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MMQB: Inconsistencies, Penalties, and Sign Language

There’s a lot to unpack from Saturday’s loss to Arkansas.

NCAA Football: Arkansas at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The Frogs are 1-1, and the defense has given up 40+ points in back to back games for the first time since 2004. There’s a lot to unpack from this one, so let’s dive right in.

The Good

KaVontae Turpin is unstoppable. He accumulated 295 all-purpose yards on Saturday night, giving him 472 all-purpose yards through the first two games of the season.

Turpin had 136 kick return yards, 126 receiving yards, and 33 punt return yards. None were more critical, though, than the 64-yard kick return with under a minute left in regulation. It should have ended in TCU walking away with a 31-28 victory, but a blocked field goal voided Turpin’s stellar effort. Either way, Turpin was named Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week for the second consecutive week.

Kyle Hicks had 141 total yards (92 receiving, 49 rushing) on 19 total touches, and all I can think of to say is give him the ball more please. He had just six carries at the half, and while this will never be a run-first offense, everything seemed off-balance until the fourth quarter. Another thing I noticed about Hicks in this game is that he was a total beast picking up the rush. His blocking gave Kenny Hill extra time on multiple occasions, and was especially critical in the fourth quarter. He’s proving himself to be a legitimate three-down back.

The first half defense was actually pretty good too, especially in the red zone, allowing Arkansas to score just six points, despite being on the field for 17:30.

As bad as the offense was in the first half (see below) they were great in the fourth quarter. TCU racked up 180 yards of offense and 21 points in 9:25 of game time. If that offense shows up consistently, this team will be hard to beat.

The Bad

TCU had two horrible turnovers that turned into a 14-point swing. First, a Deante Gray fumble inside Arkansas’ 10-yard line negated what almost certainly would have been touchdown drive (at the very least a field goal drive) for the Frogs. At that point, Arkansas led just 3-0, but it killed TCU’s momentum, and they wouldn’t get it back until the fourth quarter.

Sure, the referees missed a facemask call on Gray during the play. It was a bad non-call, and it would have negated the fumble. But, it wasn’t such an egregious pull on his mask that he should have dropped the ball, especially because he took another step or two before the ball (which was as far away from his body as it could have been) was fumbled.

Kenny Hill made another terrible throw for an interception this week, but this time an Arkansas linebacker took it back for a touchdown. It was the cherry on top of what was arguably the worst offensive half TCU has had since Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie stepped foot on campus.

Inconsistencies have killed this team through the first two games, and if they continue the Frogs will find themselves in a mid-tier bowl at best. As good as the defense was in the first half, they were as soft in the second. Part of that has to be attributed to being worn out, but there were also some major weaknesses exposed for the second week in a row. There was very little pressure on Austin Allen throughout the night by the defensive line. He had all the time he needed to make his reads and find his open receivers.

Secondly, because there was very little pressure, TCU’s corners were forced to cover receivers for an extended period of time. As you know, the 4-2-5 often puts CBs on an island, and when your corners are a still not-100% Ranthony Texada and a true freshman, that spells disaster.

It also goes without saying that nine penalties for 95 yards in a game of this nature is just plain unacceptable. TCU now has been flagged 21 times for 220 yards in their first two games of the season. Cleaning up the penalties will go a long way towards helping this team become more consistent.

The “Throat Slash”

Kenny Hill finished this game with 470 total yards of offense and three touchdowns. At some points in the game he looked completely dominant. At others, he made some very bad mistakes, the interception being one of them.

However, what he’ll be criticized for is the controversial motion made in the endzone after TCU took a 27-20 lead (prior to the extra point). You can see the still of the motion above. He’s making the letter ‘K’ in sign language, and the motion of his arm, which goes from his left shoulder down towards is right hip, is the sign for ‘kings’ in American Sign Language.

However, it was misinterpreted by an official as a throat slash, and so he was tagged with a 15-yard penalty. That, ultimately, gave Arkansas a short field and an easier chance to come down and tie the game, which they did.

Here’s my take: He’s done it before and hasn’t been penalized, but now it’s time to stop. It’s an easily misunderstood motion, and therefore needs to be removed from his repertoire.

In fact, it’s best if he just holds off and sticks to celebrating on the sideline. At least, that’s what former TCU linebacker Robert Henson thinks.

Game Clock Management

It was mentioned in the comments on another article here, and Matt Zemek of Today U wrote about it too. Should TCU have tried not to score at the end of regulation?

It makes sense if you think about it.

TCU had the ball and a one point lead with just over two minutes left in the game. Arkansas only had one timeout. If TCU gets the first down on Kenny Hill’s run but he goes down short of the goal line, the Frogs can run the clock out and effectively end the game.

It’s an interesting strategy to consider, at the very least.

More Headlines

There were some pretty interesting stories around the country this weekend. Here are a few.