Frogs Avoid Upset; Beat Kansas 34-30
Lawrence, KS – In a game that many felt would be a route, it was anything but as No. 4 TCU escaped Lawrence with a 34-30 win over the Kansas Jayhawks. The win moved the Frogs to 9-1 overall and 6-1 in Big 12 play while Kansas dropped to 3-7 and 1-6 in conference. Many eyes were on the Frogs after the recent release of the College Football Playoff rankings, which TCU landed at No. 4 on Tuesday. With such a close win, now the question remains if the Frogs will hold that spot after such a close victory. “For the kids I wish we would’ve won by more,” Patterson said. “Everybody still has two or three games left and you’ve got to go win. We’ll see when we get to December if we can be 11-1; we’ll see how it falls.” In a game filled with incredible bounces and lucky breaks, Kansas gave TCU all they could handle in their last game of the season at home. “You start thinking that today might not be our day,” Patterson said. “But, somehow we fought back; it was definitely interesting.” TCU totaled 480 yards of offense, but the defense surrendered a whopping 418 yards. Trevone Boykin led the Frogs on offense, completing 26-of-37 passes for 330 yards and 1 touchdown. Boykin broke Casey Pachall’s single-season passing yards record in the game and has now thrown for 3,021 yards on the season. Aaron Green, who got his second consecutive start, led the Frogs’ running attack with 128 yards on 19 carries. Ty Slanina led the Frogs’ receiving, hauling in a career-high 95 yards on 6 receptions. The TCU defense only surrendered 76 yards on 36 carries by the Jayhawks. Kansas was led by quarterback Michael Cummings, who threw for a career-high 332 yards and two touchdowns on the day. Two Kansas receivers recorded 100-yard games; tight end Jimmay Mundine (137) and Nigel King (128). The Frogs wasted little time scoring on their opening drive, going 7-plays for 67-yards that was capped off by a 27-yard scoring toss from Boykin to Ty Slanina. That would be the only touchdown for the Frogs in the first half as they mustered only 10 points. Kansas got on the board after one of the craziest drives against the Frogs this season. The Frogs forced a Jayhawk punt, but a roughing the kicker on Paul Whitmill kept the Jayhawk drive alive. Just a few plays later, Frogs’ linebacker Paul Dawson dropped an interception on 2nd and 6 and a play later Cummings completed an 8-yard pass to Nick Harwell. The Jayhawks caught another big break on 3rd and 11 at the TCU 14 when Frogs’ safety Sam Carter batted a ball right into the arms of Harwell for a 12-yard gain and first down. Corey Avery would score on the next play from 2-yards out, but the Jayhawk extra point attempt was blocked by Ranthony Texada to keep TCU’s lead at 7-6. In all, it was a 17-play, 75-yard drive by the Jayhawks. On TCU’s second possession they drove to the Jayhawk 11-yard line but Green was stopped short on a 4th and 1 attempt. Kansas took over and drove 89-yards on 14-plays that was capped by a 13-yard touchdown toss from Cummings to Mundine that gave the Jayhawks a 13-7 lead. TCU threatened on their next drive, but an underthrown pass from Boykin to Kolby Listenbee was intercepted by JaCorey Shepherd at the 2-yard line. The Frogs cut the lead after a 7-play, 32-yard drive that was capped by Jaden Oberkrom’s 24-yard field goal to bring TCU within 13-10 at the half. Kansas opened up the third quarter with another big play from their own 28 when Cummings avoided a sure sack and found a wide open Mundine; Mundine avoided several tackles on the way to a 67-yard gain to the Frogs’ 5-yard line. Cummings would run it in from 1-yard out two plays later to give the Jayhawks a 20-10 lead. TCU’s offense answered with perhaps its best drive of the day up to that point, using a 9-play, 72-yard that was capped by a 3-yard touchdown by Green. Boykin completed 4-of-5 passes on the drive, including a big 21-yard gain to Kyle Hicks that put the ball at the Kansas 3. The score brought the Frogs to within 20-17. Once again, Kansas got a huge break on their next possession. After a false start penalty and facing a 1st and 15 from their own 22, Cummings found Nigel King on the sideline on a pass that was nearly intercepted but King came down with the dramatic pass and raced 78-yards untouched to give the Jayhawks yet another 10-point cushion with a 27-17 lead. The Frogs offense would answer once again; this time using an 8-play, 80-yard drive. The drive was in doubt after a holding call and incomplete pass made it 3rd and 20 for the Frogs from their own 10. Boykin found Slanina over the middle again, this time for 26 yards which kept the drive alive. “It was a great play call by the coaches and Trevone found me with a lot of room to run,” Slanina said. “It worked out great. I think anyone could’ve made that play for us tonight.” Five plays later, Green would score his second touchdown of the day, this time from 24-yards out to bring the Frogs within 27-24. After the Frogs defense forced a three and out, the play of the game came on the ensuing punt as Cameron Echols-Luper returned a punt 69-yards for the score to give the Frogs their first lead since the first quarter; 31-27. Echols-Luper had been waiting for the opportunity all day. “It changed the momentum of the game,” Echols-Luper said. “Every time I went out there I heard how hard he was punting it. As soon as I caught it, I knew I had a chance to score because he outkicked his coverage. We needed a big play to boost our momentum.” The Frogs would add another score to open the fourth quarter, using an 8-play, 56-yard drive that was capped by Oberkrom’s second field goal of the day; this time from 25-yards out to give the Frogs a 34-27 lead. TCU forced another three and out on Kansas but on the Frogs’ next offensive possession, backup running back Trevorris Johnson fumbled the ball and gave Kansas possession at the TCU 12. The Frogs defense thwarted a Jayhawk touchdown and forced a field goal that allowed the Frogs to cling to a 34-30 lead after 23-yard field goal from Matthew Wyman. TCU drove the ball to Kansas 40 on their ensuing drive but was forced to punt. Kansas started at their own 11 with 4:09 left in the game, but on 3rd and 10, junior safety Chris Hackett intercepted Cummings pass and returned it to the Kansas 25-yard line. Hackett’s interception was his sixth of the season and leads the Big 12. Facing a 4th and 1 at the Kansas 14-yard line, instead of kicking a field goal, Patterson decided to go for the first down as Kansas had no timeouts remaining. “You’ve got to get an inch to win the ball game,” Patterson said. “That’s why we went for it.” As far as where the Frogs feel they should be ranked after the win, Boykin says the only things the Frogs have to worry about is winning games. “It’s not up to us, it’s up to the committee,” Boykin said of where TCU should be ranked. “There’s nothing that we can control, the only thing we can control is winning games.”
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