After Jackson State marched all the way to the TCU five-yard line on the season’s opening possession, it looked like TCU was in for a long night; however, the Horned Frog defense stonewalled the Tigers with four sacks and an interception return touchdown, and both Kenny Hill and Shawn Robinson lit up the scoreboard Saturday, as TCU won handily to begin its season, 63-0.

After reaching a first-and-goal at the TCU five that became a third-and goal at the TCU seven, JSU quarterback Brent Lyles dropped back to pass, and a TCU cornerback came screaming off the right side of the line to knock the ball out of Lyles’ hands, forcing a fumble. The football proceeded to be bobbled 28 yards all the away back to the TCU 35 where Lyles recovered the ball and threw it out of bounds for an intentional grounding penalty. The Horned Frog defense stepped up on fourth down, as safety Ridwan Issahaku knocked down a pass attempt by JSU punter Christian Jacquemin to force a turnover on downs.

“There’s no opponent you play where you can just walk out there,”TCU head coach Gary Patterson said. “I started calling the plays in quicker and our guys adjusted, which helped.”

After totaling 40 yards on that opening drive, the Tigers amounted to just 25 more the rest of the game. The 65 yards allowed by TCU were the fewest by an opponent since Northern Illinois was held to 60 in the Horned Frogs’ 37-7 win in the 2006 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl.

Five of TCU’s 11 defensive starters made their first career starts as Horned Frogs: defensive end Ben Banogu, defensive tackle Ross Blacklock, defensive end Mat Boesen, linebacker Arico Evans and safety Markell Simmons. Banogu started all 13 games for ULM in 2015. Banogu recorded his first sack as a Horned Frog, and true freshman Corey Bethley had a half-sack in his collegiate debut, combining with L.J. Collier for a second-quarter sack. Mat Boesen had a team-high seven tackles.

After starting on the JSU 31, Kenny Hill lead the offense into the end zone in the blink of an eye, a seven-play, 65-yard drive that was capped off by a 13-yard catch and run from freshman running back Kenny Snell. Snell caught the football on a shuffle pass from Hill and sprinted toward the right sideline, reversed field and ended up walking into the end zone after a block from Kenny Hill sealed off the final Tigers’ defender.

“There’s a lot of potential with Kennedy Snell, like a KaVontae Turpin, like a Deante’ Gray because he’s got wiggle,” Patterson said. “He can play out wide and he can play in the backfield.”

The 13-yard TD catch by Snell made him the first Horned Frog to score on his first collegiate touch since Deante’ Gray accomplished the feat against Grambling Grambling State in 2012 on a 70-yard punt return. Hill also finished the first drive of the season perfect, completing all five of his passes.

After a JSU three and out, TCU picked up right where they left off. Not to be out done by Kennedy Snell, his high school teammate at Waxahachie, freshman wide receiver Jalen Reagor took his first catch of his career for a physical 32 yards, all the way to the JSU four. Their quarterback was excited to see both freshmen get in on the action early.

“I was so happy for those guys: Snell, his first touch he scores, and we give it to Jalen I thought he was going to score on his first touch, I threw my hands up thinking it was a touchdown, but that’s big for him,” TCU quarterback Kenny Hill said. “Big to get their feet wet, get in a game, and get the nerves out a little bit, so I’m excited for that.”

Hill immediately followed that completion up with another touchdown pass, this time on a fade route to the back corner of the end zone to senior wide receiver Emanuel Porter. The touchdown reception was Porter’s first of the season and his first since the first overtime of the 2016 Valero Alamo Bowl. The two completions pushed Hill’s completions streak to his jersey number, seven, to begin the season. Hill also spread the ball around, completing those passes to five different receivers.

While the two freshman from Waxahachie awed the Fort Worth faithful and the JSU defense early, KaVontae Turpin was biding his time, waiting until TCU’s third possession. On the junior’s first carry of the game, Turpin was a blur, gliding down the right sideline for a 39-yard touchdown to push the Horned Frog advantage to three scores, 21-0.

“KaVontae is KaVontae, he’s a pretty good player,” Patterson said.

Turpin’s 39-yard scoring run was the first rushing touchdown of his career. He has nine receiving scores and two punt return touchdowns. Read More