MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- TCU coach Gary Patterson gambled and went for a two-point conversion in the second overtime and it paid off when Josh Boyce made a diving catch in the end zone to give the Horned Frogs a 39-38 victory over West Virginia on Saturday in a game that was filled with intriguing twists and turns.
The teams missed field goals in the first overtime, then traded touchdowns in the second overtime, Geno Smith of West Virginia hitting Stedman Bailey for a 25-yard touchdown and Trevone Boykin of TCU throwing to Corey Fuller for a touchdown on the first play.
Patterson opted to go for two and Boykin's pass to Boyce survived a review.
TCU (5-4, 3-3 in the Big 12) broke a two-game losing streak, while West Virginia (5-3, 2-3) had its losing streak extended to three games.
A game that was filled more with mistakes than excitement turned thrilling at the end.
With the score tied and 3:19 left, wide receiver Tavon Austin of West Virginia reeled in a punt at his own 24-yard line and ran it back 76 yards for touchdown to give the Mountaineers a 31-24 lead.
The lead appeared safe in the losing minute, when TCU was looking at a second-and-19 at its own six-yard-line, with quarterback Trevone Boykin scrambling to escape a vicious pass rush.
Breaking loose, he almost ran before spotting Boyce wide open down the left-sideline.
Boykin got him the ball on the run and he took it the rest of the 96 yards for a game-tying touchdown that would force overtime with the score tied, 31-31.
West Virginia won the overtime toss and elected to defend, a move that paid off when TCU's Jadon Oberkrom, who was 15-of-18 on field goals this season, missed from 36 yards.
All the Mountaineers needed was a field goal, but its attempt to win the game was blocked by Jason Verrett.
After feeling each other out early, TCU struck first with a 72-yard drive on which it converted three third-down plays before Matthew Tucker crashed over from the two-yard-line to give the Horned Frogs a 7-0 lead that lasted until the end of the first quarter.
It was in the second quarter, however, that West Virginia rediscovered its offense, beginning with J.D. Woods making a spectacular grab of 22-yard pass from Smith in the end zone, wrestling the ball away from safety Elisha Olibode.
As good a play as that was, the play that set up TCU's second touchdown was as bad, with Smith throwing perhaps his worst pass of the season. It was badly underthrown for Stedman Bailey and intercepted by Jason Verrett, who returned it to the West Virginia 46.
To make it worse yet, an unnecessary roughness penalty against guard Josh Jenkins brought the ball to the Mountaineer 31.
That was simply too inviting for Boykin, who ran a couple of fakes in the backfield to freeze West Virginia's safeties on the first play, then hit Boyce for a 31-yard touchdown to make it 14-7.
West Virginia was not about to crack here, however, as it went to its top weapon, wide receiver Tavon Austin on one of those touch passes from Smith.
Austin made an electrifying run with the ball, going left to the sideline, seemingly hemmed in, only to cut to back to the right, go clear to the other sideline and into the end zone for a 43yard touchdown that tied the score.
West Virginia's beleaguered defense at this point made a stop and got the ball back but the Mountaineers could not move it, being forced to punt.
However, Skye Dawson fumbled the punt right Nama Kyeremeh of the Mountaineers, who recovered at the TCU nine-yard-line. On fourth down at the one, Shawne Alston burst into the end zone and West Virginia led, 21-14.
It was the first time the Mountaineers had led in 145 minutes and 28 days. They took the lead into the locker room at halftime.
TCU got it to within 24-21 in the third quarter when it took advantage of a bad snap on a West Virginia punt and Dominic Merka ran it into the end zone.
However, when TCU had a chance to take the lead later in the quarter, linebacker Isaiah Bruce intercepted a pass to kill the opportunity, sending the game into the fourth quarter.
NOTES: Wide receiver Stedman Bailey of West Virginia, who leads the nation in touchdown receptions, did not start. In his place was Ivan McCartney. Bailey has been slowed by an ankle sprain. ... Cornerback Brodrick Jenkins of West Virginia did not start but was in uniform. He underwent arthroscopic knee surgery two weeks ago. Before the first quarter was over the other cornerback, Pat Miller, went to the dressing room because of an injury. ... Running back Shawne Alston of West Virginia, playing on his birthday, returned after missing nearly five full games because of a deep thigh bruise. ... West Virginia forced five punts in the first half, as many as it forced in the previous four games.