By Samuel Curry
This is the second part of The Daily’s three-part preview series on the TCU Horned Frogs, who play Stanford in the Valero Alamo Bowl on Dec. 28 in San Antonio, TX. This part takes a look at the TCU offense and how it performed this season.
In a league full of explosive offenses and some of the most prolific passers in the nation, the TCU Horned Frogs won games with their defense, and did not stand out offensively. They ranked fifth in the Big 12 in scoring offense and eighth in passing offense.
But these rankings are misleading, as the Horned Frogs have plenty of playmakers and can surely put points on the board. They averaged 33.2 points a game and were only held below 20 points twice this season.
Headlining the TCU attack is senior quarterback Kenny Hill, also known as Kenny “Trill”. Perhaps better known as the hyped successor to Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M, where he threw for 511 yards and three touchdowns in his first start, Hill has made a name for himself at TCU, where he transferred to after the 2014 season.
Hill’s season passing totals are 2,838 yards and 21 touchdowns to just six interceptions. While these stats may not be as eye-popping as his Big 12 counterparts Baker Mayfield and Mason Rudolph’s, Hill’s accuracy did make him stand out, as he completed just over 67 percent of his throws, ranking fifth among FBS quarterbacks.
His favorite targets include senior wide receiver John Diarse, who caught 33 balls for 543 yards and three touchdowns and freshman wideout Jalen Reagor who hauled in 28 passes for 407 yards and seven touchdowns. Hill has a wide range of targets, with six pass catchers over 200 receiving yards on the season.
As for the TCU ground game, they will give the Stanford defense plenty of targets to worry about, as they have four rushers with at least four touchdowns on the season, including Kenny Hill, who possesses a good degree of mobility.
The main workhorses for the Horned Frogs however, are sophomore running back Darius Anderson and senior back Kyle Hicks. Anderson racked up 768 yards this season to the tune of six yards per carry and eight touchdowns. Hicks ran for 597 yards and found the endzone four times.
Signature performances for the Horned Frog offense include a 44-21 win over a sixth-ranked Oklahoma State team in which they gained 466 total yards and Darius Anderson ran for 160 yards and three touchdowns. TCU’s best statistical performance came against Southern Methodist, in which they notched 56 points and Kenny Hill completed 24 of his 30 throws for 365 yards and four touchdowns. The Horned Frogs racked up 619 total yards of offense in that game.
The Horned Frogs may need a similar kind of performance to outlast the Cardinal, as although they have one of the stoutest defenses in the nation to rely on, a hot K.J. Costello and a healthy Bryce Love await if Kenny Trill & Co. can’t produce.
The Valero Alamo Bowl is set to kickoff in San Antonio at 6 p.m. PT on Thursday night and will be televised by ESPN.
Contact Sam Curry at currys ‘at’ stanford.edu