Taj Williams

Associated Press

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.

Behind monster day from RB Kyle Hicks, TCU blacks out No. 17 Baylor

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For reasons that were definitely not related to Art Briles, Baylor players wore black against TCU on Saturday. They left with black eyes.

The hated Horned Frogs jumped all over Baylor, handing the 17th-ranked Bears their second straight loss in a 62-22 beatdown.

The loss comes after a tumultuous week where the school was a subject of a 60 Minutes Sports expose and Briles’s remaining assistant coaches jointly released a statement defending their former head coach. Now at 6-2 (2-2 Big 12), the Bears could slide into a total free fall with a trip to No. 14 Oklahoma waiting next week.

As for today’s game, it opened like so many Baylor games have in recent years — with the Bears scoring, quickly. Baylor accepted the ball to open the game and scored two plays later, when Seth Russell found Ishmael Zamora for an 81-yard catch-and-dash.

The good vibes didn’t last, though.

Kenny Hill tied the game for TCU just three plays later on a 37-yard strike to Taj Williams, and the Frogs pulled away for good not long after that. Following a 26-yard Brandon Hatfield field goal to give the Frogs a lead they would not relinquish, TCU mounted consecutive 88- and 77-yard drives, each punctuated by Kyle Hicks scoring jaunts, then moved the game to blowout territory when Ranthony Texada stepped in front of a Russell pass and raced it 28 yards for a touchdown at the 10:28 mark of the second quarter, staking the Frogs to a 31-7 lead.

Baylor stopped the bleeding with a 19-play, 97-yard marathon capped by a 2-yard Russell keeper with 2:29 remaining in the frame, but TCU (5-4, 3-3 Big 12) immediately answered with another Hicks touchdown with just seven seconds left before the break.

The second half opened the way the first half ended — another long TCU drive punctuated by another Hicks rush. This one covered 95 yards in only five plays, the last of which traveled 18 yards and gave Hicks his fourth score of the day. Hicks’s fifth score came from three yards out at the 9:53 mark of the fourth quarter, ending his day with 26 carries for 192 yards — the most by a Frog ball-carrier since the program joined the Big 12 — and five touchdowns. Sewo Olonilua gave TCU an even half-dozen touchdown runs when he bruised in from 26 yards out with 3:48 remaining.

For his part, Hill was also fantastic. He completed 17-of-30 passes for 244 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions while adding 11 carries for 85 yards.

As a team, TCU rushed 58 times for 428 yards — 7.4 per carry —  and six touchdowns.

Russell completed 20-of-36 passes for 275 yards with a score and a pick-six. Remove the 81-yard score and Russell averaged an un-Baylor-like 5.54 yards per attempted, while four Bears rushers mustered only 133 yards on 45 carries.

The win gives TCU a 2-game winning streak over their longtime rival. In a series dating back to 1899, this hotly-contested series of holy rivals now stands at 53-52-7 in favor of the Frogs.

TCU dominating No. 17 Baylor in Waco

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Baylor scored from 81 yards out on the second snap of the game. From pretty much that moment out it’s been all TCU.

The Horned Frogs hold a 38-14 lead over the No. 17-ranked Bears on an overcast day in Waco.

After an unsportsmanlike conduct flag gave them a short field, TCU raced 54 yards in 34 seconds as a 37-yard strike from Kenny Hill to Taj Williams tied the game at 7-7 just 56 ticks into the contest.

Brandon Hatfield booted a 26-yard field goal to give the Frogs a 10-7 edge, and a pair of Kyle Hicks scoring runs — the second a 22-yard twister of a run on 4th-and-2 — pushed the lead to 24-7, and a 26-yard Ranthony Texada pick six just one play later pushed the score into blowout territory.

Baylor finally ended a streak of six straight empty possessions with its first sustained drive of the day, moving 97 yards in 19 plays — though using just 3:12 off the clock — to pull within 31-14 on a 2-yard Seth Russell keeper with 2:29 to play before the half. Outside of his 81-yard strike to Ishmael Zamora, Russell has struggled through a 12-of-24, 102-yard half with the aforementioned pick six.

TCU answered Russell’s score with another Hicks scoring rush with seven seconds left before the half, capping the end of an 85-yard drive where Hill passed or rushed for all but 16 of the 85 yards. Hill has been masterful so far — 14-of-25 passing for 202 yards and a touchdown while rushing seven times for a game-high 74 yards. Hicks has added 15 carries for 67 yards and the three scores.

The Frogs will receive to open the second half.

Oklahoma holds off Kenny Hill-fueled rally to beat No. 21 TCU

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The Oklahoma Sooners (2-2, 1-0 Big 12) evened their season record after nearly letting a big lead evaporate in Fort Worth. After taking a 49-24 lead into the fourth quarter, No. 21 TCU (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) made the Sooners sweat with three touchdown drives in the final frame. In the end, Oklahoma managed to keep just ahead of Kenny Hill and TCU to leave town with a wild 52-46 shootout victory.

