‘You think you’re going to catch him?’ Not this TCU freshman, not right now

TCU Horned Frogs 2017 football schedule

Get tailgate-ready for some college football with our video graphic of the TCU Horned Frogs' upcoming conference and non-conference games
Up Next
Get tailgate-ready for some college football with our video graphic of the TCU Horned Frogs' upcoming conference and non-conference games

TCU knew what it was getting in four-star recruit Jalen Reagor when it won a big recruiting war to get him out of Waxahachie.

All the measureables.

Like his vertical jump, which the 5-foot-11, 185-pound state long jump champ displayed in catching a Hail Mary at the end of the first half in Saturday’s 56-36 victory against SMU.

His high school teammate Kenedy Snell?

TCU knew he was fast.

Snell, listed at 5-8, 170, didn’t come with the same measurables — size, leap, strength — as his high school track buddy. But as a college combo, the Waxahachie freshmen already account for four of TCU’s 18 offensive touchdowns and rank fifth and sixth on the team in all-purpose yards.

Snell is tied for the team lead in touchdowns.

Reagor is tied for the team lead in receiving yards and averaging 21.0 yards a catch. Snell is averaging 30.3. (That’s what a 71-yard catch-and-run will do for you).

“We’ve been chasing Snell all through two-a-days,” TCU coach Gary Patterson told reporters Saturday night. “I told you. I mean, throw a flare screen to him and you think you’re going to get an angle on him, you’re going to catch him? You’re not going to catch him.”

That’s what quarterback Kenny Hill was thinking when he threw it, a checkdown to Snell waiting in the left flat on second-and-12 in the second quarter.

“Speed, man. That dude can roll,” Hill said. “Right when I got it to him and I looked where everybody was, I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, he’s gone.’ 

The play gave TCU a 21-19 lead.

Running back Darius Anderson said, “Speed kills.”

Reagor’s catch gave TCU a 28-22 lead.

Anderson said, “When I saw him go up, I was, ‘Oh, yeah, I know he’s got it.”

Looks like they both do.

Some other observations from Saturday:

1. TCU went with a plan to double SMU’s Courtland Sutton and held him to one catch for no yards. So it worked. But Patterson acknowledged it almost hurt the Frogs. “You’ve got to cover everybody else,” he said. Six other SMU players caught a pass, although quarterback Ben Hicks, after a 5-for-5 start, completed only 12 of 32 passes and was intercepted twice.

2. TCU continues to win on third down. Saturday’s 8-for-13 showing against SMU put the Frogs at 66 percent for the season. That rate hasn’t been over 43 percent the past six seasons. What’s behind the improvement? A good candidate is Kenny Hill’s improved accuracy, reflected in his 75 percent completion rate.

3. Forcing red-zone field goals matters. It’s one of Patterson’s most favored stats. The Frogs forced three by SMU and forced two by Arkansas last week. They’ve allowed one touchdown in seven red-zone trips by their opponents. “If we can keep doing that in the Big 12, we’re going to have a good chance at success,” Patterson said.

4. The Frogs look like a run-first team. Here are the run-pass splits in the first three games: 36 rush, 30 pass vs. Jackson State; 42 rush, 31 pass at Arkansas; 49 rush, 30 pass against SMU. The Frogs were handing off to run out the clock in all three games. But the totals are consistent.

5. For a second straight game, TCU won when it lost the turnover battle. For the season, the Frogs are minus-1 in turnovers. Yet they’re ahead 28-6 in points off turnovers. That’s a good trick. But it’s not something to count on in nine Big 12 games.

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

Related stories from Fort Worth Star Telegram