Kyle Hicks

Associated Press

No. 23 TCU makes a statement in stomping of Arkansas

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A vintage Southwest Conference game ended in a vintage Southwest Conference score as No. 23 TCU pounded out a 28-7 victory over Arkansas in Fayetteville. The game was the 70th meeting between the former conference bunk mates but just the second since the Razorbacks left the SWC for the SEC after the 1991 season, and the Frogs’ first trip to Fayetteville since 1988.

TCU (2-0) used a short field to get on the board first, needing only 45 yards and eight snaps to reach the end zone on a 1-yard Sewo Olonilua plunge. Arkansas (1-1) immediately answered, running the ball to midfield to set up a 49-yard snatch-and-dash from Austin Allen to Jonathan Nance for the Razorbacks’ only points of the day. 

The Frogs reclaimed the lead for good with a 15-play, 80-yard march, punctuated by a 4-yard Kyle Hicks run, at the 7:39 mark of the second quarter.

The score remained 14-7 until only 2:18 remained in the second quarter, when Darius Anderson put a cap on the game with a 14-yard scoring jaunt. After Arkansas fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Olonilua added an exclamation point, running in from 13 yards out and carrying multiple cardinal jerseys with him. As a team, TCU muscled to 195 yards and four touchdowns on 42 carries, while Hill hit 21-of-31 passes for 166 yards. 

Reminiscent of a vintage Gary Patterson defense, TCU’s defense controlled the game. The Frogs limited Arkansas to 136 yards on 30 carries while Allen was harassed throughout, completing only 9-of-22 passes for 138 yards. Outside the 49-yard score, Allen averaged 4.24 yards per pass attempt.

This isn’t to say Arkansas did not have its chances, however. Kenny Hill served up an interception in TCU territory with the game knotted at 7-7, but Arkansas’s ensuing drive stalled at the goal line and Cole Hedlund could not convert a 23-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter.

Arkansas put together one last good possession at the close of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth, moving 78 yards in 12 plays, but again Hedlund missed a short field goal, this one from just 20 yards out.

TCU leading Arkansas at the half in Fayetteville

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In a game harkening back to the halcyon days of the Southwest Conference, TCU holds a 14-7 lead over Arkansas after a hard-hitting first half in Fayetteville.

TCU opened the game on a short field, accepting the ball on a KaVontae Turpin fair catch at the Hogs’ 35. Kenny Hill (11-of-18 for 95 yards; five carries for 19 yards) promptly led the Frogs down the field, as a 1-yard Sewo Olonilua run put TCU up 7-0 less than five minutes into the game.

Arkansas immediately answered, moving 75 yards in six plays in vintage Bret Bielema fashion: bruising runs and precision passes. David Williams ran for 21 yards on three carries, and Austin Allen found Jonathan Nance for a 49-yard catch-and-run to tie the game. The Hogs had a great chance to take the lead after Santos Ramirez intercepted a Hill pass in TCU territory, and the ensuing drive stalled near the goal line and Cole Hedlund missed a 23-yard field goal.

TCU made Arkansas pay for that mistake, moving 80 yards in 15 plays and 7:17, keyed by a 22-yard pass from Hill to Shaun Nixon and a 4-yard Kyle Hicks scoring jaunt.

The Frogs have limited Arkansas to 37 yards on 15 carries, while Allen is 5-of-10 for 107 yards with the touchdown.

TCU will receive to open the second half.

TCU’s leading rusher arrested for public intoxication

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As the 2017 offseason kicks into high gear, so have the annual and ever-present off-field issues.

According to multiple media outlets, TCU running back Kyle Hicks was arrested over the weekend on a misdemeanor charge of public intoxication.  The 22-year-old Hicks and two former Horned Frog football players, Bryson Henderson and George Baltimore, were charged after police responded to reports of a fight at a Whataburger near campus very early Saturday morning.

No further details of what led to the police being called have been released.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes that “[t]he TCU athletics department said in a statement Monday night that officials are aware of the incident and looking into it.”

As a junior this past season, Hicks led TCU with 1,042 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns.  He also led the team in receptions with 47, becoming the first Horned Frog player to lead the team in both rushing and receiving since Basil Mitchell in 1996.

Hicks is expected to again be the focal point of TCU’s offense in 2017.

Kicking woes, Kenny Hill miscues doom TCU in Liberty Bowl loss to Georgia

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In a microcosm of its entire season, TCU watched an immensely winnable game slip away thanks to mistakes in the kicking game and bad decisions by quarterback Kenny Hill, as the Frogs watched a 16-7 lead turn into a 31-23 loss to Georgia in the Liberty Bowl.

