It wasn’t the prettiest game ever played, but the TCU Horned Frogs rode a dominant second half en route to a 31-9 win over Charlie Strong and the Texas Longhorns, staying perfect at Darrell K. Royal Stadium since entering the Big 12 in 2012. The Horned Frogs clinched bowl eligibility with the win, moving to 6-5 on the season. Here’s all that you need to know as Gary Patterson and Horned Frogs spoiled the party in what was likely Strong’s final game as head coach in Austin.
TCU officially has Texas’s number
Texas may own a 62-24-1 lead over TCU when it comes to the all-time series between the two programs, but there’s no denying after Friday that the Frogs have the edge in the rivalry since joining the Big 12 in 2012. With the victory, the Frogs are a perfect 3-0 at Darryl K. Royal Stadium since joining the conference, holding a 4-1 lead over Texas in the Big 12 era and winning three in a row. The Frogs have outscored the Longhorns 129-26 in their last meetings, with TCU prevailing 50-7 in Fort Worth last October, while prevailing 48-10 in Austin on Thanksgiving day in 2014.
Darius Anderson and Trevorris Johnson can run alright
Kyle Hicks started at running back for the Horned Frogs per usual, but a second half injury brought in freshman Darius Anderson and junior Trevorris Johnson into the game to fill in for Hicks, and boy did the two steal the show. Both outgained Hicks’ game-total of 58 yards, with Johnson recording 68 yards while Anderson racked up 103 on just 3 carries, including a 70 yard touchdown run. It was the first touchdown for Anderson as a Horned Frog, and imaginably just one of many to come. While Hicks is expected to return for his senior year in 2017, the Frogs can’t complain about having a stocked group of running-backs between the three, plus freshman Sewo Olonilua.
The defense held its ground when it mattered most
The Frogs gave up 407 yards of offense to the Longhorns Friday afternoon, and yet held them to just nine points. Texas never found the end-zone once in the contest, the result of some extraordinary goal-line defense from the Frogs, including a 4th and goal stop on Texas running back D’onta Foreman just inches short of the end zone, preventing what would have been a go-ahead touchdown for the Longhorns. The unit forced a turnover on downs three times in the contest, twice in the red zone, and that perfect record may very well have made the difference between a win and a loss in a game that is so heavily defined by momentum.
Kenny Hill is still struggling to stay consistent
Quarterback Kenny Hill came out of the gate strong with 52 passing yards on the opening drive en route to a TCU touchdown, but Hill showed serious struggles once again between his two rushing touchdowns on the day, only converting on 15 of 29 pass attempts for 150 yards and 3 sacks. Backup sophomore Foster Sawyer ultimately took over the reins in the fourth quarter when it was just a 17-9 lead for the Frogs. With the Frogs now having clinched bowl-eligibility, it will be interesting to see if Patterson sticks with his starter for next Saturday’s season finale against Kansas State or if he gives his Sawyer the nod for the first time since TCU’s 30-29 loss to Oklahoma last season.
The Frogs are going bowling
No more uncertainty. No more speculation. Now at 6-5, TCU is bowl eligible for the third straight season, and while it won’t be a trip to a New Year’s Six bowl or the Valero Alamo Bowl, the Horned Frogs will get to entertain their fans with a 13th game as bowl season rolls around. A lot can happen before the lineups are set, but current projections have the Frogs scattered between four different venues, specifically the Motel 6 Cactus Bowl, the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl, the Armed Forces Bowl, and the AutoZone Liberty Bowl. Now the wait begins to see how it all pans out, but a win over K-State next Saturday would have the Frogs leaning towards the Texas Bowl or Cactus Bowl. A loss would likely put them in one of the latter two.
Darius Anderson: The freshman running back had a career day while filling in for Kyle Hicks along with Trevorris Johnson, recording 108 yards on just three carries and recording his first career touchdown as a Horned Frog with a 70 yard run. With three more years ahead of him, today’s game was nothing short of an indicator of a promising future for Anderson with the team. Of course, the running back position will be very competitive with all four active running backs returning next season, in addition to an injured Shaun Nixon.
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Ty Summers: Another week, another dominant showing by the redshirt sophomore. Summers led the way for the Horned Frogs again with 11 solo tackles and 14 total tackles on the day, recording one sack and two tackles for losses in the progress. It was the first game all season in which Summers reached double digits in solo tackles, but the 8th of the year in which he recorded at least 10 combined tackles.