Baker Mayfield completed 22 of 30 pass attempts for 274 yards and two touchdowns, without an interception. Mayfield also rushed for 55 yards and two more touchdowns, and Joe Mixon led the Sooners with 105 yards and a score. Samaje Perine also rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns in the win. Dede Westbrook had himself a ball game with five catches for 158 yards and two scores (133 yards and 2 touchdowns came in the first half).

TCU’s fourth-quarter rally came together as Kenny Hill was getting in a groove, although perhaps too late for the Horned Frogs. Hill ended his day with 449 passing yards and five touchdown passes, with Taj Williams responsible for 210 yards and two of those touchdowns. The two teams combined for over 1,000 yards of offense, but TCU lost the game’s only turnover, which led to an Oklahoma touchdown.

Oklahoma got off on the right foot in their Big 12 schedule. After dropping non-conference matchups against Houston and Ohio State in September, the Sooners were effectively removed from playoff discussion after dropping out of the top 25 of the polls as well. This win, however, suggests Oklahoma still has a chance to have a good season as far as the Big 12 is concerned. The conference will be there for the taking this season, and Oklahoma picked up a road win against TCU to get a jump start on the competition on a day Baylor nearly went down at Iowa State and Texas dropped a game against Oklahoma State. West Virginia pulled out a win at home against Kansas State as well.

Oklahoma heads to Dallas next week for the Red River Rivalry meeting with the Texas Longhorns. Texas is coming off a rough loss at Oklahoma State today and defeated the Sooners last season. TCU will hit the road next week by taking on Kansas.

Arkansas unravels, rallies to top No. 15 TCU in double OT

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In a game the Hogs at separate times had in hand and let slip away, Arkansas mounted a late rally to tie and then overcome No. 15 TCU as quarterback Austin Allen surged into the end zone for a 41-38 double overtime victory in Fort Worth.

Arkansas was seemingly set Fort Worth and beat No. 15 TCU. Thanks to a red zone fumble and a pick-six the Hogs opened up a 13-0 halftime lead, and the lead was set to move to 23-7 with 11:30 to play in the game. All Arkansas kicker Cole Hedlund needed to do was make a 22-yard field goal.

He missed. That was all TCU needed to awaken from its offensive slumber.

The Frogs moved 80 yards in seven plays to pull within 20-14 with 9:44 remaining and, after forcing a three-and-out, raced from their own 16 to the end zone again, mostly on the legs of lightning bug KaVontae Turpin. He returned the ensuing punt 34 yards to midfield, then immediately snagged a 43-yard catch-and-run, setting up a seven-yard Kyle Hicks go-ahead touchdown run.

Arkansas went three-and-out again on its next possession, and again TCU capitalized. Kenny Hill and Derrick Green took turns dicing the Hogs through the ground and air, with Hill finishing off the 8-play, 50-yard drive with a 5-yard scoring dash. Rather than gamble on a chance to go up nine and put the game away, Gary Patterson kicked an extra point to go up 28-20 with 2:05 remaining.

The ramifications of that decision immediately came into effect as Arkansas glided 58 yards in four snaps to pull within 28-26, and a reverse pass from Keon Hatcher to Allen tied the game at 28-28 with 1:03 remaining.

Arkansas, for some reason, kicked to Turpin on the ensuing kickoff, which he returned 64 yards to the Arkansas 27. Hill found Emmanuel Porter for another go-ahead score on the very next play, but the scor was called back for illegal touching. The Frogs instead settled for a 28-yard field goal with 10 seconds remaining, which 6-foot-10 offensive lineman Dan Skipper blocked to send the game to overtime.

The Hogs took the ball at the top of the first overtime, and Austin Allen cashed in with a third down touchdown pass to tight end Jeremy Sprinkle. Hill answered with a third down strike of his own, this one to Taj Williams in the corner of the end zone from 13 yards out.

TCU had to settle for a field goal at the top of the second overtime and, faced with a 3rd-and-goal from the 5-yard line, Allen rushed toward the goal line, was stopped short, then surged again into the end zone for a Razorbacks victory. He closed the day hitting 17-of-29 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions, plus the game-winning rushing score. Rawleigh Williams III led all rushers with 28 carries for 137 yards.

Hill hit 36-of-56 passes for 377 yards with a touchdown and a pick-six while also leading the Frogs’ (1-1) ground efforts with 15 carries for 93 yards and two touchdowns. Turpin notched seven catches for 126 yards, plus another 169 yards in the return game.

Arkansas (2-0) secured a massive win for a program that struggled to secure close games under head coach Bret Bielema. Of the Hogs’ 11 losses over the past two seasons, seven had come in one score games.

TCU (1-1) heads into a rivalry game with SMU facing major questions about its defense as Big 12 play looms around the corner.