Don’t get too excited, folks.
This was only a three-touchdown victory in an SEC stadium, merely Game 2 in a 12-game season, smashing though it was.
Don’t get too excited.
TCU coach Gary Patterson asked that of his team Saturday night.
Don’t get too excited.
“If you make it too big a ballgame, then you’d probably be saying you didn’t think we could win,” Patterson said.
In other words, Patterson wanted the Horned Frogs to act like they’d been there before. Yes, their 28-7 victory against Arkansas at Reynolds Razorback Stadium was thorough and complete. Yes, the running game controlled the ball. No, the defense could not be moved.
But Patterson asked that the game be called what it was — one win. Not a season-maker. One win.
“We did our normal thing,” Patterson said, asked to describe the postgame celebration. “We thanked the guy upstairs, raised our eyes and keep climbing. Now they’re taking a shower. Go about our life.”
Life for the Frogs now is a home game next week against SMU.
And also, rising expectations.
But why not? TCU’s defense gave up an early touchdown on a misdirection pass, but Arkansas couldn’t threaten with anything after that. In two games, the Frogs have allowed seven points and 332 yards. Total.
The offense converted 10 of 14 third downs. Three came via the legs of Kenny Hill, who completed 21 of 31 passes but would have had an even better stat line had it not been for two drops, including one by freshman Jalen Reagor in the end zone.
On special teams, a forced fumble sealed the deal. The Frogs haven’t had to try a field goal yet.
It’s two games, but those are reasons for TCU fans to get excited, far more legitimate reasons than at this time a year ago, when a shootout victory against an FCS team was followed by a mistake-filled loss to this Arkansas team.
Who said excited?
“It did feel nice getting this win,” Hill said. “Any game on the road, if you can get a win, you’re going to be pretty excited about that. It was a nice little celebration, but it wasn’t anything too crazy. We know we’ve got a lot ahead of us.”
The Frogs will try to navigate what’s ahead the same way they did Saturday in the Ozarks. They ran more than they passed. Kyle Hicks, Darius Anderson and Sewo Olonilua teamed for 166 yards and four touchdowns on 29 carries. Hill added another 11 runs for 35 yards.
It mattered in time of possession. TCU’s Air Raid offense won that category 33:52 to 26:08. In the second quarter, Arkansas had the ball for six plays.
Three TCU players had a sack, including freshman defensive tackle Corey Bethley. Twice, the Frogs forced field goals on Arkansas drives that reached inside the 5-yard line.
Doesn’t this sound like a Gary Patterson TCU team? Like a Gary Patterson TCU defense?
“Oh, I don’t know,” the coach said, not getting too excited. “We’re only two games in.”
But he acknowledged what he has been saying since spring practice. He likes this team.
“We’ve got a couple of knuckleheads, but the whole team is really just good people,” he said. “They work hard, they try to do the right thing on and off the field. For me, it’s a lot more fun to coach. It’s a lot more fun to watch them have success because they are that, because they’ve earned the right to put themselves in that position.
“I hope good things happen to them.”
That would be exciting.
TCU—Olonilua 1 run (Song kick), 10:43
ARK—Nance 49 pass from Allen (Hedlund kick), 8:15
TCU—Hicks 4 run (Song kick), 7:39
TCU—Anderson 14 run (Song kick), 2:18
TCU—Olonilua 13 run (Song kick), 2:04
Time of Possession
RUSHING—TCU, Anderson 15-106, Hicks 12-44, Hill 11-35, Olonilua 2-14, (Team) 2-(minus 4). Arkansas, D.Williams 10-65, Whaley 11-32, Allen 8-31, Hayden 2-1, Ragnow 0-0.
PASSING—TCU, Hill 21-31-1-166. Arkansas, Allen 9-23-0-138.
RECEIVING—TCU, D.White 5-33, Turpin 5-30, Diarse 4-36, Nixon 2-30, Hicks 2-19, Reagor 1-10, Snell 1-7, Olonilua 1-1. Arkansas, Nance 3-75, O’Grady 2-24, Patton 1-32, D.Stewart 1-9, Cornelius 1-2, Whaley 1-(minus 4).
MISSED FIELD GOALS—Arkansas, Hedlund 23, Hedlund 20.