CFB Preview: No. 15 TCU-Arkansas

Seeing 59 points on the scoreboard in the opener continued a recent TCU trend of racking up the touchdowns.

But the 41 points allowed were still bothering Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson this week.

No. 15 TCU hosts Arkansas at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth at 7 p.m. ET Saturday, and the residue of the shaky defensive showing in which the Horned Frogs allowed 461 yards to South Dakota State in their opener has Patterson deeply concerned.

“When you do that, you're not going to give your kids a very good chance of being successful,” Patterson said. “Hopefully, we'll do a lot better job as a coaching staff of getting them put in position against Arkansas.

“If not, they'll have 1,000 yards and 1,000 points. We've got to do a lot better job this week.”

The Razorbacks rallied for a 21-20 victory over Louisiana Tech in their opener with quarterback Austin Allen engineering a 77-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter to overcome a 20-14 deficit. He capped the march with a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jeremy Sprinkle.

“We found a way to win,” Hogs coach Bret Bielema said. “That builds a lot of confidence.”

Allen was 20 of 29 passing for 191 yards with two touchdown passes, but he also was intercepted twice and was sacked four times. Wide receiver Keon Hatcher had six catches for 86 yards and wide receiver Drew Morgan five for 47 to account for over half the production. Sprinkle's touchdown reception was his third catch of the day.

Running back Rawleigh Williams III led the Razorbacks' rushing attack with 96 yards on 24 carries. The Hogs had a net team total of 106 rushing yards with the sacks accounting for 26 yards in lost yardage.

“We felt really good about certain guys,” Bielema said. “Our MVPs offensively, two guys really jumped out — Rawleigh Williams and Keon Hatcher. Keon supplied some juice, especially in that second half. Some of those plays with extra effort continue to be impressive.

“Rawleigh was really impressive the whole game. I probably could have called on him a little bit more.”

Keeping Williams in check has to be a concern what with the Horned Frogs experiencing an abundance of poor tackling in their first game. Patterson took the blame for the woes on defense.

“We didn't tackle very well. As we get a lot of times, we got a different game plan than what we worked on,” Patterson said. “To be honest with you, I did a poor job of getting them ready to play. We didn't tackle very well, and schematically we didn't do a very good job of lining up.”

TCU senior defensive tackle Aaron Curry cited communication issues as a big problem in the first half against South Dakota State so there are plenty of things to shore up.

“It was the first game so everyone was probably too hyped up and worrying about the wrong things,” said Curry, “but as the game kept going everyone calmed down.”

One area where there was no problem was at quarterback, where Texas A&M transfer Kenny Hill made his TCU debut. He passed for 439 yards, seventh-most in TCU history, while accounting for five touchdowns.

“I thought for a first ballgame, he managed it,” Patterson said. “We understand Arkansas is a lot more talented as a defense, a lot more athletic, a lot more physical one than the one we just played. We know we have to get a lot better at what we're doing to be able to play like we need to.

Hill did throw two interceptions, but quickly moved on from his miscues.

“It's a year-and-a-half worth of hard work and just prayers that are all coming to fruition now,” Hill said. “So it's a big deal for me.”

Patterson agrees that the work looks to pay off for the junior.

“No. 1, he's really studied,” the coach said. “He's been a professional about it ever since he's been here, he's been a great student, he's done everything right. Every week, he keeps becoming a better and better leader.

“Our kids just rally around him. That's what you're looking for with a quarterback.”