TCU football midseason report card: Special Teams

The third phase of football is often the least talked about, but special teams units can make or break a season. Fortunately for TCU, the Frogs’ special teams units have been solid all the way around in 2017, shoring up one major weakness from 2016.

Kicking: A+

Jonathan Song has been what everyone hoped he would be this season: a reliable kicker. 2016 was marred by missed field goals and nerves on extra points, but that hasn’t been the case in 2017.

Song is 6-6 on field goal attempts, and while he hasn’t had to attempt a kick longer than 39 yards (technically) you can’t ask anything more from a kicker who hasn’t missed.

The one ding on his record this season is the extra point he doinked off the left upright against Kansas State, but even Jaden Oberkrom had some of those in his time. Other than that, he’s been perfect this season, which is a welcome relief for Frog fans everywhere.

Punting: A

Adam Nunez captivated everyone several weeks ago with a ridiculous game, pinning West Virginia inside its own ten yard line five times, earning him Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Week honors.

The sophomore has been good this year, pinning teams inside their 20 eight times, and causing six fair catches, but his average punt has only traveled 37.5 yards. Sure, some of that average is dictated by field position, but he only has one punt over 50 yards on the season. Nunez only had three punts over 50 yards last season, so it seems like his leg just isn’t the biggest, but as long as he’s pinning teams deep in their own territory, I have no complaints here.

Punt Returns: B

We haven’t seen much from KaVontae Turpin and his highlight reel punt returns yet this season. His longest return is just 17 yards, and his average is 8.7. Of course, teams are far more hesitant to give him any space to make the SC Top 10, but a little more electricity in this realm would be nice.

Turpin still has his same burst and shiftiness, though, as evidenced by his kick returns. I wonder what TCU could start doing differently to open up some lanes for Turpin to flip the field on punt returns.

Kickoffs: A

Cole Bunce has 18 touchbacks on 43 kicks through six games this season, and the coverage team has done a fantastic job, holding opponents to a 17.5 yard return average. The longest kick return for an opponent this season? 26 yards.

More touchbacks means less opportunity for injury, but really there hasn’t been anything to complain about here.

Kick Returns: A+

Turpin has been a difference-maker on kickoffs again this season. His longest return is 42 yards, but it’s his average that’s even more impressive. Turpin is averaging 30 yards per return this season, despite teams clearly trying to kick it away from him. The kick return unit has done a great job creating space for Turpin to move, when he has a chance to return the ball, giving TCU a great advantage on kick returns.

Source: Frogs of War

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Frogs O’ War Pod Mailbag: Get your questions in!

Jamie and Melissa will be at University Pub tonight at 8pm, recording the podcast in front of a live audience! Get your questions in now, and we’ll answer them on the show.

Don’t forget, you can subscribe to the podcast on Podbean, or on iTunes (it’s a NEW iTunes account, so make sure you’re subscribed to the correct one). Also, if you could, please take a few seconds to leave a review on iTunes. It helps boost the profile of the pod, getting us in more ears. We’d be eternally grateful. Thanks!

You can ask us any question you want, so seriously, fire away!

Source: Frogs of War

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Is TCU’s surprise star thinking about leaving early for NFL?

He hadn’t heard the news, yet it is some of most exciting a college football player can hear.

“Mel Kiper has you going in the first round.”

TCU defensive end Ben Banogu didn’t move. He hardly reacted. He merely smiled.

“That’s nice of him,” he said.

That was about the extent of the reaction from Banogu, a junior from McKinney who has emerged as the Horned Frogs’ most dynamic pass rusher. Last week, ESPN’s draft expert Kiper projected him in the lower half of the first round of the NFL draft on his “Big Board.” If the prediction holds, it would make Banogu the second first-round pick in three years out of TCU, joining 2016 Washington Redskins receiver Josh Doctson.

“Yeah, just a little bit,” Banogu said, asked if he was surprised. “I mean, it’s good. But at the end of the day, I just want to do well for the team. You cross that bridge when you get there.”

To be eligible for the draft next spring, Banogu would have to declare early. That’s a big decision.

