TCU went to Waco and came back with its biggest win in the 112-game series against Baylor. The Frogs’ 62-22 victory was so thorough, they got three quarterbacks in the game.
The win broke a two-game losing streak and got the Frogs (5-4, 3-3) into a tie for fifth in the Big 12. Now a bowl game seems more likely, not to mention a chance to gain ground in the Big 12 standings. After a bye, TCU will host second-place Oklahoma State.
But first, a look back at the trip to McLane Stadium and five things we took out of the game:
1. This team can win out. And by this team, we mean that team from Saturday night in Waco. Is that TCU team here to stay? Impossible to say. But if so, a running game like that led by Kyle Hicks and Kenny Hill and a defensive performance that throttled a very good Baylor offense — on the road, at that — is more enough to give TCU a fighting chance in the rest of its games, against Oklahoma State, Texas and K-State. That team from Saturday night wouldn’t have lost more than once by now.
2. Kenny Hill looks like a changed quarterback. Saturday against Waco, he played a disciplined game. He forced nothing, kept all but one throw safe and aggressively squeezed every yard out of every running opportunity. Not everything was on target, but the offense was in good hands with him. Was it the benching last week? “I just knew I had to come out here and play my game and play the way I could,” he said. “Just to give us a chance to win. And I got it done.”
3. The next set of backs is ready. Darius Anderson got seven carries and a target against Baylor. Sewo Olonilua broke off a 26-yard touchdown run late, tearing through a gassed defense that was no match for his 225 pounds. In the last two games, the freshmen backs have combined for 17 carries for 120 yards and a touchdown. Olonilua, considered for defense when he signed, has averaged 8.7 yards per carry over the last three games. “He’s proven me wrong. I think that he can be a tailback,” Patterson said. Anderson has been thrown to the past three games. Patterson said last week Anderson has been itching to play, but needed a full grasp of the offense. He looks closer than ever. Both look closer than ever.
4. KaVontae Turpin changes the feel of everything. Think about the time he missed – SMU, Oklahoma, Kansas, West Virginia. TCU averaged 28.3 points and went 2-2, barely managing enough offense at Kansas. When he was healthy in the first two games, TCU scored 97 points, and he nearly won the Arkansas game with a kickoff return in the fourth quarter. In the last two games with Turpin, TCU has 86 points. The impact of his presence is undeniable. “He just gives the whole group energy,” coach Gary Patterson said. “He loves the game. It really carries over to everybody else.”
5. Julius Lewis and Ranthony Texada are clearly the top cornerback pairing. It’s what TCU had in mind for this sesason, but Lewis missed half the year after hurting his Achilles in January, and Texada needed about three games to gain full confidence following the ACL injury that caused him to miss 10 games last year. But they’re both healthy now and playing with confidence. Saturday, Texada had a 28-yard interception return for a touchdown. Lewis had a sack and a pass breakup to go with seven tackles. In the last two games against TCU, Texas Tech and Baylor combined for a 55.4 percent completion rate with three touchdown passes and two interceptions. Doesn’t sound like a coincidence.