After Georgia staked a 7-0 lead, TCU took control of the contest when it ripped off 16 consecutive points over a 7-minute stretch, but should have stretched the run to at least 20 points. The Frogs got on the board with a 40-yard Brandon Hatfield field goal, then immediately took the ball back at the Georgia 21 when Tipa Galeai sacked and stripped Jacob Eason. Hill (18-of-27 for 146 yards with two touchdowns plus 17 carries for 72 yards and a score) raced in for a 10-yard touchdown dash one play later, but Hatfield’s ensuing extra point clanked off the right upright and ricocheted wide left.

After forcing two more three-and-outs, TCU added another touchdown when Hill hit John Diarse for a 10-yard score at the 9:15 mark of the second quarter. (Hatfield’s extra point was good this time.) After another Georgia three-and-out, Hill set the Frogs up with a 1st-and-10 at the Georgia 20 with a 45-yard rush, but a sack and an incompletion forced a 41-yard field goal — which Hatfield missed.

Hill compounded his sack by costing the Frogs another scoring opportunity late in the half, losing a fumble at the Georgia 44 with 30 seconds still remaining before the half.

Running back Kyle Hicks (15 carries for a team-leading 88 yards) opened the second half with a fumble of his own, handing Georgia (8-5) the ball at its own 48. The Bulldogs marched 52 yards in 12 plays, aided by another TCU special teams error when holder Brice Ramsey converted a 4th-and-6 with an 11-yard fake field goal rush. Eason hit Javon Wims for a 4-yard strike three plays later, putting Georgia on top 21-16.

TCU (6-7) see-sawed back in front when Hill and Diarse hooked up for their second score of the day, this one a 9-yarder with 2:08 remaining in the third quarter, but Georgia’s offense was fully alive after a first half stretch in which it registered four three-and-outs and a lost fumble. The Bulldogs moved 56 yards in seven plays to set up Rodrigo Blankenship‘s 30-yard field goal to push Georgia back in front at 24-23 with 13:27 remaining.

Just like in the first half, Hill once again positioned the Frogs with a 1st-and-10 at the Georgia 20, but he once again took a sack he shouldn’t have taken on third down and, once again, Hatfield missed his ensuing 47-yard field goal. Georgia took advantage of the miscue, riding Nick Chubb most of the way on a 9-play, 70-yard march to push the lead to 31-23 with 2:48 left to play. Chubb and the Georgia running game came alive in the second half; the Dogs finished with 247 yards on 5.6 per carry after mounting only 49 yards in the first half. Chubb led the way with 17 carries for 142 yards and a score, while Sony Michel added 15 totes for 87 yards and a score. Eason hit 12-of-21 passes for 164 yards with two touchdowns and one fumble.

Needing a touchdown and a 2-point conversion to push the game to overtime — instead of simply a field goal to win without Hatfield’s missed kicks — TCU moved to the Georgia 44 when Hill’s 4th-and-4 pass to Taj Williams was broken up by Georgia’s Deandre Baker.

The win lifts a struggling SEC to 2-4 in bowl play while the Big 12 falls to 3-2. The two conferences have split their two meetings thus far, with the rubber match between Oklahoma and Auburn coming in Monday night’s Sugar Bowl.

TCU leading Georgia halfway through messy Liberty Bowl

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TCU leads Georgia 16-14 midway through the Liberty Bowl after a half in which neither side can be particularly happy about.

TCU ripped off 16 consecutive points over a 7-minute stretch, but missed opportunities to add more. The Frogs got on the board with a 40-yard Brandon Hatfield field goal, then immediately took the ball back at the Georgia 21 when Tipa Galeai sacked and stripped Jacob EasonKenny Hill raced in for a 10-yard touchdown dash one play later, but Hatfield’s ensuing extra point clanked off the right upright and ricocheted wide left.

After forcing two more three-and-outs, TCU added another touchdown when Hill hit John Diarse for a 10-yard score at the 9:15 mark of the second quarter. (Hatfield’s extra point was good this time.) After another Georgia three-and-out, Hill set the Frogs up with a 1st-and-10 at the Georgia 20 with a 45-yard rush, but a sack and an incompletion forced a 41-yard field goal — which Hatfield missed.

Georgia’s offense has been downright painful — except when it’s not. The Bulldogs mounted an 86-yard touchdown drive on their second possession and a 76-yard touchdown march on their second-to-last offensive touch, but squeezed five three-and-outs and a fumble around them. Eason has hit 9-of-16 throws for 155 yards and a touchdown, while Sony Michel has posted 29 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.

Hill has been his usual self, mixing the fantastic with the horrendous. He’s completed 7-of-11 passes for 62 yards and a touchdown and rushed 11 times for a game-high 55 yards and a score, but lost a fumble near midfield that allowed Georgia a shot at a go-ahead 53-yard field goal on the final play of the half. Kyle Hicks has rushed eight times for 51 yards. The Frogs have out-rushed the Dogs 112-49.

TCU will receive to open the third quarter.