The first time Kyle Hicks got a chance to touch the ball against Baylor two weeks ago, he dropped it.
It was a rare “my bad” moment for the TCU running back.
“After he dropped that first pass, he was like, ‘Man, I’ve got you the rest of the game,’ ” quarterback Kenny Hill said.
Man, he was right.
Hicks got the ball on the next play and didn’t miss a step, carrying a career-high 26 times for a career-high 192 yards and a career-high five touchdowns in the Horned Frogs’ 62-22 victory, a virtuoso performance that gave the best evidence yet to back up coach Gary Patterson’s claim that he is the best player on the team.
“He just gives everybody else confidence,” Patterson said.
The Frogs ran for a season-high 431 yards against Baylor, pumping life into a part of the offense that may serve them well into the final three games of the regular season, starting Saturday against No. 13 Oklahoma State.
Backup running backs Derrick Green, Darius Anderson and Sewo Anderson chipped in, as did Hill with 85 yards.
But there is no question Hicks will be leading the effort.
“He’s been stellar,” receiver John Diarse said. “Not only this past game, but all season long. We depend on him and hope that he continues to give us the type of performance he’s been giving. I think he will. He’s a hard worker. He has a nose for making plays. We depend on him to do what he does.”
And Hicks didn’t even practice the week of the Baylor game.
Patterson said the junior running back from Arlington Martin was held out while he recovered from an ankle injury in the Texas Tech game. He played only two series against the Red Raiders and finished with four carries for 15 yards. He missed the second half of the 27-24 double-overtime loss.
“He would have been a big help,” Patterson said.
To get ready for the Baylor game, Hicks did everything except actually go through the plays.
“He was still there right behind the QBs every single day in practice,” Hill said. “He was getting every single rep mentally. He was doing all his steps and doing everything that he needs to do so he’s mentally in it, even though he wasn’t physically practicing. That allowed him to go out there and ball like he did.”
Hicks is at full speed again and reinforcing his reputation for work and leadership.
“That’s a guy you can really model behind, a guy that you can say, ‘This is a great example of how hard work pays off,’ ” receiver John Diarse said.
Hicks offered no special formula for his five-touchdown game.
“Just being patient and trusting my OL,” he said. “Setting up the blocks and just hitting the hole hard.”
Not counting his injury-shortened outing, Hicks has gone over 100 yards four times in the last six games. TCU was counting on Hicks to fill the void left by Aaron Green, who rushed for 1,272 yards last season, and he’s on a 12-game pace to break 1,000 yards. His receiving skills have him on pace for 44 catches, which would be the most for a TCU running back since John Oglesby in 1993.
No TCU player has led the team in rushing and catches since Basil Mitchell in 1996.
It wouldn’t surprise many of his teammates to see Hicks do that and more.
“Kyle is capable,” defensive end James McFarland said. “To be honest with you, Kyle can do about 10 touchdowns in a game. He’s that good of a player, and we’re lucky to have him.”
TCU vs. No. 13 Oklahoma State
11 a.m. Saturday, FS1