QB Kenny Hill, running game push TCU into title races

Kenny Hill throws a pass against Jackson State

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Quarterback Kenny Hill and TCU’s offense struggled at the end of last season, looking nothing like the juggernaut that had turned the Horned Frogs into a Big 12 power in recent years.

The old TCU is back. The 16th-ranked Horned Frogs used Hill’s efficient effort and a balanced attack to knock off No. 6 Oklahoma State 44-31 on Saturday. TCU rushed for 238 yards and passed for 228 against the sixth-ranked Cowboys to put its mark on the conference and national championship races.

Hill has been outstanding, if unspectacular. Against Oklahoma State, he completed 22 of 33 passes for 228 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. He has completed 73 percent of his passes this season and has thrown nine touchdown passes and just three interceptions. His passer rating is 162.2, up from 129.2 last season.

“I feel good,” Hill said. “Confidence in the offense and confident in what we are doing and the understanding of it all and what it takes off the field, too. I feel good, especially after a game like this.”

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Last November, the Horned Frogs were held to six points in a loss to Oklahoma State and six points in a loss to Kansas State. This season, the Horned Frogs are rolling. A week after gaining 619 yards in a 56-36 win over SMU, TCU’s offense controlled the game against Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said Hill played a key role in Saturday’s result.

“I was impressed with him,” Spencer said. “During the week, I had mentioned that Hill was playing with a lot of confidence, and I thought I was right in saying that. He has kind of gelled in their system a little bit.”

Darius Anderson has emerged as a star at running back. He ran for 89 yards against yards and two touchdowns against SMU, and then ran for 160 yards and three scores against Oklahoma State, including a 42-yard touchdown bolt in the fourth quarter that put the Horned Frogs in control for good.

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“For only being a sophomore, he’s really giving us what we need,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “If you want to win championships, you’ve got to throw it, but you’ve got to run the football — especially when you go on the road.”

Baylor almost completely ruined the weekend for football fans in the Sooner State, but third-ranked Oklahoma did just enough to gut out a 49-41 win over the winless Bears.

“Yeah, I think it was a good reality check for us,” Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “We say it all the time around here: all gas, no brakes. So you can never let your foot off the pedal, especially playing a team like that because they can score in a second. Doesn’t matter their record or anything.”

The Sooners lowered the boom with their running game. Abdul Adams had 11 carries for 164 yards, including a 99-yard touchdown run. Trey Sermon ran 12 times for 148 yards and two touchdowns, all in the fourth quarter. It was a strong running performance from an Oklahoma team that lost running backs Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon to the NFL from last year’s team.

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“The guys we have in the backfield, they’re not slouchy either,” Mayfield said. “They’re special guys. No, not everybody knows who they are and they haven’t had the same amount of reps as Joe and Samaje did, but those guys are talented too. That’s why they’re at the University of Oklahoma.”


Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter at https://twitter.com/CliffBruntAP


AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins in Waco, Texas, contributed to this report.