But that he even would have to think about it says everything about how far and how quickly he has come since arriving at TCU as a transfer from Louisiana-Monroe last year. He sat out 2016 per transfer rules, but grabbed a starting job at defensive end promptly in spring practice, dominated the spring game and has roared out of the gate in the regular season with four sacks, six quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles in six games.

That was fast.

“To be honest with you, he’s very young,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “He’s only played really one year of college football.”

At ULM, started 13 games as a red-shirt freshman, recording five sacks among 14.5 tackles for loss and forced two fumbles. He had a sack at Alabama.

At 6-foot-4, 257 pounds, he’s NFL defensive end size now.

But is he ready?

Patterson can’t answer that. He won’t try to answer that.

“He needs to get as much experience as he can,” Patterson said. “That would be my suggestion if he asked me. Because at the next level, there’s a lot of other intangibles that go into being that guy.”

Related stories from Star-Telegram

Banogu said he was hardly recruited out of Prosper High School, in part because a broken leg made him miss most of his junior season. He said the only other real choice he had was Montana State.

“Not a lot of teams really gave me a shot. I’m glad ULM did,” Banogu said. “Even though I left, the time that I was there was time that helped me a lot.”

TCU? Saw him but never offered.

“I think everybody wants to get recruited by TCU coming out of high school,” Banogu said. “The chips didn’t really go my way. That’s OK, though. God always finds a way of putting you in the right place.”

As a high school senior, Banogu said he was 6-4 but weighed only 205 pounds.

“I was a little scrawny,” he said. “At ULM, they bulked me up to about 265. After I got here, I figured out I was a little too heavy.”

Dropping 10 pounds helped his speed, which he showed in a strip-sack of Mason Rudolph at Oklahoma State. It also showed against West Virginia, when he looped under the defensive tackles to sack Will Grier on a middle rush. At Arkansas, on the third play of the game, Banogu rushed around the end to knock the ball out of quarterback Austin Allen’s hand.

“He’s a good player. We wouldn’t be where we are without him,” Patterson said.

But slow down.

No one is saying Banogu is leaving for the pros. Certainly not him or Patterson.

“I’ve found it hasn’t turned out real well for guys who go out early,” Patterson said. “But I’ll never tell them not to. The way I’ve always dealt with players is, ‘It’s not going to be my fault. I’m not going to tell you to stay, I’m not going to tell you to go. I’m going to give you the facts and what I think.’ That’s what I’ve always done.”

Banogu made his own decision to leave ULM.

“The environment I was in didn’t really fit me,” he said. “A change of pace was needed, and I’m closer to home. I’m near my family and my mom, so she can actually watch me play.”

Presumably, Banogu will make his own decision about the NFL.

“I’m not too worried about that now,” he said. “You’ve just got to wait and see.”

No. 4 TCU vs. Kansas

7 p.m. Saturday, KDFW, Ch. 4

Source: Star Telegram

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Familiarity adds another layer to nationally televised showdown


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Homecoming has a twist for TCU football as two former coaches – Doug Meacham and Kenny Perry – return as opponents.

Meacham runs the offense for the Kansas Jayhawks, while Perry is a co-defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach. Meacham was the Horned Frog’s co-offensive coordinator and inside receivers coach from 2014-2016. Perry was TCU’s cornerbacks coach in 2014 after working as TCU’s director of high school relations in 2013.

“Both Perry and Coach Meacham have coached on our staff,” said TCU head coach Gary Patterson. “They know everything about us: how we runs things on offense and defense, so for us we have to go back and watch all practice tape, games so we have a lot of work we have to do to control our own destiny.”

After tightrope finishes the last couple of years, the No. 4 Horned Frogs know not to dismiss the  1-5 Jayhawks.

They put a scare in us these last couple years, said wide receiver Desmon White.

“I don’t know why they play us really well, but we just have to go out there and execute and we’ll be good,” he said.

In Lawrence last season, TCU claimed a one-point victory, 24-23,  after Kansas missed three fourth quarter field goals.  The Horned Frogs limped away from the the last matchup in Fort Worth, as Foster Sawyer took over at quarterback for an injured Trevone Boykin in a one-possession win, 23- 17.

Patterson said he isn’t letting his team dwell on projections that have the Frogs winning Saturday’s 7 p.m. game by about 40 points.

