TCU scored touchdowns on its first three possessions of the second half, breaking a halftime tie and going on to hold off South Dakota State, 59-41, in the season opener for both teams Saturday night at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
The two teams combined for more than 1,100 yards of total offense in the contest, starting with a 10-play, 80-yard scoring drive by the 13th-ranked (FBS) Horned Frogs on their first possession of the game.
SDSU, ranked eighth in the STATS FCS media poll and 14th by the coaches, reeled off the next 17 points to take a 10-point lead early in the second quarter. Redshirt freshman kicker Chase Vinatieri opened the Jackrabbit scoring with a 25-yard field goal. After TCU committed a penalty with the ball on the Jackrabbit 1 on the ensuing possession, Makiah Slade intercepted a pass in front of the goal line and Isaac Wallace broke through the Horned Frog defense four plays later for an 87-yard touchdown run.
Jordan Brown jumped a route and recorded the Jackrabbits' second interception of the game moments later and SDSU again turned a miscue into points as Taryn Christion weaved his way through the TCU defense for a 12-yard touchdown run.
The momentum shifted back in TCU's favor on an 81-yard punt return for touchdown by Kevontae Turpin. Horned Frog quarterback Kenny Hill then scored on the first of his three rushing touchdowns in the game with 1 minute, 37 seconds to play in the first half, finding paydirt from 4 yards out after the Jackrabbits committed their only turnover of the game.
The Jackrabbit offense responded with a quick four-play, 63-yard scoring drive that ended with a 31-yard touchdown pass from Christion to Jake Wieneke down the middle of the field.
However, TCU's quick-strike offense came through with a drive in the waning seconds of the first half to tie the game at 24 heading into intermission as Ryan Graf banked his 32-yard field goal attempt off the left upright but through.
The Horned Frogs' offense continued its prowess as TCU took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards on five plays, culminating in a 60-yard catch and run by Jaelan Austin.
SDSU knotted the game for the last time, at 31, countering with an eight-play, 75-yard drive finished off by a 16-yard scoring strike from Christion to tight end Dallas Goedert. Goedert ended the night by tying his career-high with five catches for 96 yards.
Kyle Hicks and Hill scored on respective runs of 3 and 6 yards to push the TCU lead to 45-31 with under three minutes to play in the third quarter, but the Jackrabbits again found the answer by scoring the next 10 points. A 34-yard Christion-to-Wieneke connection on the next-to-last play of the third quarter was followed by a 37-yard Vinatieri field goal three minutes into the fourth quarter.
TCU had the final answer thanks to a fortunate bounce as Taj Williams corralled a batted ball down the left sideline and scored from 46 yards out. Hill, who completed 33-of-49 passes for 439 yards and ran for 45 more, capped the scoring with an 8-yard touchdown run with four minutes to play.
The Horned Frogs ended with a 662 to 461 advantage in total offense. Christion ended the night with a career-high 333 yards on 19-of-30 passing, while Wieneke collected eight receptions for 196 yards. Wallace led the ground game with 112 yards on only seven carries.
Williams gathered in a game-high 11 receptions for 158 yards for TCU.
Junior Anthony Washington, who was making his Jackrabbit debut, led the defensive effort with 11 tackles. Jesse Bobbit added eight. Travin Howard made 10 stops to lead TCU, with Aaron Curry recording 1.5 sacks.