Frogs down SMU after slow start

Billy Wessels, Publisher
Purple Menace

TCU overcame a trio of lost fumbles to hang on to the Iron Skillet.

SMU was able to muster 13 points off those turnovers, but it wasn't enough as TCU's offense did enough to seal the 56-36 victory.

"This was there Super Bowl. We knew this is what is was going to be like and they did everything," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "We got their A game. To be honest, we didn't play very well. It's not bad if you don't play well and still get 56."

The Mustangs led for much of the first half, but their spirits appeared to drop on the final play of the first half. SMU took a 22-21 lead with 17 seconds left in the half.

A long return to the TCU 44 by KaVontae Turpin and a run by Kenedy Snell put the Frogs at the SMU 38-yard line with three seconds left. Kenny Hill lofted a Hail Mary towards the end zone and freshman wide receiver Jalen Reagor was the only player for either team to leap for the ball and came down with the touchdown.

"We knew he could do it. We weren't surprised he could jump up there," Patterson said. "Him and (Waxahachie teammate) Kenedy Snell. We've been chasing Snell all two-a-days."

TCU quarterback Kenny Hill says the team practices those Hail Mary balls to Reagor on Fridays.

"I was just throwing it up to him and let him make a play," Hill said. "Every Friday we do late game situations. It was easier on Friday against air though."

Armed with the momentum of that last second score, the Frogs took care of business in the second half and forced a pair of turnovers of their own, a pair of interceptions.

Travin Howard got the first pick and took it to the house from 19 yards out for the Frogs' final score. Ranthony Texada's pick in the final minutes allowed the Frogs to run out the clock.

Those two big plays by the defense put the icing on the victory, but the offense for TCU stole the show. Looking at Hill's stat line, you'd throw him in the middle of the Heisman discussion. He completed 24 of 30 passes for 365 yards and four touchdowns without an interception. He missed a few open guys and a short pass to Snell was taken 71 yards to the house to help his stats.

"He was alright. You can't take sacks. We have to quit taking negative yard plays," Patterson said. "Not every play you can make a miracle. Get out of the pocket and throw it away. Make it second and 10 not second and 17."


Hill also threw touchdowns to KaVontae Turpin and Shaun Nixon. Turpin led the team with seven catches and 88 yards.

Darius Anderson led the way on the ground again with 14 carries and 89 yards and two touchdowns, one from four and the other from 38 yards out. Kyle Hicks had 11 carries for 87 yards, but didn't play in the second half and may not play next week. He was on the sideline without his helmet for the final two quarters.

TCU finished with 619 yards of offense. SMU racked up 463, easily the most the Frogs have allowed on the season. A good chunk of the damage came on a pair of trick plays early in the game.

"All you can think is 'Oh crap'," defensive end Ben Banogu said. "Once it happens, you just have to throw it away and play the next down. After they hit us with those we came to the sideline and said 'they've emptied their hat and now have to run their offense'."

TCU ran a flea flicker and a wide receiver pass for 58 and 34 yards, respectively. SMU had 181 of its 463 yards in the first quarter. This is the third straight game that TCU has given up its most yards in the first quarter.

"I just think there wasn't a lot of attention to detail early," Patterson said. "That was their chance to do what they needed to do and they did it. Funny thing is, we worked on them."

Patterson and his team can't afford to get off to a slow start next week when No. 20 TCU (3-0) visits No. 9 Oklahoma State (3-0) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.

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