TCU running back Kyle Hicks runs through the Kansas State defense. Photo courtesy of GoFrogs.com

print
Following a two hour and 55 minute delay because of lightning, No. 6 TCU finally kicked off against Kansas State in Manhattan at 2 p.m. Saturday, and Gary Patterson’s defense stifled KSU en route to a 26-6 victory.

With the win, the Horned Frogs have now won five road games in a row and are 7-1 in road contests the last two seasons. Overall, the team has won 22 of its last 30 Big 12 games, and TCU is 16-9 on the road in Big 12.

“We played well on the road last year and we have this year because we focus in and don’t focus on the things we don’t need to worry about,” TCU head coach Gary Patterson said.

The weather made it tough on both teams to stay amped and ready to roll because of the down time in between the scheduled kickoff and actual kickoff, but the Horned Frogs adapted on the fly.

“The first hour and fifteen they all slept, all of them laid down, they took their pads off, and our nutritionist did a good job of going out and making sandwiches that our kids ate 30 minutes before we went back out,”  Patterson said.

Some of Patterson’s players said getting that adrenaline up and running wasn’t easy.

“When you get that adrenaline going and you know its game-time, and then you have a weather delay, I wouldn’t say it dampens your mood, but it does play a critical part in your mind,” TCU wide receiver John Diarse said. “Our team did an awesome of job staying looked in,”

Once the teams did finally get back out there, the Horned Frog defense did its job, not allowing the Wildcats to find the end zone, and the Wildcats did not break 200 yards of offense until 4:10 remained in the game. A big key to the defensive success was limiting sophomore quarterback Alex Delton and the KSU running backs on the ground. Delton led Bill Snyder’s squad with 74 yards rushing, and three KSU running backs combined for 31 yards.

“One of their best plays is the quarterback draw, and we did not want to let that play get out,” TCU head coach Gary Patterson said. “It’s hurt a lot of people really bad, and it’s hurt us really bad, so our biggest thing is not to let him run, he’s a good athlete, and we want to stop the run and stop the quarterback from running.”

Through the air, Delton totaled 140 yards, but only 113 discounting his 33-yard completion down the sideline to wide receiver Byron Pringle.

“We gave up the one long pass down the sidelines, other than that we did pretty good,” Patterson said.

 Even though TCU won by 20, the game was a two-possession spread most of the day.

With 11:55 remaining in the second quarter, KSU began its next drive on the TCU 43, and they reached as far as the Horned Frog five, but an offensive pass interference pushed them back to the 26. A strip-sack of Alex Delton by Mat Boesen on the next play gave TCU the ball back with a Montrel Wilson recovery.

“That was just good overall play from the defense, and I had room off the edge, no one was really there, so I made a play,” TCU defensive end Mat Boesen said. “I think it was a momentum shift.”

TCU running back Sewo Olonilu ran for two touchdowns, and the Horned Frogs totaled nearly 400 yards of offense.

TCU set a physical tone on its third drive of the game with the game still scoreless. The Horned Frogs began the drive with five run plays called, all five of them were run by Kyle Hicks. A pass play was called on the final play of the drive, but Kenny Hill sprinted into the end-zone on a seven-yard scramble, which established a smash-mouth attitude of the TCU offense.

TCU quarterback Kenny Hill sprints to the end zone to put TCU up 7-0 over Kansas State. Photo courtesy of GoFrogs.com

The veteran Horned Frog offensive line,which returned four of five starter from last season, man-handled the Wildcat defense.

“We came out and we thought we could throw the ball around a little bit, but the offensive line started blocking and Kyle started popping off some runs, so we kept feeding him,” TCU quarterback Kenny Hill said.

Kyle Hicks led TCU with 58 yards rushing while tying KaVontae Turpin for the team lead with five receptions. Sophomore running back Darius Anderson, who had ran for over 100 yards in each of TCU’s two previous road games this season, finished with two carries for fives yards and lost a fumble. However, Patterson said Anderson wasn’t hurt, but he said that health may have played a factor in the lack of Anderson against KSU.

“I don’t know, he fumbled early, and Coach Luper has the running rotation, and every one of those backs has their different style of plays,” Patterson said. “When they’re power plays a lot of that is Sewo, Kyle Hicks holds on, but I don’t think there was a direct reason why. The biggest thing is to get to the end of the season and be healthy.”

With 12:49 left to play, the game was halted because of a lightning strike with TCU head 20-6 and Kansas State facing second-and-15 at its 26-yard line.

Following the 62-minute delay, TCU forced a punt and drove 65 yards to take a 26-6 lead on Olonilua’s second touchdown run out of the wildcat formation, with 8:44 left.
Going Forward
Now, TCU is 6-0, bowl-eligible, the last undefeated team in Big 12 conference play and the conference as whole.
Some Horned Frogs players were surprised the conference landscape looks the way it does.

“I thought us as a team could get to this point, but as far as everyone else I didn’t expect that at all,” Hill said. “We do some really good things, but there’s times where we get into some lulls , so I think there’s a lot more we could bring in a game, so we haven’t quite reached our potential yet.”

As both No. 2 Clemson and No. 8 Washington State went down to unranked opponents, the Horned Frogs observed those teams mistakes and took lessons from those games with them into Kansas State and beyond.

“It’s learning from someone else’s mistakes, and realizing that it can be gone just like that,” TCU wide receiver John Diarse said. “You can go from top five, top six to twenty three to unranked, and this team is much more mature than last year and we’re trying to get to December for the Big 12 championship, we want to be relevant in December.”

TCU returns home to Amon G. Carter stadium to face the Kansas Jayhawks Oct. 21. The time of kickoff has yet to be announced.