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Baker Mayfield, Kansas pass rusher headline preseason All-Big 12 team

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The Big 12 on Wednesday unveiled its 2017 preseason all-conference teams, led, of course, by Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. The 2016 Heisman Trophy finalist was named the league’s preseason Offensive Player of the Year and preseason All-Big 12 quarterback. Kansas’s Dorance ArmstrongJr., the conference’s leading returning sack man, was named the league’s preseason Defensive Player of the Year.

Oklahoma, Texas and TCU led the conference with five selections, followed by Kansas State and Oklahoma State with four. Texas Tech and Iowa State claimed two selections, followed by West Virginia and Baylor’s one.

Yes, that adds up to 29 players.

Offensive Player of the Year: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Defensive Player of the Year: Dorance Armstrong Jr., Kansas
Newcomer of the Year: Will Grier, West Virginia

Offense
QB: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
RB: Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
RB: Justin Crawford, West Virginia
FB: Winston Dimel, Kansas State
WR: Keke Coutee, Texas Tech
WR: Allen Lazard, Iowa State
WR: James Washington, Oklahoma State
TE: Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
OL: Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
OL: Zach Crabtree, Oklahoma State
OL: Dalton Risner, Kansas State
OL: Austin Schlotmann, TCU
OL: Connor Williams, Texas
K: Clayton Hatfield, Texas Tech
KR/PR: KaVontae Turpin, TCU

Defense
DL: Dorance Armstrong, Jr., Kansas
DL: Poona Ford, Texas
DL: Malcolm Roach, Texas
DL: K.J. Smith, Baylor
DL: Reggie Walker, Kansas State
LB: Travin Howard, TCU
LB: Malik Jefferson, Texas
LB: Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, Oklahoma
DB: Kamari Cotton-Moya, Iowa State
DB: Tre Flowers, Oklahoma State
DB: Nick Orr, TCU
DB: D.J. Reed, Kansas State
DB: Jordan Thomas, Oklahoma
P: Michael Dickson, Texas

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

Associated Press
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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.

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.