“Having it in primetime, they’ll be ramped up, and we have to prepare for them to pull out every stop,” he said.”They felt like they made some progress by beating Texas a year ago, so you would think they would feel the same way if they could beat No. 4 TCU. For us, it’s going to be business as usual.”

Source: TCU360

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Seniors Brodziansky and Williams earn Big 12 preseason honors


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Two major catalysts for TCU basketball’s success last season were honored by the Big 12 Thursday and received preseason honors from the conference.

Senior Vladimir Brodziansky was named preseason All-Big 12 and senior Kenrich Williams was named All-Big 12 honorable mention.

Brodziansky’s record-setting junior season was flooded with accolades from the conference. Averaging 14.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game, Brodziansky earned 82 blocked shots on the season, good for second in school history over the span of a single season. Brodziansky was a member of the Big 12 All-Defensive team, All Big-12 honorable mention and the NIT All-Tournament team.

Brodziasnky is joined by Jevon Carter of West Virginia, Jeffrey Carol of Oklahoma State, Devonte’ Graham of Kansas and Zach Smith of Texas Tech.

Brodziansky’s honor is the first time a Horned Frog has received an All-Big 12 credit and the first time since 2011-12 season that a Frog was rewarded preseason conference honors. Hank Thomas was awarded preseason All-Mountain West Conference honors during the 2011-12 season.

Williams averaged 11.4 points and 9.7 rebounds over his junior season and recorded a conference-best 19 double-doubles on the season. The statistic was also good for 11th nationally. The Texas native played exceptionally throughout the postseason, recording a double-double in all five games of the NIT, including a triple-double performance against Richmond in the final game of the season at Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena.

The Frogs will look to continue their momentum from last season as they begin the season in Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena against the University of Louisiana Monroe. Tip-off is set for 8:00 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10.

Source: TCU360

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Why every game from here is tough for TCU football. Yes, even Kansas

The first point TCU coach Gary Patterson wanted to make at his midweek press conference Tuesday was simple.

“Every game past this point is a tough one,” he said.

He included Kansas.

Of course he included Kansas, the second-easiest team in the country to score on, the lowest-scoring offense in the Big 12, losers of five straight and winner just three times in its last 33 games.

In No. 4 TCU’s case, he should have. It’s the same Kansas that has played the Horned Frogs within an average of a touchdown the past five years. Against everyone else in that time, Kansas has been outscored by an average of three touchdowns.

Of course, Patterson included Kansas.

“KU’s played us well,” Patterson said. “They have guys on their staff that know us well. People who know you, they are going to play you well.”

Indeed, the connections are there.

Kansas co-defensive coordinator Kenny Perry coached cornerbacks at TCU in 2014, and offensive-coordinator Doug Meacham was co-offensive coordinator at TCU the past three seasons.

But Kansas has been giving TCU problems since 2012 when the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12.

There’s no reason for Patterson to change his perspective about the Kansas game, no matter that his team is nearly a 40-point favorite.

“I know our kids are excited about it — playing this game,” Patterson said. “Because they’ve heard enough. They’ve heard, ‘played close.’ 

So Kansas has been tough on TCU. It could be a tough game again.

What about the rest of the teams on the schedule?

Patterson explained.

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“There’s not anything easy trying to win next week when you go to Iowa State,” he said. “You get to November, then you’re talking about four emotional games. Because you have three in the state — Texas, Texas Tech and Baylor — so that makes them emotional. And you have Oklahoma. Those are your last four. So for us, we just need to try to navigate October, try to see if we can win by one more point.”

There’s one more factor.

As TCU continues to win and rise in the rankings, the bigger a target it becomes.

“What our kids will find out is, if we can keep winning, that every game becomes tougher,” Patterson said. “Because more and more people are going to pay attention. And then you have to become smarter about how you act and what you say and how you do things. Because it becomes more and more magnified, everything that you say. I’ve found out that the higher you get, like the Rose Bowl year, the less I say, the better.”

Maybe that’s why Patterson kept it simple Tuesday.

It’s Kansas Week.

What else could he say?

“Every game past this point is a tough one.”

That included Kansas.

No. 4 TCU vs. Kansas

7 p.m. Saturday, KDFW/4

Source: Star Telegram

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How TCU wound up on national TV against awful Kansas

TCU fans have itched for a quality night game at Amon G. Carter Stadium, and TV delivered one half of that wish.

