Football makes statement against Kansas, wins Big 12 opener

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Safety Innis Gaines and the TCU defense held Kansas to just 159 yards of total offense in the game. Photo by Heesoo Yang

Following their first loss of the season against SMU, TCU football dominated Kansas in their Big 12 opener, 51-14.

“I was really happy how they came out and got ready and they played,” head coach Gary Patterson said about his team.

The win served as a resounding response to last year’s 27-26 loss against the Jayhawks.

TCU exploded offensively, scoring touchdowns on seven of their 12 drives.

In his second-straight start, first-year Max Duggan went 5-for-6 with 88 yards and two touchdowns in the first half alone.  He would finish 8-for-11 with 100 yards.

After Duggan’s electric start, graduate transfer Alex Delton played for the majority of the rest of the contest.  Delton finished 10-of-15 with 186 yards.

Patterson said after the game that he felt Delton looked “more comfortable out there.”

Running back Darius Anderson continued his streak of dominance with his third-straight game of 100 or more rushing yards.  The senior finished with 115 yards on the ground and a touchdown.

Running back Darius Anderson contributed 115 yards and a touchdown on the ground for TCU in the win. Photo by Heesoo Yang

“It feels great,” Anderson said about three-straight games with 100-plus yards.  “I give all the credit to the o-line.”

TCU came out of the gate with something to prove.  After running backs Anderson and Sewo Olonilua gained 33 yards on the ground, Duggan hit receiver Dylan Thomas on a 26-yard dime to put TCU up 7-0 just 3:48 into the game.

The score was the first of the season for Thomas and only the second of his career.

“That was one of the things we emphasized in practice,” Anderson said.  “Today, we started fast, and I feel like if we keep doing that and execute, we can be really good.”

This momentum would carry onto their second drive, as the Frogs marched 72-yards down the field in 17 plays.  The drive ended in a one-handed catch by tight end Pro Wells’ to extend TCU’s lead to 14.

Quarterback Max Duggan finished with 100 yards and two touchdowns in his second-straight start. Photo by Heesoo Yang

After Kansas’ third-straight punt, wide receiver Jalen Reagor made his presence known- he muffed the punt before picking it up and exploding 73-yards for the score.

The return was the first special-teams touchdown of Reagor’s career and his first touchdown since the season-opening win over UAPB.

Delton came soon after and was effective right away, orchestrating a five-play, 69-yard drive ending in an Olonilua touchdown run. This was the first time that TCU had scored a touchdown all season with Delton under center.

Going into the halftime break, the Frogs led the Jayhawks 38-0. The 38 points were the most Kansas had given up all season.

The Frogs would slow down in the second half, scoring just 13 points.  TCU would punt four times after scoring on all six of their first-half drives. 

TCU would gain 274 yards in the second half, bringing their total to 625 on the day.  It was the Frogs’ first time to have 600 or more yards of total offense since they gained 619 in a 56-36 win over SMU in 2017.

Though Kansas would end up gaining 104 yards of offense and scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter alone, TCU’s first half lead proved enough to seal the victory.

“I wasn’t particularly happy with the second [half],” Patterson said.  “If you want to be a great football team, then you’ve got to finish.”

Kansas finished with just 159 yards on the day.

Playing with the lead in the second half gave TCU time to play first-year running backs Darwin Barlow and Daimarqua Foster.  Barlow took 13 carries for 51 yards, while Foster took eight carries for 66 yards and a score in his first-career game.

“It was so fun. It was so exciting,” Anderson said about watching the young running backs. “I see what they do every day, and they’re willing to learn and work.”

Linebacker Garret Wallow finished with six tackles on the day.  Defensive tackle Ross Blacklock contributed five tackles of his own.

The win improves TCU to 3-1 on the season and 1-0 in Big 12 play.

After two-straight games at home, TCU will head on the road to play Iowa State for their next action. Kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday.