The Grades Are In: Kansas

TCU won their inaugural Big 12 game over the Kansas Jayhawks with a 20-6 score. How did each position do? HornedFrogBlitz.com takes a look.

TCU got a hard fought 20-6 win over Kansas in their first ever Big 12 game on Saturday. It wasn't pretty as the Frogs turned the ball over four times, including three inside the Jayhawks 10-yard line.

As we've done for several seasons, we take a look at how each unit performed and grade them on it. This is based solely the opinion of HornedFrogBlitz.com. With that said, let's take a look!

Quarterbacks: B
Stats: 24-of-30; 335 passing yards, 2 TD

Game review: This grade could've been an A, but with two fumbles that could've led to scores the grade gets reduced. Now granted, on Pachall's first fumble he didn't see the pressure from the back side which Toben Opurum (he made several plays) slapped out of Pachall's grasp. I won't credit the snap at Pachall's feet to him, to his credit he did try to hop on the loose ball. As for the fumble through the end zone, Pachall admittedly slowed down before reaching the end zone because he didn't realize a defender was right on him.

Now, let's discuss some positives. Pachall first off is throwing the ball as good as any quarterback in the country. He throws it wherever he wants to, his 84.6% completion percentage through two games is adequate proof. I'll promise that fans from future opponents know this and realize as Pachall goes, so does the TCU offense. Pachall's throw to Brandon Carter on the 8-yard score was an absolute bullet. His other impressive throws of the day came on a 23-yard completion to Ladarius Brown when he had to pump fake and threw the ball with pressure in his face. Perhaps his best play of the day came when he was getting hit and was able to get a pass over the middle to Carter which he took 33-yards. That was a crucial play for the Frogs as they faced a 3rd and 6 situation. One throw he'd like to have back is his throw over the middle to Josh Boyce in the third quarter that was nearly intercepted. On the same play, tight end Corey Fuller had run a flag route and no one from the Jayhawk secondary was within 15-yards of him. It's a play you couldn't see on T.V., but those at the game certainly did. I for one was actually impressed with the way Casey ran the ball on the day. He actually looked decent on his run when he fumbled just short of the goal line, he made the perfect read. He also had a key 7-yard run on a third down conversion in the fourth quarter.

Play of the game: Pass to Carter on 3rd and 6 that resulted in 33-yard gain

Runningbacks: B
Stats: 38 rushes, 152 yards, 0 TD; 4.0 yards per carry

Game Review:This grade was close to being a B+ but Tucker's fumble late in the game pushed it down. The running game was getting it done against the Jayhawks between the running of Waymon James and Matthew Tucker. The Frogs got hit with big losses on the low snap fumble and Pachall's fumble so if you look at what James and Tucker accomplished they did quite well. James rushed 12 times for 99 yards, just missing his fifth career 100-yard game. His 31 yard run in the first quarter was electric and led to the Frogs first score of the day. He also had a big 16-yard run on a draw play that helped the Frogs continue a drive.

Tucker added 65 yards also on 12 carries. His best run came in the first quarter when he went 29-yards and punished a poor Kansas defensive back at the end of the play. Tucker also had a couple of key catches, including a 16-yard catch when the Frogs faced a 2nd and 22 after an Aviante Collins penalty. One play later, Carter hauled in his 25-yard TD catch. As good as he played, his fourth quarter fumble was critical and yet another turnover by the Frogs inside the Jayhawks 10-yard line.

Play of the game: James' 31-yard run in the 1st quarter

Wide receivers/Tight Ends: B+
Stats: 24 receptions, 335 yards, 2 TD

Game review: It was the Brandon Carter show on Saturday as the sophomore receiver hauled in his second career 100-yard game with 8 catches, 141 yards and 2 scores. Carter's best catch on the day came on his 25-yard score in the third quarter, when he went up high and out jumped the KU defender and trotted in for the score. While that was a big catch, his best PLAY of the day came when he snagged a short Pachall pass over the middle and after a key block from Tucker, he raced 30 yards on a key third down. His 8-yard touchdown catch was another example of how much Carter has become a big time target for Pachall.

