FORT WORTH - A struggle to move the ball and get stops plagued BYU football as it fell to TCU 44-11 at Amon G. Carter Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Horned Frogs (4-3, 2-2 Big 12) capitalized on turnovers and gained yards with ease, never giving BYU (4-2, 1-2 Big 12) a chance to get back into the game.
TCU outgained the Cougars 584 yards to 243, averaging 6.8 yards per play over BYU’s 3.7. The Horned Frogs held the Cougars to just 152 yards passing and 91 yards rushing.
TCU’s quarterback Josh Hoover went 37-of-58, totaling 439 yards passing and four touchdowns along with two interceptions. BYU's Kedon Slovis went 15-of-34 and had one interception.
Freshman running back LJ Martin carried the ball 14 times for 56 yards for the Cougars, while Miles Davis added 47 yards on 10 carries. Chase Roberts and Parker Kingston led all Cougar receivers, with Roberts totaling 63 yards on three hauls and Kingston tallying 49 yards on two catches.
Defensive back Ethan Slade led the Cougars on the defensive side with eight tackles (seven solo). Preston Rex also had eight tackles (five solo). Eddie Heckard and Siale Esera each recorded interceptions.
The Cougars’ first drive ended with a turnover on just the third play from scrimmage. Slovis tossed to his right before being intercepted by lurking Horned Frog safety Millard Bradford, who returned it 35 yards for an early pick-six.
BYU’s next drive ended in a three-and-out. The Horned Frogs continued their early momentum with a touchdown drive lasting less than two minutes, capped with a 42-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Hoover to wide receiver JP Richardson to go up 14-0 with 10:09 remaining in the opening quarter.
After another Cougar punt, the defense held up on the next set of downs as Crew Walkey stopped a short yardage completion on 3rd and 1.
Later, TCU marched 47 yards to the Cougar 12-yard line before an incompletion on 4th and 1 gave the Cougars the ball deep in their own territory late in the quarter. The offense stalled, being held to another punt as the first quarter clock expired.
With TCU taking over in plus territory, the defense held up after Isaiah Bagnah batted down a 3rd down pass attempt. The Horned Frogs then knocked through a 40-yard field goal, going up 17-0 with 13:15 remaining in the half.
Later, with the Horned Frogs threatening near red-zone territory, Heckard extended high with his right hand to haul in an interception and the Cougars’ first forced turnover of the day. The Weber State transfer returned the ball 17 yards as BYU set up shop at the 25-yard line with newfound momentum.
TCU countered with its own momentum-shifting play as Slovis was sacked in the pocket while winding up to throw, causing a fumble and recovered by the Horned Frog defense on the BYU 42-yard line. Hoover later threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to go up 24-0 with 8:09 to go in the half.
BYU responded with its first scoring drive of the game, taking up 4:54 on 10 plays for 84 yards. The effort was kept alive with a 4th and 5, 39-yard short pass completion to Roberts near midfield who left would-be tacklers in his wake while zipping down the left sideline. An end-around touchdown handoff to Keelan Marion for three yards cut the deficit to 24-6 before Slovis connected with an open Roberts again for a two-point conversion to make it 24-8 with 3:15 left in the half.
TCU then drove 81 yards in two and a half minutes to take a 31-8 lead into the locker room.
TCU scored on its first drive to begin the second half as Hoover rushed for 26 yards, passed for 21 yards twice and capped it with a 14-yard touchdown sling to receiver Warren Thompson as TCU went up 38-8.
Slovis completed his longest pass of the day to Kingston, connecting with the freshman for 42 yards to set up a 46-yard field goal by Will Ferrin as the deficit was trimmed to 38-11 with 10:29 remaining in the third quarter.
Six catches by the Horned Frogs put TCU into position for a 35-yard field goal to make it 41-11 with 6:43 remaining in the quarter.
Martin and Davis combined to rush for 50 yards into red zone territory before a quarterback sneak on 4th and 1 was stopped short on the TCU 15-yard line with BYU recording a turnover on downs.
Siale Esera’s first career interception gave BYU possession as the Cougars moved the chains down the field before the drive was stopped short on another turnover on downs.
TCU’s next drive lasted just over two minutes before a 47-yard field goal to go up 44-11 with 6:18 remaining would be the final score of the game.
BYU returns to Provo next week for its homecoming game against Texas Tech at 5 p.m. MDT on Oct. 21. Watch the Cougars and Red Raiders battle on FS1 or listen live on BYU Radio SiriusXM/BYU Radio App/KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.