TCU came in as an over 50-point favorite against Arkansas Pine Bluff in Fort Worth on Saturday, but this game was surprisingly close into the third quarter.
The Horned Frog defense was dominant from whistle to whistle, shutting out the Golden Lions for the entire second. They repeatedly gave the offense good field position, twice setting up the Horned Frogs inside the UAPB 40-yard line. TCU’s offense had sporadic success, however, and kicked three field goals to be up 16-0 at halftime.
The story of the first half continued into the second, and the Golden Lions’ first touchdown late in the 3rd quarter pulled the game back within two possessions at 22-7. That seemed to galvanize some TCU offense, as the Horned Frogs scored 17 unanswered to end the game.
Key Plays Of The Game
0:59 1st [TCU 3rd & Goal at UAPB 1] – It was big for the Horned Frogs to get their first touchdown on a play when it looked like they might settle for three points again. Max Duggan’s second effort got him the one yard rushing TD.
3:36 2nd [UAPB 4th & 6 at TCU 36] – With Arkansas-Pine Bluff driving to try and make it a one score game late in the half, Trevon Moehrig intercepted a Shannon Patrick pass at the six yard line to regain the momentum.
4:21 3rd [UAPB 4th & 3 at UAPB 37] – This was a muffed punt by Jalen Reagor that the Golden Lions recovered at the TCU 37. Two plays later, Arkansas-Pine Bluff punched it in for their only score of the night. TCU actually had multiple muffed punts on the night, but this one ended up hurting the Horned Frogs.
0:07 3rd [TCU 2nd & 1 UAPB 37] – TCU was driving into Golden Lions territory and looking to regain a three-score lead. Duggan hit Jalen Reagor with a 37-yard strike into the endzone. It was one of the best offensive plays of the night for the Horned Frogs, putting them up 29-7.
Key Stats Of The Game
114 Yards Passing – The pass defense for the Horned Frogs was the star of the night, keeping UAPB quarterback Shannon Patrick in check all night.
2 Fumbles Lost- The Horned Frogs looked sloppy in every phase of the game except defense. Dropped balls prevented TCU from getting any offensive momentum throughout the day.
36 Total Carries – This in itself is not a special stat, until you realize that those carries were spread out amongst players like running backs Darwin Barlow and Emari Demarcado. Five players rushed the ball at least five times.
6 Field Goals – The Horned Frog kickers were a perfect six-for-six on the day, accounting for almost half of TCU’s 39 points that they put up in Fort Worth.
Players Of The Game
Travonte Hights [8 Rec for 108 yards] – Despite fumbling early in the game, Hights became TCU’s leading receiver on the day. The senior looked like he’s ready to step into a role as a solid number two wide receiver.
Jonathan Song [5-5 FGs 2 XPM] – Song accounted for more points than any other Horned Frog in the home opener. In spite of any concern about TCU’s kicking game, Song was in peak form.
Garrett Wallow [13 TOT, 8 SOLO, 1 SK, 3.5 TFL] – Wallow is emerging as the best individual player on this defense. He was all over the field against the Golden Lions, and is emerging as one in a line of great TCU linebackers.
Ochaun Mathis [ 7 TOT, 3 SOLO, 2.5 TFL ] – Mathis steps in this season to replace key pieces off the edges of TCU’s defensive line, and he was constantly making plays against UAPB. The level of competition he faces will only grow as conference play nears, but Mathis is one to look out for.
This didn’t look like a 10 win team. The offseason was full of discussion about how Gary Patterson’s teams seem to always bounce back after mediocre performances. If TCU is going to really make a run in the Big 12, they’ll have a lot of progress to make. The Horned Frogs don’t lack talent, but the offense seemed disorganized and lackadaisical at times.
Jalen Reagor will want this one back. TCU’s best overall athlete struggled with fielding punts, and just did not have the kind of game you’d expect from the star of a Big 12 offense. Don’t expect that to be a trend, but Reagor did not come out of the gate strong in this one.
Don’t worry about the defense. This game was never in doubt due in large part to the play of the Horned Frogs on the defensive side of the ball. They held the Golden Lions to 4-of-17 on third down, and kept UAPB out of the redzone all day.