LaDarius Brown had his coming out party against the Jayhawks, finishing second on the team with 5 catches for 70 yards. Brown showed it's not going to be easy for defenders to cover him one-on-one and it will take more than one guy to bring him down. Brown's top play of the day came on a 23-yard catch and run that helped the Frogs continue a scoring drive.

Josh Boyce hauled in 5 catches for 66 yards but he had a crucial drop in the third quarter on a 3rd and 2 that would've not only resulted in a first down, it would've put the Frogs in prime scoring position. Had Boyce made the catch, he likely goes for over 100 yards on the day.

Skye Dawson had 2 catches for 31 yards with a long of 22 yards. His 22-yard reception should've resulted in his arrest because his route totally abused the KU defender to get open. Dawson's route was a beautifully run 12-yard out that he sold the inside post move on before breaking to the sideline. Sadly, the KU defender was still running to the inside. While the tight ends didn't come up with any statistics, the blocking from Griffin Gilbert on two plays resulted in good gains for the Frogs. His block on a KU linebacker resulted in a nice run by Tucker in the second quarter. He also had a great block on the outside that helped Carter gain 14-yards on an end-around.

Play of the game: Carter's 25-yard touchdown catch

Offensive line: B
Stats: Helped the offense to 487 total yards

Game review: The offensive line didn't have much trouble helping the Frogs offense move up and down the field, but they had some mistakes that could've helped the Frogs end result. James Fry had the bad snap to Pachall in the first quarter that negated a sure-fire Frogs scoring drive. He had another low snap just a few plays prior. Pachall was pressured a few times and the biggest hurry came when he was sacked for a loss of 12-yards that resulted in another fumble inside the Jayhawks 25-yard line.

Without question the player that gave the line fits was Toben Opurum, who had 6 tackles and a forced fumble. Most of the time he was lined up over Tayo Fabuluje, who was just making his second career start. True freshman Aviante Collins was hit with two personal foul penalties, one on a hands to the face and one for a leg-whip.

On the bright side, aside from a few hurries, the offensive line did what they needed to do against the Jayhawks. Let's remember, it was them who turned the ball over..

Play of the game: Collins' tackle on Opurum when the Jayhawk defensive end picked up a fumble.

Defensive line: B-
Stats: 1 sack, 2 TFL's

Game review: It was Davion Pierson and then everyone else against the Jayhawks. Kansas did a good job of keeping two guys on Stansly Maponga most of the day and that led to the standout defensive end only recording one tackle. However, he did cause a huge fumble late in the game when Kansas quarterback was just inches from the goal line.

Back to Pierson though, the redshirt freshman was a bright spot on the Frogs' defensive line that gave up just 77 yards on 26 carries on the day. Pierson recorded 5 tackles, 0.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for loss on the day. He also had a quarterback hurry that resulted in a sack for linebacker Joel Hasley in the third quarter. His best stop of the day came on his tackle for loss on a Jayhawks third down.

Devonte Fields has held in check as well on the day, recording just 1 tackle and a half sack. Fields rarely got pressure on the quarterback and what's surprising is he was one-on-one most of the day.

David Johnson, Chucky Hunter and Terrell Lathan totaled five stops between them. Johnson also had a critical quarterback hurry on a play in the fourth quarter.

Play of the game: Pierson sack on a Kansas 3rd and 12 play.

Linebackers: C
Stats: 17 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 PBU

Game review: The linebackers didn't play horrible, but they could've certainly played better, anyone can admit that. Both Joel Hasley and Kenny Cain missed a few tackles on different plays that should've been routine plays.

Along with the missed tackles, the biggest challenge the linebackers faced all day was covering Kansas runningback Tony Pierson. Jayhawk head coach Charlie Weis took advantage of the obvious mismatch and it led to Pierson hauling in 6 catches for 99 yards. He hauled in a 25-yarder on Hasley in the third quarter. Cain was also victim to a couple of screen plays that resulted in big yardage.

