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Ground Frogs beat Hogs at their own game

By: Wally Hall
Published: Sunday, September 10, 2017
TCU running back Darius Anderson runs past Arkansas linebacker Randy Ramsey during a game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Fayetteville.
Photo by J.T. Wampler
TCU running back Darius Anderson runs past Arkansas linebacker Randy Ramsey during a game Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, in Fayetteville.

FAYETTEVILLE -- It was a gorgeous day for football if you were a TCU Horned Frog, but not for a Hog.

The Frogs rolled into Fayetteville for the first time since 1988 with their 21st century uptempo offense and dominated the Razorbacks with old-fashioned ball control.

When the Hogs fumbled their last hope with 2:11 to play, the Frogs had been on offense 33:08 and ran 71 plays to 54 for the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville.

Another way to look at that was the Razorbacks defense had been on the field way too long.

Five times, from early in the second quarter until midway in the fourth quarter, Arkansas had the ball trailing 14-7.

Each time the Hogs gave it back to the Horned Frogs, who finally put the game away with a 7-play, 55-yard drive that consumed 4:29, ending with a 14-yard run by Darius Anderson.

Moments after Anderson's touchdown, TCU needed one play after recovering an Arkansas fumble on the kickoff to go 13 yards, and what had been a relatively close game became a 28-7 victory.

TCU was simply better, offensively and defensively.

The Frogs -- who start 17 players from Texas, one of the nation's recruiting hotbeds -- lined up and tested the Hogs every way possible. They also won the most important battle, the one in the trenches.

They pushed the Hogs' defensive line off the ball, and their offensive line opened holes for 196 yards on the ground.

The Hogs received the opening kickoff and went three and out so fast the Arkansas band wasn't even in its seats.

TCU, which converted 10 of 14 third downs, scored on its first possession, going 45 yards in eight plays.

Arkansas did come back to tie it when Austin Allen fake-pitched right, rolled left and found Jonathan Nance for a 49-yard touchdown. Nance wasn't caught by the officials, but he made a throat slashing gesture like TCU's Kenny Hill did last year. That penalty may have cost the Horned Frogs the game as Arkansas used a short field to tie the score and send it to overtime.

The Frogs endured costly penalties Saturday, 6 for 60 yards, but the Hogs couldn't get them off the field on third down, then struggled themselves on offense converting 4 of 14 third-down attempts and 1 of 2 fourth-down tries, the last a game-ending sack of Allen.

TCU drove 80 yards in 15 plays using 7:17 of the clock while converting two third downs for the go-ahead touchdown.

The Horned Frogs' usually high-octane offense, which sometimes seems to run on jet fuel, rushed 12 times for 61 yards on the drive.

They would never trail again.

If there is a concern for TCU fans, it appeared the Frogs played not to lose until Arkansas' defense finally gave out late in the fourth quarter.

Anderson, who finished with 106 yards rushing, went the final 27 yards on two runs to put TCU up 21-7 with 2:18 left.

Mostly, the Frogs clicked and the Hogs didn't.

At times the Razorbacks wide receivers didn't seem to be on the same page with Allen, who would throw one place while they ran to another. And a couple of times, they stopped running for no apparent reason.

The Frogs sacked Allen three times and registered six tackles for losses as the Razorbacks seemed to sputter on more drives than not.

Allen, who faced defensive pressure most of the afternoon, completed 9 of 23 passes and only five of those went to wide receivers.

Arkansas had a couple of extra days to prepare for Saturday's game, and now they get an extra week to get ready to take on Texas A&M in Arlington, Texas.

They need the extra time: Saturday showed they have work to do on both sides of the ball.


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