, but they also wound up with a fourth-and-30 in that overtime and missed a 62-yard field goal.
That kick, oddly and appropriately enough, was not short of the goal posts, but wide to the left and it gave WVU the possession that ended with Josh Lambert's field goal and an untamed celebration after a 30-27 win before the 41,632 witnesses at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
"These were two teams that needed a win and played hard and tried to get one, but we found a way," WVU Coach Dana Holgorsen said. "Obviously, we needed it and I'm proud of the way the guys didn't quit.
"We were up by 10 points in the fourth quarter and all of a sudden they come back and tie it up. We could have said, 'Here we go again,' but we didn't do that and we found a way to get it done."
The Mountaineers improved to 4-5 overall and 2-4 in the Big 12 and need to win two of their final three games to be eligible for a 12th straight bowl. They play host to Texas (6-2, 5-0) Saturday, travel to woeful Kansas (2-6, 0-5) Nov. 16 and play host lowly Iowa State (1-7, 0-5) Nov. 30.
TCU dropped to 3-6 and 1-5 and must win out to play in a bowl for the ninth consecutive season.
How the Horned Frogs and Mountaineers arrived at that point was truly bizarre. TCU had 30 first downs and 87 plays -- both season-high marks -- in a losing effort, largely because of four turnovers that WVU turned into 20 points. Three were on the first play of a drive, the sixth, seventh and eighth times that's happened to the Horned Frogs this season.
Each of the first-snap turnovers contributed to points for WVU and three turnovers in five TCU snaps in a span bridging the third and fourth quarters contributed to a run of 17 unanswered points and a 27-17 lead for the Mountaineers with 7:11 remaining.
That was virtually unanticipated after WVU fell behind 10-3 in the first quarter to a team that entered the game ranked No. 118 among 123 Football Subdivision teams with 2.4 points per game in the first quarter against FBS opponents.
Then again, WVU was No. 112 in first quarter scoring defense at 9.9 points allowed per first quarter.
The lead grew to 17-3 and Holgorsen was starting to deal with his doubts.
"We were beginning to wonder what touchdowns looked like," he said.
He could have never known that TCU would be merely the first to waste a double-digit lead.
WVU's 10-point advantage in the fourth quarter vanished on equally unforeseen scoring drives on consecutive possession by the Horned Frogs. TCU had only 138 yards of offense on nine possessions between its 17-3 lead and 27-17 deficit, but managed 112 on drives that ended with a touchdown at the 3:01 mark and a field goal with 19 seconds left in regulation.
On the first play of overtime, defensive Kyle Rose dropped TCU running back Waymon James for a six-yard loss. It was his fourth and final carry of the game and gave him a tidy zero yards rushing.
Rose proved a good starter, too, with a tipped pass at the line of scrimmage on the game's first play that linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski intercepted to set up the first of Lambert's three field goals, that from 24 yards.
TCU then took another loss after a second-down pass gained one yard when John Woldridge, who it must be said is an offensive lineman, was penalized 15 yards for a late hit. The Horned Frogs then tried to gain all of the 30 yards they needed on third down, but watched as Casey Pachall's career-high 50th pass in his first start in eight weeks sailed well out of bounds.