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No. 16 TCU fries SMU to retain ownership of Iron Skillet

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Although things may not have started off well for No. 16 TCU (2-0) after a weather delay pushed back the start of Friday night’s game by about 50 minutes, the Horned Frogs got everything in gear in the second half to defeat rival SMU (0-2) by a score of 42-12. KaVontae Turpin had a punt return for a touchdown and a 42-yard touchdown catch to help light the spark for TCU and help slam the door shut on the Mustangs. This is the seventh year in a row TCU has won the rivalry game as they continue to maintain possession of the Iron Skillet.

TCU’s defense shut down opportunities for SMU in the second half. Two plays after TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson (15/28, 146 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 67 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD) threw an interception on the opening drive of the second half, Ben Banogu forced a fumble by SMU quarterback Ben Hicks (18/38, 111 yards) and Alec Dunham returned the loose ball 25 yards for a touchdown. Down 21-12, SMU never had a drive longer than 13 yards the rest of the night until their next-to-last possession. By then, TCU had a 30-point lead.

Robinson rushed 18 yards for a touchdown to extend the TCU lead to 28-12 in the third quarter and his 42-yard pass to Turpin in the fourth quarter made any threat of an upset vanish as Gary Patterson soon started feeling comfortable getting some of his starters on the sideline for the remainder of the game. Michael Collins took advantage of that opportunity by running 10 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown.

TCU will now get one extra day of rest to begin focusing on their next game. TCU will meet Big Ten favorite Ohio State in Arlington, Texas in Week 3. The Buckeyes lead the all-time series 4-1-1, but the two programs have not met on the field since 1973. TCU will not be able to afford a slow start against Ohio State next week, because Ohio State will be far more likely to put points on the scoreboard whereas SMU jumped out to a 9-0 lead and never found an offensive rhythm after that.

SMU limps out to a 0-2 start with losses to TCU and North Texas, and neither has been particularly pretty. SMU will find it difficult to pick up the first win under head coach Sonny Dykes. Next week, the Mustangs head into Big Ten territory to play Ohio State’s rivals, the Michigan Wolverines. Michigan dropped their season opener at Notre Dame in Week 1, but Jim Harbaugh has a good chance to get his Wolverines into a comfort zone the next two weekends. SMU will host AAC opponent Navy the following week and may be looking to find its first win of the season at the end of September with a home game against Houston Baptist on Sept. 29.

After weather delay and sloppy start, TCU leads SMU at halftime

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After a delay of roughly 50 minutes, it looked as though TCU would be in for a potential upset against SMU in Dallas. The Mustangs took a 9-0 lead in the first quarter as the Horned Frogs looked sloppy at the start, but a special teams touchdown and a fortunate bounce of a fumbled football have put TCU on top at halftime, 14-12.

Smu took the opening possession of the game down the field for a touchdown thanks in large part to a 51-yard touchdown run by Braeden West, giving the home team a nice early jolt in this rivalry game. With TCU’s offense out of sorts on their first two drives, a special teams miscue led to two more points for SMU when a botched punt attempt was accidentally kicked by an SMU player out of the end zone.

Down 9-0, TCU needed a spark, and it was only fitting that KaVontae Turpin would provide it on a record-setting punt return. Turpin returned a punt 48 yards for a touchdown early in the second quarter to get the visiting Horned Frogs on the board. It was the fifth special teams touchdown of Turpin’s career.

After a quick three-and-out by SMU their next time on the field, TCU’s offense benefited from a fumbled football out of the hands of Sewo Olonilua taking a bounce where a streaking Jaelan Austin had no problem recovering the football in the end zone for a go-ahead score.

 

CFT 2018 Preseason Previews: The Big 12

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The Big 12 is the most quarterback-driven of all QB-driven leagues, and 2018 represents a major changing of the guard. Gone is Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 pick Baker Mayfield, and so, too, are Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, TCU’s Kenny Hill, Texas Tech’s Nic Shimonek and Kansas State’s Jesse Ertz. West Virginia returns Heisman candidate Will Grier, but the next-highest returning passer is Texas’s Sam Ehlinger, who threw for all of 1,915 yards as a true freshman in 2017. This is going to be a wide-open year and, as such, a year where the unpredictable will reign supreme over the predictable. It’s an off-year in the Big 12’s your turn/my turn College Football Playoff rotation with the Pac-12, and a year where a young, ascendant team (Baylor?) is likely to rise up and wreck the season of a favored team who is among the best in the land (Oklahoma? West Virginia? TCU?) who’s wobbly from the most difficult week-to-week grind in college football. (Don’t @ me.)

Oklahoma enters as the prohibitive favorite, but the Sooners lose a lot of production from 2017. You know about Mayfield, but Lincoln Riley also loses All-American pass rusher Obo Okoronkwo, All-American left tackle Orlando Brown and All-American tight end Mark Andrews, as well as Swiss army knife fullback Dimitri FlowersKyler Murray will add an extra dimension to Oklahoma’s running game, but can a 5-foot-9 quarterback sit back in the pocket and pick people apart when necessary?

West Virginia enters as OU’s top challenger, and the combination of Grier, Gary Jennings (97 catches for 1,096 yards in 2017) and David Sills (60 grabs for 980 yards and 18 touchdowns) is easily the conference’s most fearsome passing attack. Dana Holgorsen thinks his team finally has the defense and the depth to survive the year-long grind of the Big 12, but he seemingly says that every year. Making four cross-country trips a year is a unique challenge that any program would struggle to solve, though WVU does get Oklahoma and TCU in Morgantown. TCU replaces Hill with Gary Patterson‘s highest-regarded quarterback recruit ever in sophomore Shawn Robinson. He should team with KaVontae Turpin and Jalen Reagor to give the Frogs plenty of sizzle, and TCU’s front seven is probably the scariest in the league, but the Frogs’ four new offensive line starters will have to grow up in a hurry.