But why in the holy name of criminally stupid would a major network deliberately schedule for its prime-time slot a game where the home team is favored by 39 points? C-SPAN offers more suspense than Kansas at TCU.

Fox is praying that Kansas at TCU holds to form, and maybe the network can finish third for the night. Or, if you don’t believe in Santa Claus, Fox going with KU at TCU is also a nice, crisp white flag.

The Kansas Jayhawks (1-5) are the last-good team in Power 5 football and have not been a part of a Fox national telecast since it won the Orange Bowl (yes, that actually happened) in 2008. This team should not be playing a game at 7 p.m. on national TV. A strong case can be made the Kansas Jayhawks should not be on any TV.

The Big 12, nor any conference, has much say in these schedules. Once a conference sells the broadcast rights, TV calls the shots.

This is how the magic of TCU-KU on national TV happens: ESPN and Fox have deals worked with the Big 12, and rotate who picks what games for the 11 a.m, 2:30/3 p.m. and 6:30p.m./7 p.m. slots.

Fox picked first and selected No. 9 Oklahoma at Kansas State for the 3 p.m. slot. You will notice that Fox’s top-team of announcers, Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt, will be working that game in Manhattan.

ESPN then selected No. 10 Oklahoma State at Texas for 11 a.m.

That left Fox, which looked at the evening’s TV landscape, to ask, “What the hell?” It grabbed Kansas at No. 4 TCU for the 7 p.m. slot.

It wasn’t about to go with No. 23 West Virginia at winless Baylor. So the network went with the No. 4-ranked team.

Figure this: No. 11 USC plays at No. 13 Notre Dame at 6:30 p.m. on NBC and No. 19 Michigan plays at No. 2 Penn State at 6:30 p.m. on ABC.

Even had Fox selected the OU-KSU game for the prime time broadcast, there was no way the Big 12 could compete with games involving USC-Notre Dame and Penn State-Michigan at the same time. Fox simply went with the safe play of winning the mid-day slate of games.

And Fox hopes that, perhaps, TCU’s 2017 game against KU plays out the way the previous meetings have gone since the Horned Frogs joined the Big 12.

In the previous five meetings between the two teams, the total margin is 35 points. And TCU has won the last three games by four points, six points and one point.

KU always stinks. But the Jayhawks always manage to make TCU coach Gary Patterson wipe his glasses and readjust his khakis a few thousand times.

Related stories from Star-Telegram

During his weekly press conference on Tuesday, GP did his best to convince the media, fans and his players that Horned Frogs v. Jayhawks is a real game not only worth playing but watching.

He said things like:

“They’ve got guys on their staff that know us real well.”

And?

“Every game past this point is a tough one.”

No it’s not. It’s Kansas.

“The whole town, they know they played us close, they’re all ramped up.”

Lawrence, Kansas, does not care. The Jayhawks’ average announced attendance is 26,404.

“In this day and age if you don’t take everyone seriously you’re in trouble.

Again. Not true. It’s Kansas.

“The Iowa State game (against Kansas last week) was a mudslide. You can’t take anything out of that ballgame. Except one team won and one team lost.”

Iowa State didn’t seem to have any trouble in the conditions and won, 45-0.

TCU-Kansas won’t be close because the Jayhawks are a Jayjoke. This game has no business being played in prime-time on a major network, but the Horned Frogs fans who want a night game got one.

It should be a great atmosphere at Amon G. Carter Stadium to watch SC play Notre Dame on a TV in the parking lot.

Source: Star Telegram

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Tennessee fans the latest to think they can money whip Gary Patterson

It’s a yearly occurrence now. October has come, college football dreams have been crushed, and disgruntled fans start doing a little internet shopping for a new head football coach.

This year, it’s Tennessee. Volunteer fans are mad online at Butch Jones, and they’re in the market for a new head man. It seems like a few have their eyes on TCU’s visored genius.

Back in 2014 I wrote an article about how Gary Patterson isn’t going anywhere. It’s still true.

But, that doesn’t mean fans can’t dream.

