The TCU football season is barely one quarter old, but Horned Frog fans are already finding out a thing or two about some positions that had question marks behind them going into the season. Freshman Cole Bunce took the first two kickoffs of the year, improving on a low wobbler to open the game with a strong boot five yards deep in the end zone for a touchback after Kyle Hicks’ 15-yard touchdown run on the Frogs’ first drive.
At linebacker, last year’s leading tackler Travin Howard was on the field for every play of South Dakota State’s first three drives, answering any questions about his availability after having his appendix removed at the start of fall camp. Sammy Douglas started alongside Howard in TCU’s first defensive series, but Montrell Wilson was beside Howard on the Jackrabbits’ second and third series.
Ranthony Texada was back starting at cornerback after missing most of 2015 with a knee injury. On SDSU’s first offensive snap, Texada gave wide receiver Jake Wienke too much room off the line of scrimmage for a quick 12-yard gain. SDSU got three first downs on its opening drive until the Frogs’ defense held on 3rd and 11 from the TCU 43.
Redshirt freshman Jeff Gladney was the other starting TCU cornerback after impressing the coaching staff in both Spring and fall camps, but he too watched Wienke catch an 18-yard reception in front of him on the first drive after lining up with a 10-yard cusion. We’ll keep watching TCU’s linebackers and secondary to see if coverage becomes an issue as the game goes on.