Watch a recap of the TCU Horned Frogs’ 2017 football season
Like just about everyone else, Kenny Hill needed a second chance three years ago.
He found it in Fort Worth at TCU.
He has more than made good on his part of the bargain he struck with the football program when, needing a fresh start, he transferred from Texas A&M after the 2014 season.
Hill’s long, winding college journey is nearing its end, with a rematch Saturday against Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
He led the Horned Frogs to the game by throwing for three touchdowns and running for another in a 45-22 victory over Baylor on Friday at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
It was quite a way for a senior quarterback to spend his last home game.
“It all sunk in when I was on the field with my family,” Hill said, reflecting on pregame Senior Day formalities. “I came here three years ago after everything that had happened. I told Coach P ‘thank you and I love you’ for bringing me here for this opportunity.
“It’s awesome. These fans today, you heard them, they were going nuts. That’s what you want for your last game. It was everything it could have been.”
Hill was raised in one of the most celebrated high school football traditions in Texas at Southlake Carroll, but not even that could have prepared him for the Davey O’Brien-sized shoes he was asked to fill at Texas A&M and TCU.
Hill wasn’t Johnny Manziel or Trevone Boykin.
He was Kenny Hill, and that has turned out to be pretty good over two seasons with the Horned Frogs, despite what the chatterboxes say on social media platforms.
Hill arrived on campus in 2015 a humbled young man after an alcohol-related run-in with police at College Station and a suspension from the team the same season.
Patterson agreed to give him another chance after Hill spent a semester at Tarrant County College. Hill had gone from the heir to Johnny Football to a junior-college student not playing football.
Hill has passed for 5,812 yards in two seasons with the Frogs, including 2,604 this season.
In his final home game at TCU, Hill alleviated any concerns about a lingering issue with a concussion. It marked the fourth game this season he has passed for at least three touchdowns in a game and the fifth time in his TCU career. A week after sitting out a victory over Texas Tech, Hill passed for 325 yards on 26-of-36 passing.
His critics point to his interceptions. Though he has thrown only five this year compared to 13 a year ago, two were most untimely during the Iowa State loss.
Saturday’s game didn’t start well for Hill. He was tackled and fumbled — which was recovered by TCU for a safety. Hill made some throws he said he would like back.
It’s a game of imperfection, like life itself.
“It’s hard to win double digits,” Patterson said, “especially on the season we just had … as many places as we had to go on the road.
“You have to give guys credit, like Kenny for coming back” from the concussion.
Who knows where that could be with a victory over the Sooners.
Good things can happen when you just show up. Hill might be this team’s best example of that.
“It’s what we wanted,” Hill said. “That’s what you want: The Big 12 championship comes back, you want to play in it.
“We played this game like we know we can play, how we played early in the season. We got back to us.”