It’s a big game and a big road test for TCU tomorrow, as the Frogs travel to Fayetteville to matchup with the SEC’s Arkansas Razorbacks. After a thrilling OT tilt a season ago, can TCU get their revenge and take one from the home team?
The Frog Remembers:
The TCU players, especially on the defensive side of the ball, haven’t forgotten last year’s embarrassing performance, where they allowed Austin Allen to look like a Heisman candidate down the stretch. They are taking this rematch personally, and a little chip on their shoulders is definitely a good thing. I think the Frogs will come out feisty, angry, and more than ready for the rematch. And a quick start could be the difference.
You Do You, Kenny Hill:
Kenny Hill looked super sharp (albeit against a bad team) Saturday, and a lot of that had to do with a game plan that played to his strengths without asking him to do too much. Quick passes, jet sweeps, and a strong running game carried the day, and when Kenny did need to make a play, he delivered far more often than not. His touchdown pass to Emanuel Porter - finally a fade route to a tall guy - was perfectly placed, but my favorite throw of the night was this beauty on a scramble:
On the flip side for Hill, this throw was awesome. He was much more accurate overall. Now does he keep that up against Arkansas? pic.twitter.com/u3qNC28sas— Matt Jennings (@MattAJennings) September 7, 2017
Hill rolls to his left, and after struggling with his accuracy on a move several times earlier in the game, unleashes an absolute dime to the sideline. Throws like that, combined with a great job of using his legs to reel off yardage when needed, made this one of his most complete games as a TCU QB. Sure, there was the pick, but overall, he played within himself - and looked really good doing it.
He’s baaaackkkkk... we think. If Gary Patterson is able to unleash Kyle Hicks Saturday afternoon, it’s going to be a long day for the Hogs. Lost in KaVontae Turpin’s heroics a season ago was an all-around incredible performance by Hicks, who blistered Arky as a receiver in addition to punching it in twice on the ground. The Razorbacks had no answer for TCU’s running back, and with a younger defense in 2017, that likely hasn’t changed. Add in a receiving corp that seems capable of actually catching the ball, and some fun new weapons for Cumbie and Luper to deploy, and Hicks could have an even bigger day on the road.
Mind the Gap(s):
We all know that the Razorbacks are going to run the ball. But just because you know it’s coming doesn’t mean you can stop it. A season ago, Arky went for 180 yards on 4.2 per game, which aren’t gaudy stats, but allowed them to control the tempo and really opened up the passing game. In 2017, against a much bigger defensive line, the Frogs should do a better job of containing and stopping a trio of talented backs from regularly getting to the second level. The hogs do have a burner in true freshman Chase Hayden, who went for 120 in his debut on 8.6 per. But the corners and safeties have looked good in helping with the run, and should be able to funnel him back inside. Ultimately, if the TCU D can mind their assignments, flood the gaps, and wrap up/drive the runners to the ground on first contact, that should be enough to make things at least tougher on Austin Allen.
Quiet of the Set:
Gary Patterson mentioned that Thursday practices are done indoors with the music blaring at ungodly levels, specifically in the name of preparing his team for less than welcoming away stadiums. Fayetteville will be rocking Saturday night (we all remember how loud the Carter was for this game last year, and we hold nearly 25,000 less people) - it’s the first home game of the year, it’s a Power Five opponent and it’s a school that many people have ties to in one way or another. If TCU can jump out to an early lead and/or limit big plays by the Hogs, they can take the crowd out of being a factor. If not, communication will be key - making sure calls come in quickly and that Hill can disseminate information at the line. Either way, an experienced squad shouldn’t be too rattled by the raucous environment, but the handful of true and redshirt freshmen expected to play big roles could get a “welcome to college football” type moment.