- TCU emerged from Saturday as the new leader in the chaotic Big 12 race, with quarterback Kenny Hill playing the hero in a key win over West Virginia.
Kenny Hill is not a perfect quarterback—we all knew this midway through the 2014 season, as the glow faded from a stellar September that left him consumed by Heisman hype and national attention after powering Texas A&M to a 5–0 start. Last fall, after transferring to TCU and struggling in his first season as the starter, Hill was facing an uphill battle to convince anyone he was merely good.
On Saturday, he was the deserving hero for the only unbeaten team in the Big 12 through six weeks, recording a passing, rushing and receiving touchdown as TCU outlasted West Virginia 31–24. Coupled with Oklahoma’s loss to Iowa State earlier in the day, the Horned Frogs sit alone atop the conference and have to be pleased with their standing in the very, very early stages of the College Football Playoff race.
For a half, TCU and West Virginia were locked in a defensive struggle, as Hill and Mountaineers quarterback Will Grier struggled to put together complete drives. But after Grier threw an interception on West Virginia’s second possession of the third quarter, Hill laid a perfect ball over the shoulder of receiver Jaelen Raegor on the next play for a 45-yard touchdown to give TCU a 14-point lead.
West Virginia roared back with consecutive touchdown drives, at which point the Horned Frogs got tricky. Hill handed the ball off to KaVontae Turpin, caught a throwback screen and used a spin move and a few timely downfield blocks to rumble for a 48-yard touchdown catch-and-run.
Then, with the score tied again midway through the fourth quarter, Hill engineered a 13-play, 65-yard drive that ate almost seven minutes of clock. With less than three minutes to go, he kept it himself from three yards out, broke three tackles and broke the plane of the goal line for the game-winning touchdown.
On a day when Iowa State beat Baker Mayfield and No. 3 Oklahoma with a converted linebacker and an inexperienced journeyman throwing passes, it became clear that you don’t need a perfect quarterback to navigate the chaos of the Big 12, just a quarterback with perfect timing.