Analysts say early game key for Hogs and Frogs

By: Tom Murphy
Published: Friday, August 25, 2017
Brad Nessler, left, lead play-by-play announcer, and Gary Danielson, lead analyst, pose for a photo in New York on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. Nessler is the new voice of the SEC on CBS, taking over for Verne Lundquist, who had become an adored institution on Saturday afternoons in the fall. Nessler will be working with longtime analyst Danielson. (John Paul Filo/CBS via AP)
Brad Nessler, left, lead play-by-play announcer, and Gary Danielson, lead analyst, pose for a photo in New York on Tuesday, Aug. 1, 2017. Nessler is the new voice of the SEC on CBS, taking over for Verne Lundquist, who had become an adored institution on Saturday afternoons in the fall. Nessler will be working with longtime analyst Danielson. (John Paul Filo/CBS via AP)

FAYETTEVILLE -- CBS will open its 22nd season of covering SEC with its broadcast of the TCU-Arkansas game from Reynolds Razorback Stadium on Sept. 9, and the men who will call and comment on the game believe it is pivotal for the Hogs and Frogs.

"TCU might be one of the most improved teams that we have in the country coming back, so that will be a big game for Arkansas," said Gary Danielson, who teamed with Verne Lundquist for 11 seasons on CBS's lead broadcast team.

Danielson and Brad Nessler, who worked together on Arkansas' 28-24 loss at Missouri last season, will be CBS' new lead pairing, along with sideline reporter Allie LaForce, following Lundquist's departure.

Nessler said Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen's work with a virtually new group of receivers is going to be a key element of the game against TCU.

"A couple [of receivers] are still there, but not the sure-handed guys he had a year ago," Nessler said. "That offensive passing game of theirs against the secondary of TCU that week, that's going to be the matchup of the game right there.

"Having lost the guys they've lost, the receivers they lost last year is not going to help them at all. Austin Allen had some big-time guys to go to."

CBS studio analyst Rick Neuheisel, who joined Danielson and Nessler on a teleconference Thursday, called TCU Coach Gary Patterson "one of the best" coaches in college football.

"They know what his expectations are," Neuheisel said. "He cut his teeth on the defensive side of the ball and I know he was amazingly disappointed in how they played defense a year ago. But when he's agitated is when he's the most dangerous."

Arkansas outlasted No. 15 TCU 41-38 in double overtime last Sept. 10 in one of the wackiest games of the season.

TCU trailed Arkansas 20-6 early in the fourth quarter with the Razorbacks facing a first and goal from the Horned Frogs' 2. The TCU defense stiffened and forced a 22-yard field-goal attempt, which Cole Hedlund missed.

The Horned Frogs rallied for three consecutive touchdowns to take a 28-20 lead with 2:05 remaining.

Allen led a 58-yard touchdown drive, aided by TCU quarterback Kenny Hill's unsportsmanlike conduct penalty, throwing a 16-yard touchdown pass to Keon Hatcher, then catching the tying 2-point conversion from Hatcher with 1:03 to play. Arkansas' Dan Skipper blocked a 28-yard field-goal try by Ryan Graf with 10 seconds left in regulation.

After the teams swapped touchdowns in the first overtime, TCU kicked a field goal to open the second overtime, Allen then scored on a 5-yard keeper over the right side to win the game.

The Horned Frogs went on to post a 6-6 record in the regular season, then lost 31-23 to Georgia in the Liberty Bowl.

Patterson's TCU teams have gone 6-6 or worse four times during his 16-year tenure, and the Horned Frogs bounced back to post 10 or more victories the following season each time, including a 12-1 finish in 2014 after a 4-8 record the year before.

"I think they're going to put together a pretty darned-good looking team, especially early in the season before any injuries or attrition hit," Neuheisel said.

Danielson said TCU offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie will have to exercise discipline to help the Horned Frogs rebound.

SEC on CBS

CBS Sports will open its 22nd season of broadcasting the SEC game of the week TCU at Arkansas. The announced slate of games for CBS this season. All times Central:

DATE;GAME;TIME

Sept. 9;TCU at Arkansas;2:30 p.m.

Sept. 16:Tennessee at Florida; 2:30 p.m.

Oct. 28;Georgia vs. Florida@;2:30 p.m.

Nov. 4;SEC doubleheader;2:30 p.m./7 p.m.

Nov. 11;SEC doubleheader;11 a.m./2:30 p.m.

Nov. 18;SEC doubleheader;11 a.m./2:30 p.m.

Nov. 24;Missouri at Arkansas;1:30 p.m.

Dec. 2;SEC Championship Game#;3 p.m.

@ Jacksonville, Fla.

Atlanta

"He's got a little bit of a flighty quarterback in Kenny Hill, who sometimes is really hot and sometimes you watch him play and say, 'Is he a guy we can depend on week in and week out, quarter in and quarter out?' " Danielson said. "If Sonny uses a little more balance in that run game, I think Kenny Hill will be better."

Discussion

Have a comment on this story? Join the discussion or start a new one on the Forums.