Up: Kenny Hill
Hill was absolutely fantastic Saturday, as he threw for 278 yards and 5 touchdowns on 19/26 passing. Hill remains in the top 10 nationally in just about every stat measuring pass efficiency, plus has used his legs when he needs to in order to pick up key yardage and first downs. He had a couple of perfectly thrown balls into the endzone including a throw on the run to Desmon White, one he stepped into and rifled into the hands of Jalen Reagor, and an absolute dime dropped into the arms of John Diarse. He’s demonstrating leadership and good decision-making both on and off the field, which is exactly what the 2017 Horned Frogs need at the quarterback position.
Jonathan Song and Cole Bunce combined to miss two extra points and a kickoff out of bounds. While Song is a perfect 7/7 on the season for field goals (a very welcome sight after last year’s kicking woes), having two missed extra points over the last two games is mildly concerning moving forward. I’m still not sure yet if that’s on Song or the placeholder, but when your head coach preaches “Win by one point,” every point is going to matter in big games.
Up: The Defense
The defense was literally the most dominant thing anyone has seen in college football in the last 20 years. TCU broke the Big 12 record for yards allowed, giving up negative yardage for the majority of the game and ending up with 21 yards allowed on the night. That’s just nasty. Everybody was swarming, especially the defensive line, and the team finished with 4 sacks and 11 tackles for loss. I know KU is bad, but they did put up 564 yards on Western Virginia and more than 450 in two other games. This point speaks to a lot of things, including Gary Patterson’s preparation and knack of recognizing tendencies in opposing offenses, the defense being both talented and experienced enough to execute, and...
Down: Doug Meacham
KU OC Doug Meacham sat in this stairwell spot for more than 5 minutes. Head down, face in hands. Not sure I've ever seen a coach so dejected pic.twitter.com/snfoUu8KCt— Jesse Newell (@jessenewell) October 22, 2017
I do feel bad for the guy, because he does a lot of things well as a coach, and by all accounts seems like a decent guy. Ultimately deciding to land in Lawrence is a noble (albeit likely futile) deed for any Offensive Coordinator looking to move up in the coaching ranks. That being said, his play-calling is questionable at best and atrocious at worst, not to mention extremely predictable, which may have been the biggest reason why he and TCU parted ways last offseason.
Up: The Wide Receivers
Twelve different Frogs caught passes Saturday, combining for 284 yards receiving and a 14.2 yard average. John Diarse was the most impressive, catching 4 balls for 130 yards and 2 touchdowns, including this 67-yard catch-and-run that Hill threaded between the cornerback and safety:
Jalen Reagor caught 3 balls for 43 yards and 2 touchdowns, and even a wild Taj Williams appeared to catch a 26 yard touchdown strike from Hill in the second quarter. Biggest win for this squad? None of them had a bad drop in this game, which was also a welcome sight after last week’s pair of would-be big catches.
Down: Running Game
This one is the most nit-picky (there’s only so many ‘downs’ after a 43-point shutout), but the running game wasn’t as effective as some had hoped coming into this game. TCU rushed a total of 42 times, but “only” managed a 4.5 yard average as a team by the time the final whistle blew. Darius Anderson and Kyle Hicks averaged 5.2 and 5.7 yards, respectively, but their longest run was a 22 yarder by Hicks. That’s back-to-back weeks where the running game managed about average against the 8th- and 9th-ranked rush defenses in the Big 12.