That last one is my personal favorite. OUR QUARTERBACK FROM 20 YEARS AGO AND A BAG OF TENNESSEE NICKELS WILL GET A HEAD COACH TO COME HERE.

Now, the idea that another school can money whip Gary Patterson is not only hilarious, but it’s ridiculous. Fortunately, a lot of people know this.

But Tennessee isn’t the first team to lust after our beautiful ball coach. Here’s a not-comprehensive list of all the schools linked to Gary Patterson during his tenure with the Frogs.

So LOL Tennessee, thanks for playing.

Source: Frogs of War

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TCU Football Midseason Report Card: Defense

TCU’s defense has had a resurgence in 2017. Here’s TCU’s national rank in several key categories.

  • 5th in red zone defense, allowing opponents to score just 62.5% of the time
  • 11th in rushing defense, allowing 98.3 yards per game and 2.92 yards per carry
  • 17th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 17.3 points per game
  • 22nd in 3rd down defense, allowing a first down just 30.3% of the time
  • 31st in total defense, allowing 336.3 yards per game

Overall, the defense has been a revelation for the Frogs this season, and they aren’t showing any signs of slowing down. Here are the midseason grades for each defensive unit.

Defensive Line: A+

I would argue that the defensive line has been the best part of the defense through six games this season. Eight sacks, four from Ben Banogu, and 22.5 tackles for loss, eight from Banogu, four forced fumbles and two interceptions are a signal of the kind of pressure the line has created so far.

We all knew that the defensive tackles were studs, and Ross Blacklock has been exactly the kind of hole-plugging monster we expected him to be. The Frogs have had very solid play from Corey Bethley, Chris Bradley, and Chris Bradley as well. While they don’t pile up numbers on a stat sheet, the tackles have been largely responsible for keeping the linebackers free, and the defensive ends in one-on-one situations, allowing them to feast on run defense.

Speaking of defensive ends, Ben Banogu has been absolutely dominant so far this season with 25 tackles, eight tackles for loss, four sacks, two forced fumbles, and six quarterback hits. The Louisiana-Monroe transfer is making a name for himself as the next great TCU defensive end. On the other side of the line, Mat Boesen continues to improve against the run, while being a force in the pass rush just like a season ago. Like Banogu, Boesen has forced two fumbles on the season, with multiple sacks, and 28 tackles.

Plus, between LJ Collier, Michael Epley, and Ty Summers, there seems to be a little bit of depth at end as well.

Linebackers: B+

There are some things we can always count on in this world. The sun will rise in the east, water will be wet, and Travin Howard is the leading tackler for TCU. Howard has 46 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and an interception on the season, and he’s flying to the football as he always has. Alongside him, a rotation of Montrel Wilson, Arico Evans, Sammy Douglas, and Ty Summers have stepped in at various times to help fill the other linebacker spot, and give Howard a breath.

While there’s plenty of depth at linebacker, Howard is head and shoulders above the rest. His speed allows him to hang with receivers in coverage situations, and his strength makes him a force against the run.

The B+ comes from the struggle for Wilson/Evans to cover in the passing game. They’ve both been out of position several times this season, and have given up passes on underneath routes when the secondary had locked everyone else down. Same goes for Ty Summers in his limited time at linebacker this season. All three, though, have been fantastic against the run.

Cornerbacks: A

Ranthony Texada has been Ranthony Texada this season, and he’s a big reason TCU’s secondary is stronger than it was a season ago. Losing Julius Lewis for the season prior to the Oklahoma State game was a massive loss, but Jeff Gladney and Tony James have stepped up admirably in Lewis’ absence. TCU cornerbacks have nine passes defended, eight pass breakups, and an interception.

The occasional big play is what keeps them from getting an A+, but when you’re on an island 90% of the time, sometimes you’re going to get beat.

Safeties: B+

Ridwan Issahaku, Nick Orr, Innis Gaines, and Niko Small have all had big moments so far this season. Issahaku’s pick six against Jackson State, Orr’s interception of Will Grier, Innis Gaines hitting [insert anyone’s name here] so hard he sent in back in time, and Niko Small throwing his body into the fray for a goal line stand against Arkansas are all memorable. TCU safeties have 12 passes defended, three interceptions, 6.5 tackles for loss, and five sacks.

