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Quarterback to Back: A Look at an Improved, More-Efficient Kenny Hill



With the Big 12 season upon us and the 16th-ranked Horned Frogs scheduled to visit this weekend, let’s take a look at each team’s most important player and how the two quarterbacks measure up.

Mason Rudolph has been lighting up the competition at an efficient and historic clip and is fresh off of one of the biggest road blowouts of a Power 5 team by any Cowboy QB. He’s gone from a Heisman long-shot to a top-two Heisman candidate in just three weeks of the season.

Across from Rudolph, Kenny Hill has quietly put together the best start of his career, captaining his team to wins over Jackson State and SMU and a win at Arkansas.

Let’s take a look at the two signal callers through Week 3.

Back to Back Att Comp Pct. Yards Yards/Att TD INT Rating Total QBR
Mason Rudolph 94 68 72.30% 1135 12.1 11 1 210.25 92.7
Kenny Hill 84 63 75.00% 737 8.8 8 2 175.37 87.6

Last week, TCU’s defense struggled to slow down SMU. But Hill had the best statistical game of his career tossing it for 365 yards and four touchdowns while completing 80 percent of his passes. His total QBR of 96.8 was the fourth-best of any FBS quarterback in Week 3.

Hill’s not put up the big numbers you’d expect from a QB whose team is averaging 49 points per game but he’s been more efficient and less inclined to force the issue, a habit that’s hurt Hill throughout his career. In 2016, he threw 13 interceptions to just 17 touchdowns. Through three games last season he had a TD-to-interception rate of 4:3. Today he’s at 8:2.

Mike Gundy has noticed the improvement in the fourth-year QB.

“I think Kenny Hill’s playing with more confidence,” said Gundy. “They’ve always had skill guys. You know, I don’t know all the names. They’ve got 25 and 21 and 6 and there’s another single digit I saw. Two young kids playing that are making a lot of plays. And Hill is playing better. They’re in a lot of empty now. They’re trying to spread people out and let him make quick throws or use his running ability to make plays.

“I just would say that they’re playing with more confidence on offense, in my opinion.”

“He’s a great athlete,” junior linebacker Justin Phillips said of Hill “and I think he has a better team around him as well this year, so he’ll be a pretty good challenge. He can throw the ball and he can run so it makes it a little harder for a defense to scheme against him.”

On Saturday, each quarterback will face his biggest test of the season thus far. How each measures up to his counterpart will go a long ways toward deciding which team stays clean and which team takes a passenger seat in the Big 12 title race.

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