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Minnesota gets outpaced by TCU's new up-tempo offense, loses 30-7

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FORT WORTH, Texas — To emphasize the difficulty of playing against TCU's speed, Minnesota coach Jerry Kill banged on the podium seven times in rapid succession.

"They're athletic, fast, and they'll be as tough as anybody we play," Kill said. The Horned Frogs needed more than 2 minutes on only one of six scoring drives in Saturday's 30-7 victory over the Golden Gophers.

TCU snapped the ball about every 15 seconds and gained 427 yards on 73 plays. Defensively, the Frogs' closing speed turned what looked like 5-yard gains into 2 or 3 yards.

"I'd like to say we didn't play very well," Kill said. "I don't think that's true."

Josh Doctson had two first-half touchdown receptions and TCU's defense smothered Minnesota's run-oriented attack. TCU (2-0) forced five turnovers and held Minnesota (2-1) to 99 yards rushing — 134 below its average.

"I expected them to be fast from the beginning," Gophers linebacker Damien Wilson said. "They came out, and they didn't disappoint. I think the first half we came out a little flat."

TCU held David Cobb, who practiced sparingly during the week because of a sprained ankle, to 41 yards on 15 carries. Cobb, from Killeen, Texas, averaged 145.5 yards rushing in Minnesota's previous two victories.

"He did some good things, but he wasn't full speed," Kill said. "Probably shouldn't have played him, to be honest with you."

The Gophers' lone score came on a 12-yard pass from freshman Chris Streveler to Maxx Williams with 10:56 to play.

Minnesota's starting quarterback, Mitch Leidner, left the game early in the fourth quarter following a hard tackle. Leidner was 12 of 26 for 151 yards and three interceptions and also lost a fumble.

Leidner had just returned after leaving last week's Gophers win over Middle Tennessee State with a sprained ligament in his left knee.

PHOTO: TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin (2) passes the ball as Minnesota defensive lineman Hendrick Ekpe (95) is blocked  during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin (2) passes the ball as Minnesota defensive lineman Hendrick Ekpe (95) is blocked during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

Kill said Leidner's knee "probably didn't help any, but I don't want to take anything away from TCU."

"We've got to do a better job of protecting him."

TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin was 27 of 46 for 258 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed 12 times for 92 yards.

TCU scored on its first two possessions and was never seriously threatened the rest of the way. After Doctson's first touchdown catch, the Frogs followed Minnesota's second consecutive three-and-out with the first of Jaden Oberkrom's three field goals, from 46 yards.

The Frogs' opening scoring drive of 18 yards was set up by a 46-yard punt return by Cameron Echols-Luper.

Midway through the first quarter, TCU had outgained Minnesota in total yardage 50 to minus-1. The Gophers finished the first quarter with minus-1 yard rushing.

Two of Minnesota's three first-half turnovers were turned into TCU touchdowns. Cobb lost a fumble on the first play after Boykin was intercepted by Briean Boddy-Calhoun at the Gophers 39.

TCU converted that into a 1-yard touchdown run by B.J. Catalon for a 24-0 lead with 9:01 to play in the half.

Minnesota had opened each of its previous two seasons with four consecutive non-conference wins. The Gophers will host San Jose State next Saturday before entering Big Ten Conference play.

Kill and TCU coach Gary Patterson are long-time friends. Kill served in Patterson's wedding party 10 years ago. The home-and-home series will resume when TCU visits Minneapolis next September in the season opener for both schools.

"He's done a hell of a job here," Kill said of Patterson, who has taken TCU to 12 bowls in 14 seasons, including a win over Wisconsin in the 2011 Rose Bowl. "He's a great head coach, and he's one of the best defensive minds in all of football."

Patterson said he told Kill afterward that he loved him.

"He's a real good man," Patterson said.

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