However, some broken coverages, specifically by Small and Orr, have held this unit back a bit. TCU’s defenses are always susceptible to the big play, but it’s a little worrisome how many big plays they’ve allowed to this point in the season. Sure, offenses like Oklahoma State and West Virginia are going to get theirs, but those big plays need to be minimized moving forward.

Source: Frogs of War

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TCU vs. Kansas: What you need to know about the Horned Frogs and Jayhawks

No. 4 TCU (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) vs. Kansas (1-5, 0-3)

Kickoff: 7 p.m. Saturday, Amon G. Carter Stadium

TV: KDFW/Ch. 4 (Fox)

Radio: WBAP/820 AM, KTCU 88.7 FM

Series: TCU is 21-8-4 in the series going back to the first meeting in 1942, including 9-2-2 in Fort Worth. TCU is 5-0 against KU since joining the Big 12 in 2012.

Weather: 80 percent chance of thunderstorms. High of 85, low of 64. Humidity 79 percent. South wind, 12 mph.

Who’s favored: Duh. TCU is a 37.5-point favorite.

What’s this about: The Horned Frogs are the only unbeaten team in the Big 12 and that shouldn’t change Saturday night. After Saturday, the next four weeks pose challenges for TCU, including at Iowa State Oct. 28.

Last week: TCU 26, Kansas State 6; Iowa State 45, Kansas 0

Last year: TCU 24, Kansas 23

Last time in Fort Worth: TCU 23, Kansas 17

Stat leaders

TCU: RB Darius Anderson, 79 carries, 470 yards, 6 TDs. QB Kenny Hill, 127-182-3 for 1,450 yards, 10 TDs. WR Desmon White, 19 catches, 212 yards, 2 TDs; WR KaVontae Turpin, 21 catches, 209 yards, 1 TD. LB Travin Howard, 46 tackles, 1 INT. S Nick Orr, 35 tackles, 2 INT.

Kansas: RB Khalil Herbert, 68 carries for 503 yards, 4 TDs. QB Peyton Bender, 122-221-9 for 1,391 yards, 8 TDs. WR Steven Sims Jr., 22 catches for 406 yards, 3 TDS; TE Ben Johnson, 18 catches for 250 yards, 1 TD; WR Jeremiah Booker, 16 catches for 225 yards, 2 TDs. LB Joe Dinnen Jr., 77 tackles, 1 sack; S Mike Lee, 45 tackles, 2 INTs.

From around here

Players on the Kansas roster from the Tarrant-area:

Soph. S Shaquille Richmond, Mansfield Timberview

Sr. CB Derrick Neal, Dallas Lincoln

Jr. WR Keaton Perry, TCU, Arlington Bowie

Fr. LB Kyron Johnson, Arlington Lamar

Jr. DE Josh Ehambe, Arlington Prime Prep Academy

Jr. S Emmanuel Moore, Northwest

JR RB Taylor Martin, Dunbar

Fr. OL Jack Williams, Argyle

Soph. OL Clyde McCauley III, Arlington Bowie

Fr. DE Jelani Arnold, Irving MacArthur

Jr. DT Daniel Wise, Hebron

Numbers game

10 Receivers have caught touchdown passes for TCU which is tied with Oklahoma and Ohio State for most in the nation. TCU ranks second nationally with 18 players with a reception.

23 Games the TCU defense has held opponents to under 10 points since 2010, which is third most in the nation behind Alabam (43) and Florida State (24).

56.7 TCU’s nation-leading third-down conversion.

Did you know

Linebacker Travin Howard (46 tackles) is on pace to lead TCU in tackles for the third consecutive season. If he does it, he’ll become the first known player to do it. He had a team-high 130 tackles in 2016 and 105 in ’15.

TCU has led at halftime in every game this season. They are 125-14 when leading at halftime since Gary Patterson became head coach.

TCU’s three defensive touchdowns this season is ties for the fourth most in the nation.

TCU’s 15 sacks is tied for the Big 12 lead. The Horned Frogs’ six sacks a year ago against Kansas is their most since recording nine against SMU in 2014.

The Frogs’ defense leads the Big 12 in scoring (17.3 points allowed per game), total defense (336,3 yards per game) and rushing defense (98.3 yards per game).

Source: Star Telegram

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