The Frogs gave fans something to cheer for as they rallied back in the second half. After trailing 13-0 at halftime, TCU overcame the deficit and had an eight-point lead over the Razorbacks in the fourth quarter.
But, Arkansas wasn’t giving up either. The Razorbacks took the Frogs into double overtime and eventually beat them 41-38.
This isn’t the first time TCU has found themselves in a multiple overtime game. This is TCU’s third multiple overtime game in their last four contests. They closed out the 2015 season with a triple-overtime win over Oregon in the Valero Alamo Bowl and a double-overtime victory over Baylor in the regular-season finale.
With this loss, head coach Gary Patterson’s record against SEC teams dropped to 2-2. Saturday was TCU’s first time facing a SEC team since its 42-3 win over No. 9 Ole Miss in the 2014 Chic-fil-A Peach Bowl.
Patterson said things like turnovers and penalties matter, and can make a difference, in games like these.
“We didn’t play our best football, too many little things hurt us,” Patterson said.
On TCU’s first possession of the game, wide receiver Deanté Gray fumbled the ball on the end of a 19-yard run at the seven-yard line.
TCU quarterback Kenny Hill also threw a pick-six that was returned 47 yards for a touchdown by Arkansas linebacker Brooks Ellis.
The Horned Frogs offense was called for a slew of blocking-below-the-waist and holding penalties in the first half, which led to the offense being shutout in the first 30 minutes.
“I felt like it was a positive that we were only down 13-0 at halftime,” Patterson said.
But after halftime, the momentum began to change.
After Horned Frogs running back Kyle Hicks hauled in a 26-yard pass that set up TCU on the Arkansas nine, he finished off the drive with a touchdown run on the very next play. TCU cut the Razorbacks’ lead down to six, 13-7.
TCU’s defense furthered the momentum by forcing an Arkansas punt.
But, with four-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter, Arkansas jumped back out to a multiple-score lead, 20-7, after quarterback Austin Allen threw a back-shoulder dart to tight end Drew Morgan for a 13-yard touchdown pass.
Arkansas’ size advantage wore out the Frogs, as the Hogs marched down to the TCU six. But, the TCU defense held strong near the goal line and forced another field goal. Arkansas kicker Cole Hedlund’s kick appeared to be headed through the uprights, but it bounced off the right goal post and into the end zone as a missed field goal. The miss was Hedlund’s first of the game. The score remained 20-7 in favor of the Razorbacks.
Hill and the TCU offense took over on their own 20. Four plays later, Hill hit a wide-open KaVontae Turpin for a 57-yard gain that put the Horned Frogs on the Arkansas five. After running back Derrick Green ran to put TCU on the one-yard-line, Hill punched in a touchdown on a one-yard scramble to cut the Razorback lead down to just six, 20-14.
After another Arkansas punt, wide receiver KaVontae Turpin returned the ball 34 yards all the way to midfield. On the very next play, Turpin catches a pass from Hill for 43 yards that put the Frogs on the Arkansas seven. After Turpin’s catch, Hicks pounded the ball into the end zone, giving TCU their first lead of the game, 21-20, with just 7:15 left on the clock.
After giving up their lead, Arkansas’ offense appeared flustered. They went just three plays and had to punt the ball back to TCU.
After Arkansas surrendered their 14-point lead, they just couldn’t halt the TCU mojo, as the Frogs needed just four minutes to go eight plays and score another touchdown.
Hill did the honors by running the ball in for a five-yard touchdown run.
After Hill’s touchdown, Amon G. Carter Stadium turned raucous.
I was going to go for two, should’ve went for two and got talked out of it because if I got it and we went up nine, they [Arkansas] wouldn’t have had a chance,” Patterson said.”They [Offensive coordinators Doug Meachum and Sonny Cumbie] didn’t feel like they had a good play for it [the two-point conversion].”
Then, the Razorbacks countered. A four-play touchdown drive capped off by a 16-yard touchdown pass from Allen to wide receiver Keon Hatcher. A two-point conversion was good to tie the game up at 28.
On the ensuing kickoff, Turpin returned the ball 64 yards to the Arkansas 27.
“We got a play from Turpin when we needed it,” Patterson said.
Turpin finished with a career-best 295 all-purpose yards (126 receiving, 136 kick returns, 33 punt returns).
TCU wide receiver Emmanuel Porter appeared to catch the game-winning touchdown, but had his reception called back for illegal touching.
After a few more plays, redshirt-freshman kicker Ryan Graf lined up for the game-winning field from 38 yards out. His kick was then blocked by the Razorbacks and recovered by Arkansas, who then took a knee to send the game to overtime.
“He’d [Graf] been kicking the ball low, he just kicked the ball low,” Patterson said. “Too many little mistakes.”
TCU won the coin toss and elected to start the extra period on defense. After Arkansas’ first couple plays, Allen hit Sprinkle for a 19-yard touchdown to put the Razorbacks in front once again, 35-28.
“The tight end made a great play against a 5’11 corner,” Patterson said. “What do you say?”
The Horned Frogs countered with a 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Taj Williams on 3rd-and-long to send the game to a second overtime. TCU began the double OT with the ball.
After the Horned Frog drive stalled, Graf kicked a 37-yard field goal right up the middle of the uprights to give TCU a 38-35 lead.
All the Horned Frogs had to do was limit the Razorbacks to a field goal.
However, Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen shrugged off TCU’s defense to pound in the game-winning touchdown run on third-and-goal to give Arkansas a 41-38 double overtime victory.
“We just have to tackle better and communicate,” TCU defensive end Josh Carraway said.
A first-quarter sack by Carraway extended TCU’s school record streak to 32 games with at least one sack. It is the second-longest active streak in the nation, behind only Ohio State with 37.
Patterson is calling for people not to overreact to Saturday’s loss.
“We lost one ballgame, not ten,” Patterson said. “You’d have to feel positive about our team two games in because I don’t think we’ve played our best football yet.”
Carraway said he’s already looking forward to the next game.
“Tomorrow, we have to get to looking forward to Iowa State,” he said.
TCU’s next game is at 11 a.m. against Iowa State on Saturday, Sept. 17 at Amon G. Carter Stadium.