TCU Wants More Out of Kerley

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Frank Heinz, NBCDFW.com

    TCU is looking for ways to make dynamic kick returner Jeremy Kerley a bigger part of the offense.

    "He's such an explosive player. We draw things up to get him the ball, and put him in position where he can go make a play," quarterback Andy Dalton said. "That's one of the things we talked about, and we were able to do it,"

    Kerley matched his career high with six catches and had his first two-touchdown receiving game in the fourth-ranked Horned Frogs' 45-10 victory over former Southwest Conference rival Baylor on Saturday. He also had four rushes for 49 yards and his 45-yard punt return set up a 25-yard TD drive for TCU (3-0).

    "I'm just trying to show people that I am more than a punt returner, more than a kick returner," said Kerley, who returned two punts for TDs last season after TCU hadn't had any since 2002. "I just want people to see me as an all-around football player."

    After Kerley caught only one pass and his lone carry was a 5-yard TD run in TCU's romp over FCS team Tennessee Tech the previous week, coach Gary Patterson wanted to make sure to get Kerley more involved on offense against Baylor and set a tone for the rest of the season.

    "He's just a competitor. You just want the ball in his hands," Patterson said. "Sometimes you want him throwing the ball and catching it at the same time. ... Coming out of the last game, I wasn't happy with that."

    On the opening drive against Baylor (2-1), Kerley was streaking wide open in the middle of the field for a 28-yard TD catch.

    "I didn't want to throw it and miss it," Dalton said, with a smile.

    That was the first of five touchdowns on their first five drives as the Frogs built a 35-3 lead in the second quarter en route to their 16th consecutive victory at home. Kerley had a 9-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter for the last score.

    TCU stayed fourth in the new AP poll Sunday, still trailing Alabama, Ohio State and Boise State.

    The Frogs have won 17 of their last 18 games overall, the only loss in that span being to fellow BCS buster Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl last January. Going back to late in the 2007 season, they have won 29 of 32 with the other losses being to eighth-ranked Oklahoma and No. 13 Utah.

    Baylor, meanwhile, missed a chance for only its second 3-0 start since 1996 -- the first season of the Big 12 -- and still hasn't had a winning season since the Southwest Conference disbanded and their annual rivalry with TCU in that league ended.

    "Fans out here are saying it's the same old Baylor. They're going to eat those words," Bears quarterback Robert Griffin said. "The game was not about them. This game was about us. We didn't come out and execute. ... We're all embarrassed. None of us wanted to come out here and have a showcase like this."

    The Bears, who were outgained 558 yards to 263, play their final nonconference game Saturday at Rice.

    TCU plays Friday night at SMU, another former SWC rival. The Frogs have won nine of the last 10 Iron Skillet games against SMU -- the lone loss in that span was 2005, a week after their season-opening upset at Oklahoma and their only loss that season.

    "We've just got to prepare for a bigger rivalry coming up with SMU," Kerley said.

    While TCU and SMU have continued to play regularly since the end of the Southwest Conference, the Frogs and Bears met for only the third time in 15 years with another game scheduled on the Baylor campus for the 2011 opener. TCU has won the three game by a combined score of 89-17.

    "The thing that bothers me is we didn't challenge them much. We never got in a situation to where we could put pressure on them," third-year Baylor coach Art Briles said. "You can't panic and you can't feel sorry for yourself."