Texas Christian at Arkansas

Sports Xchange

September 06, 2017 at 5:37 pm.

GAME SNAPSHOT
KICKOFF: Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET
SITE: Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville, Arkansas
TV: CBS
SERIES: Arkansas holds a 43-24-2 series edge over TCU. Arkansas won last year’s meeting 31-28 in two overtimes.
RANKINGS: TCU No. 23

PLAYERS TO WATCH
Horned Frogs

–QB Kenny Hill got off to a great start to the season against outmanned Jackson State, completing his first eight pass attempts and going 18-of-23 for 206 yards and four touchdowns in just two and a half quarters of action. Hill’s four touchdown passes were the second-most of his TCU career, trailing only his five versus Oklahoma last season.

–RB Kyle Hicks sat out the Jackson State game with an undisclosed injury but will be ready for Arkansas. Hicks amassed nearly 1,500 total yards and scored 14 touchdowns as a junior last season. He led TCU in rushing with 1,042 yards and was the team’s top receiver with 47 catches, a first for a TCU running back since Basil Mitchell in 1996.

–DE Ty Summers picked up right where he left off last season, racking up four tackles, one of those for a loss, and forcing a fumble against Jackson State. Summers moved from linebacker before spring drills after racking up 121 tackles last year.

–LB Travin Howard is not flashy but he gets the job done, leading the conference with 130 tackles last season, the third highest season total in the Gary Patterson era. A first-team all-Big 12 selection and two-year starter, the senior posted double-digit tackles in eight of 13 games in 2016.

Razorbacks

–RB Chase Hayden a true freshman, was named the SEC Freshman of the Week after his performance in Arkansas’ season opener. He rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown, averaging 8.6 per carry.

–RB David Williams, a graduate transfer from South Carolina, made an impact in his first game for the Razorbacks. Williams ran for two touchdowns and also had a 37-yard reception against Florida A&M.

–WR Jared Cornelius, who has been bothered by a nagging back injury, saw limited playing time against Florida A&M, catching one pass for six yards. Coach Bret Bielema said he expects Cornelius to play more this week.
–LB Grant Morgan, a redshirt freshman, had five tackles against Florida A&M. Morgan, the brother of former Arkansas receiver Drew Morgan, is listed as the Hogs’ No. 2 middle linebacker going into the TCU game.

KEYS
TO THE GAME

After opening with easy victories over lower-tier opponents, both TCU and Arkansas are looking for sterner challenges when they face off Saturday in Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, Fayetteville.

Kickoff time is 3:30 p.m. ET with CBS doing the national telecast.

TCU (1-0) moved into the AP Top 25 after a 63-0 season-opening victory over Jackson State as the Horned Frogs were dominant in every phase.

Senior quarterback Kenny Hill threw four touchdown passes, the defense returned both an interception and a fumble for touchdowns, and the Frogs outgained the Tigers 542-65 in total offense.

All that came without senior running back Kyle Hicks, who sat out the game with an undisclosed injury. Hicks, who is expected to play against Arkansas, was TCU’s leading rusher last season with 1,042 yards and also had a team-high 47 receptions out of the backfield. He scored 14 touchdowns, including two in a 41-38, double-overtime loss to the Razorbacks.

Arkansas will counter with a potent running attack. The Razorbacks ran for 236 yards in a season-opening 49-7 victory over Florida A&M led by 120 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries from true freshman Chase Hayden.

Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema expressed respect for the Frogs and their play on both sides of the ball, noting that TCU coach Gary Patterson “has playmakers on offense.

“Defensively, they play his scheme very well. They’re very smart. They’re very well-coached. My guess is they’re going to win a lot of football games.”

Patterson, who has 150 victories in 16-plus seasons at TCU, said the Horned Frogs view this game as an important one for national recognition.

“We understand that if you want to be a Top 25, Top 10 team, you’ve got to win big games in non-conference, and we consider Arkansas a big game,” Patterson said.

While TCU brings in a dangerous passing attack with Hill at quarterback and a stable of talented receivers — 14 TCU players caught passes in the victory over Jackson State — Bielema’s blueprint at Arkansas, and before that at Wisconsin, has been to control the ball with a powerful running game anchored by a big offensive line. He made it clear that he would like to force TCU into that type of game again.

“I want to make this our type of game, an SEC-type game and an Arkansas game here at home and see what happens,” he said.

Hill had a huge game against Arkansas last season, passing for 377 yards and a touchdown and running for 93 yards and two more scores as the Horned Frogs rallied from a 20-7 deficit in the fourth quarter to take a lead before a late Arkansas touchdown forced the game into overtime. The Razorbacks then pulled out the 31-28 win.

Last week, Hill completed 18 of 23 passes for 206 yards and four touchdowns in about 2 1/2 quarters.

“I think you’ll get more of a feeling this week playing a better defense and going on the road,” Patterson said of Hill. “I have a lot of confidence in the things he can do.”

Bielema said Hill is most dangerous when he moves outside the pocket. The Arkansas coach said the video from TCU’s opener showed Hill’s improvement from last year.

“It looks like he has tremendous presence,” Bielema said, “a better understanding of what the coaches are asking him to do.”

Arkansas senior quarterback Austin Allen was the hero of last season’s victory over TCU. Allen passed for 223 yards and three touchdowns in his second career start, and he scored the winning touchdown on a 5-yard run in the second overtime.

Arkansas kept its passing game mostly under wraps against Florida A&M, as Allen completed 14 of 19 attempts for 135 yards and a touchdown. He threw one interception and was occasionally under pressure.

Keeping Allen upright will be a priority against a TCU defense that had five sacks last week.

“He didn’t take any huge hits, but we definitely don’t want him to be on the ground at all,” Bielema said of Allen. “Any hit that he takes, we don’t want.”