Texas has a lot to like on an individual level, but skepticism is warranted until the quarterback position is sorted out. This is a league where 40 touchdowns responsible for from your starting quarterback is a prerequisite for winning the conference title, and Ehlinger and Shane Buechele combined for 22 in 2017. Oklahoma State won’t be as good as they were last year after losing Rudolph and James Washington but will still be much better than you assume they’ll be, which is exactly how Mike Gundy prefers it. Iowa State will be just good enough to ruin your season but not good enough to seriously contend for the league title. Texas Tech enters the year with more question marks on offense than defense for the first time since the 19th century, which could be considered a very good sign considering Kliff Kingsbury will never field a bad offense. Baylor was much better than last year’s 1-11 record, and Matt Rhule‘s 17 returning starters, led by sophomore quarterback Charlie Brewer, means this will be the league’s most improved team — and perhaps the country’s. Kansas State will be about as pleasant to play as a root canal, and junior quarterback Alex Delton will again be a nightmare to contain. David Beaty returns 19 starters and enters a last-chance season to show marked progress with new AD Jeff Long watching.

Before we get to the predictions, consider that the Big 12 is annually a league where the gap between No. 3 and No. 8 is small enough to slip a notecard through, and especially so this year.

PREDICTED ORDER OF FINISH
1. Oklahoma
2. Texas
3. West Virginia
4. TCU
5. Iowa State
6. Oklahoma State
7. Kansas State
8. Baylor
9. Texas Tech
10. Kansas

IN SHORT…

WVU QB Grier, TCU DE Banogu headline Preseason All-Big 12 team

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The puffs of white smoke continue to fly out the chimney, and we got a big one on Wednesday with the first unveiling of a conference’s Preseason All-Big 12 team. It’s just a preseason team, yes, but it’s actual football talk about the actual season that’s actually about to happen…. in seven more weeks.

West Virginia quarterback Will Grier earned Preseason Offensive Player of the Year honors and TCU defensive end Ben Banogu garnered Defensive Player of the Year accolades. Grier is easily the pass-happy conference’s leading returning passer; his 3,490 yards from 2017 place him more than 1,500 yards ahead of the pass-happy conference’s second-leading returning passer in Texas’s Sam Ehlinger (1,915 yards). Banogu leads all returning pass rushers with 8.5 sacks in 2017.

Oklahoma defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles, a freshman from Inglewood, Calif., by way of IMG Academy, earned Newcomer of the Year honors. Radley-Hiles was the 38th-rated player in the 247Sports Composite rankings for the 2018 class; for what it’s worth, three Big 12 signees ranked higher in Texas safeties Caden Sterns and B.J. Foster and Oklahoma offensive tackle Brey Walker.

The 3-time defending Big 12 champion Sooners placed five players on the Preseason All-Big 12 offense and none on the defensive side. Texas Tech did not have a single player placed on the offense but put three players on defense.

Here’s how the full teams break out.

OFFENSE
QB Will Grier, West Virginia
RB David Montgomery, Iowa State
RB Rodney Anderson, Oklahoma
RB Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
WR Denzel Mims, Baylor
WR Marquise Brown, Oklahoma
WR David Sills V, West Virginia
TE Grant Calcaterra, Oklahoma
OL Dalton Risner, Kansas State
OL Bobby Evans, Oklahoma
OL Ben Powers, Oklahoma
OL Marcus Keyes, Oklahoma State
OL Yodny Cajuste, West Virginia

DEFENSE
DL JaQuan Bailey, Iowa State
DL Daniel Wise, Kansas
DL Jordan Brailford, Oklahoma State
DL Ben Banogu, TCU
DL Breckyn Hager, Texas
LB Joe Dineen, Jr., Kansas
LB Dakota Allen, Texas Tech
LB David Long, Jr., West Virginia
DB Brian Peavy, Iowa State
DB Kendall Adams, Kansas State
DB Kris Boyd, Texas
DB Jah’Shawn Johnson, Texas Tech
DB Justus Parker, Texas Tech

SPECIALISTS
P Austin Seibert, Oklahoma
PK Austin Siebert, Oklahoma
PR/KR KaVontae Turpin, TCU

Gary Patterson says TCU RB Darius Anderson may be lost for the season

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No. 6 TCU struggled to run the ball in its 38-20 loss to No. 5 Oklahoma on Saturday, and the loss of running back Darius Anderson was a large reason for that.

Anderson left the game in the second quarter with a right foot injury, but still finished as the Frogs’ leading rusher with seven carries for 42 yards. His 13-yard scoring run in the first quarter gave the Frogs their only lead of the night.

Even with the loss, though, TCU still maintains control of its destiny to reach the Big 12 Championship. Beat Texas Tech and Baylor and the Frogs will get another shot at Oklahoma.

But it doesn’t appear Anderson would be a part of that rematch.

“I don’t know if he’ll play, probably, the rest of the season,” Gary Patterson told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

TCU has a versatile rushing attack. Kyle Hicks has carried 93 teams for 473 yards and three touchdowns, and also caught 16 passes this season. Sewo Olonilua is the short-yardage specialist, carrying 44 times for 171 yards and six touchdowns. KaVontae Turpin has rushed eight times for 73 yards and a score. Kenny Hill has also contributed 194 yards and three scores.

But Anderson is the best pure running back of the group. He leads the team with 128 carries for 768 yards and eight scores.

And now it looks like TCU may be without him for the rest of the year.