With three seconds left in the first half against SMU, TCU head coach Gary Patterson made the call to throw for the end zone and not kick a field goal- a decision that changed the game against SMU.
TCU quarterback Kenny Hill converted on a 38-yard Hail Mary to freshman wide receiver, Jalen Reagor that gave TCU a 28-22 lead that it would not relinquish, as the Horned Frogs won by 20, 56-36.
“I respect them [SMU], that’s why we went for it and didn’t kick a field goal,” TCU head coach Gary Patterson said.
Patterson could feel confident in that decision because the freshman receiver had the best long jump in the country by more than a foot, jumping 26 feet his senior year of high school at Waxahachie, according to DyeStat.com.
Reagor leaped above four SMU defenders in the end-zone and snatched the ball for a touchdown.
“Obviously we put him in so he could jump up there, and we already knew he could do it,” Patterson said. “We weren’t surprised he could jump up there.”
Hill said that’s the first time he had seen a Hail Mary work.
“We were sitting on the sidelines talking about it, and Jalen kept saying just throw it to me, throw it to me I got you, so I said alright man, I will throw it up and let you go get it,” Hill said. “I’ve never seen that happen in a game since I’ve been here, so that was something else, but I was happy he went up and made a play.”
TCU running back Darius Anderson said the play changed the momentum of the game.
“We had to overcome adversity and that big play helped the team and everybody pick their heads up because a lot of us were down,” Anderson said. “I was anticipating and was eager to see what would happen, so when I saw him go up, I knew we got it. It was a great feeling. It got me excited.”
SMU did not have a lead again for the rest of the game, and with the Horned Frogs opening the second half with a touchdown, it was Reagor’s play that pushed the game out of reach for the Mustangs.
Reagor’s 38-yard touchdown reception from Hill was the first touchdown reception of his career, and he finished with three catches for 79 yards.
“With Jalen, we’re slowly but surely teaching him more of the offense for a freshman,” Patterson said.