Despite their mishaps, if it wasn't for some of their plays this game could've been closer. Hasley led the team with 12 tackles and picked up 2 sacks. For the most part, he was where he needed to be. Even on his big play to Pierson, he had decent coverage, last year there may have not been a linebacker within 10 yards of Pierson on that route. As for Cain, his tackle on Pierson in the fourth quarter at the three yard line was huge. How huge, the very next play is when Maponga forced a fumble on Dane Crist. Also, Hasley and Cain played the entire game. Cain came off just one play when his helmet came off.

Play of the game: Hasley's sack in the second quarter that forced a long 3rd and goal play

Cornerbacks: C+
Stats: 8 tackles, 5 PBU

Game review: This was the first test for the Frogs' corners and it was a mixture of good and bad. For the most part the duo of Jason Verrett and Kevin White did well in the first half, but the second half efforts resulted in big plays.

Kansas quarterback was 9-for-12 passing in the first half, but in the second half he only completed 10-of-27 pass attempts. While that number certainly was in the Frogs' favor, the yardage was not. Verrett gave up a couple of big 3rd and long plays that helped the Jayhawks sustain drives. He also gave up a 42-yard completion in the third quarter. He was fortunate on a separate play when the Kansas receiver Andrew Turzilli simply dropped the pass. The pass would've resulted in at least a 40-yard gain. On the plus side, Verrett did have four pass breakups, many of which the Jayhawk faithful thought was pass interference.

Kevin White was a little better when it came to defending the pass. He did give up a long post Chris Omigie but he also saved the touchdown by having a shoe-lace tackle. White did give up a long pass on the Jayhawks last drive when Turzilli did haul in a big catch to put the Jayhawks inside the 10-yard line.

Play of the game: White's touchdown saving tackle

Safeties: B
Stats: 18 tackles, 1 INT, 1 PBU

Game review: The safeties had trouble defending passes over the middle, but for the most part they did their job on Saturday….but there's big time room for improvement.

Sam Carter had the play of the day for the group in the first quarter. With TCU already trailing 3-0, Casey Pachall had just fumbled and Kansas had the momentum. On their first play, Crist fired a pass to what he assumed to be a wide open Pierson and Carter read it perfectly and made basically a one-handed interception. It was a big time turnover for the Frogs and the offense proceeded to move the ball down for a go-ahead score on their ensuing drive. Carter also had a big play on the Jayhawks fourth-down attempt in the third quarter when he applied pressure to Crist and forced the KU quarterback to thrown an errant pass.

Elisha Olabode picked up five tackles on the afternoon and had two notable plays worth mentioning. His first came in the third quarter on the same play Carter applied pressure to Crist. Olabode was vital in the play because he read the play perfectly and read the tight end releasing providing tight coverage. Had he not read this play, it would've resulted in an easy toss for Crist, instead he had to hold on to the ball and eventually threw a bad pass. Olabode's second big play came when he recovered Crist's fumble in the fourth quarter that would've pulled the Jayhawks to within a touchdown.

Jonathan Anderson also picked up five tackles on the day. His worst play of the day came when he missed a tackle on Tony Pierson that resulted in a Jayhawk first down in the first quarter.

Play of the game: Olabode's fumble recovery

Special teams: B
Stats: 2-of-3 FG attempts; 3 KO returns, 59 yards; 0 punt returns

Game review: The special teams play wasn't quite as exciting as it was against Grambling in regards to returns, but the kickoff teams were very good on the day. Jaden Oberkrom didn't record a touchback, but the Jayhawks never started with great field position and had a long of only 22-yards.

Skye Dawson returned as the punt returner, however, he didn't get a chance to field any punts as the Jayhawks booted the ball as far away from Dawson as they could.

Oberkrom missed his first ever field goal attempt from 27-yards, but he made a 37-yarder and 27-yarder later in the game.

Play of the game: Oberkrom's 37-yard field goal that put the Frogs up 10-6.

Jeremy Clark has covered TCU football and recruiting since 2005. He spent seven years with another recruiting service before joining the FoxSports/Scout.com family in February 2012. He has made appearances on FoxSports Southwest and the NFL Network and radio stations nationwide in his nearly eight years of covering the Frogs.
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