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1-11 Takeaways from TCU’s 45-22 win over Baylor

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The Frogs have won 10 games and earned a spot in the Big 12 Championship Game.

NCAA Football: Baylor at Texas Christian Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Things started ugly for the Horned Frogs, who quickly fell in a nine point hole after a safety and a quick Baylor score. But 21 unanswered later, TCU had righted the ship and taken control, staking themselves to a lead they wouldn’t surrender. Here’s what we know and what we learned.

  1. Kenny Hill was really good. The senior QB came back off of injury and looked sharp through the middle and late stages of the came, shaking off some early rust and finishing with 325 yards, three touchdowns, and no turnovers. He wasn’t perfect - he grazed the grass a couple times on some low throws and struggled with his internal clock early, but he really picked up his game (despite a bad day from the offensive line) and led his team to victory and to the championship game. The Frogs couldn’t get much going in the run game, so it was all on Hill’s shoulders, and he delivered. Happy to see him go out on senior day with one of his better performances.
  2. I think Sewo got the message. Gary Patterson has been sub-tweeting the big running back since Darius Anderson’s injury, calling him out for not making the most of his opportunity and imploring him - or anyone - to step up behind Kyle Hicks. Well, on Friday morning, Olonilua delivered, and right when the Frogs needed it the most. Hicks had a rough day - the offensive line got no push, created no holes, and gave him no room, and because of that, he finished with 10 carries on 11 yards. Well, Sewo doesn’t need a hole, he just bulldozes through the line and makes his own, today to the tune of 71 yards on ten carries including a 32 yard TD. TCU will desperately need a running game against the Sooners next week, and it appears Olonilua is up to the challenge. And oh, he also caught three balls on three targets for 40 yards, most of them starting at or behind the LOS.
  3. Who had Jarrison Stewart in the POTW pool? The junior wide receiver has been MIA in 2017, having not caught a pass since the opening game (where he caught one ball for 12 yards) and was a DNP for the rest of the non-conference slate. Well, he went off on Friday, catching six balls on seven targets for 72 yards and a score, giving Kenny Hill a reliable target and keeping the Frogs’ offense moving. On a day where 11 different players caught passes, one stood out - and he was a surprising, but effective, star for a team that needed one.
  4. Speaking of stars... HELLO MAT BOESEN. The senior defensive end saved his best game for his last in the Carter, absolutely going off for 5.5 sacks (a TCU single-game record), ten tackles (eight solo!), a QB hit, and a forced fumble. He was all over the field for the Frogs, and a patchwork Baylor offensive line had absolutely no answer for his combination of speed and strength. Boesen turned the tide early when he stripped Charlie Brewer deep in Baylor territory, leading to TCU’s first score of the game. Things only got worse for the Bears, who could do nothing to slow the man they call Sunshine down. Boesen has 11.5 sacks on the season to lead the defense, and will now get a chance at redemption and Baker Mayfield next Saturday. Here’s hoping he has a couple more in him.
  5. The Frogs got killed by the flare. Charlie Check-Down burned TCU time and time again by hitting flare outs and check-downs and the Baylor athletes turned them into huge gains. On more than a couple occasions, TCU sent a blitz, and when they didn’t get home, the Bears threw right into the vacancy. Baylor had receptions of 58, 54, 25, and 23 yards, mostly on balls that didn’t travel more than ten yards through the air. It’s a recipe for disaster against a team like OU, which has a lot more playmakers than Baylor, and something they’ll have to fix over the course of the next week.
  6. TCU continues to struggle on third down, but was really good in the red zone. The Frogs were just 5-14 against a bad Baylor defense on third down, and 0-1 on fourth, but went 5-5 in scoring territory, passing for two scores, running for two more, and making a short field goal. Hill made good decisions in the red zone, finding Stewart and White for scores and running in a third on a QB keeper. Most of the failed third downs were short pass plays that didn’t get close to the sticks and asked the receivers to do too much after the catch, or runs by backs that looked up and faced a brick wall.
  7. The Frogs miss Patrick Morris, Darius Anderson, Travin Howard, and Niko Small. But they can’t use that as an excuse. It’s amazing how much different the line looks when Morris is in, but it doesn’t appear GP is ready to take the governor off him just yet. And while Ty Summers, Arico Evans, and Sammy Douglas have been really good the last two weeks (14 tackles, a sack, and a PBU combined against Baylor), Howard just brings something different to the table and will be a key cog against OU. The secondary has certainly looked vulnerable at times, and not having their smart, heady safety definitely changes the blitz schemes - maybe that’s why the back side was so wide open today? - and of course Darius Anderson is an uber talented back that can change the pace complementing Hicks. But, at this point in the season, every team has injuries and no one can use them as an excuse. The Frogs have to find answers, and fast.
  8. Let’s talk about the fight. Okay, this is a TCU fan site, and it’s fair to assume we would be a little biased. But I really believe I am being fair when I say that while the sideline hit was close to being late, the way they were throwing flags, if it was egregious enough to draw one, it would have - especially on the Baylor sideline. And even if it was late, it wasn’t enough to draw a cheap shot in the back by #52 from Baylor, and certainly not worthy of a benches clearing “brawl”. But the Frogs have to be smarter than that - Baylor has absolutely nothing to play for, and no consequences leveled could have hurt them. Their season ended today, while the Frogs are just gearing up for the meat of theirs. I have a feeling there will be a lot of players running a lot of stairs tomorrow, and hopefully those are the only consequences remaining. BUT, what I will say, is the game absolutely turned on that moment. The crowd, pretty quiet for the 11am tip-off against the 1-11 Bears, got frenzied and furious, as did the TCU players. From that moment on, it was all TCU, and while they scored just ten more points, they stomped all over Baylor on defense and completely ripped their hearts out. The game was over.
  9. John Diarse is the spiritual leader of this team. The senior wide receiver has had a couple of really bad weeks, starting with an inexcusable penalty on the opening drive against OU in Norman and ending with a couple bad drops. But he reasserted himself as the heart and soul of this team Friday while catching just one pass on six targets. When all hell was breaking loose on the Baylor sideline, it was John Diarse extorting the crowd, running up and down the sideline imploring the fans to support the team. It worked, and the Carter got loud and lathered. And that was a ton of fun.
  10. TCU can absolutely beat OU. It appears that KaVontae Turpin will be okay, and that’s a huge key to victory, but there is no reason to think this version of the Horned Frogs can’t have some redemption next Saturday in Arlington. GP is one of the best in the business at making adjustments, and he will have his biggest challenge yet in Baker Mayfield and the explosive Sooner O. But this one isn’t in Norman, and while it will assuredly be a pro-Sooner crowd, it won’t be nearly as intimidating as Oklahoma’s home field. Hopefully Morris, Howard, Small, and Song will be back, but if not, the Frogs’ have the horses to pull of the upset.
  11. Baylor is 1-11. That is all.