Baylor coach Matt Rhule is still losing sleep over how TCU’s Jalen Reagor terrorizes defenses.
Reagor almost single-handedly carried TCU past Baylor last season, scoring on a sensational 65-yard catch-and-run on a jailbreak screen and adding a 37-yard TD run on a reverse to account for TCU’s two touchdowns in a 16-9 victory.
“He made highlight plays that still wake me up in the middle of the night sometimes, on that middle screen,” Rhule said with a little chuckle on the Big 12 football coaches teleconference earlier this week.
“I think he’s an amazing football player. I have the utmost respect for him. He plays on special teams. He’s an amazing punt returner. I watched the game just as a fan on TV the other day, he gets banged up, goes to the sideline and he’s right back out there.
“As a lover of college football, I love him and the way he plays. And he’s also unbelievably talented. He just seems like a great, great, great college football player.”
Rhule and his undefeated Bears will confront their nightmare again on Saturday when they visit Fort Worth. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
It’s a safe bet that Reagor will factor into TCU’s game plan heavily following his first 100-yard receiving game of the season at Oklahoma State.
Reagor finished with seven catches for 128 yards in TCU’s 34-27 loss at Oklahoma State. He had a highlight-reel catch when he elevated for a 37-yard completion down the far sideline.
Reagor got banged up on the play, but managed to play through it.
“I had to be there for my team,” Reagor said afterward. “Whatever I’ve got to do, whatever I need to do, whatever position I need to play, I’ll do it.”
On the season, he has 454 yards receiving with four TDs on 32 receptions.
Reagor’s numbers are down from what most expected as it took TCU time to settle in at the quarterback position with true freshman Max Duggan.
But Reagor has come through on special teams, too, ranking second in the country with 239 yards in punt returns.
TCU coach Gary Patterson raved about Reagor after the Oklahoma State game.
“Reagor’s the player that we thought he is,” Patterson said. “He’s made plays, even the punt return for 7 yards at the end. You find a way. He had guys around him and he still found 7 yards.
“That’s what you’re looking for, for guys to win ballgames. You’re looking for guys who want to step up, we just need to keep getting more and more guys doing that.”
Reagor proved to be that winning piece in the Baylor game last season. As stated, the 65-yard TD run off the screen pass featured Reagor making at least four Baylor defenders miss and put the game in TCU’s control.
Then his 37-yard scoring run came on a fourth-and-1 reverse for the go-ahead score late in the third quarter.
He’s a threat to do that in every game the rest of the way. After all, this is a guy who is already a member of the 2,000-yard receiving club and is considered a first-round NFL Draft talent if he leaves school after this season.
For now, though, Reagor’s only focus is on this season and helping the Frogs reach bowl eligibility.
“We’ve just got to get to six,” Reagor said. “We’ve got to find a way to win and keep going and go back to work every week.”
TCU isn’t far off from having a really good season, either. In three of their four losses this season, the Frogs have been within one possession.
Reagor is a player who can become a game-changer in those contests like he did last season in Waco.
“You get tired of that happening,” Reagor said of the close losses. “You’re so close to winning games or maybe 3-5 plays that separates between you winning and losing. It’s frustrating but, like I said, you’ve just got to keep going back to work.”