FORT WORTH, Texas — Shawn Robinson is in a much different position for No. 16 TCU this season. He will remain the No. 1 quarterback as long as he is producing on the field.
The dual-threat sophomore, who won his only start last year filling in for an injured senior, is now 2-0.
Robinson threw touchdowns to three different receivers and ran for two more scores while playing only the first half as No. 16 TCU opened the season with a 55-7 win over Southern University on Saturday.
"It's just different because you're the guy," said Robinson, who at Texas Tech last November in place of Kenny Hill became the first true freshman starting quarterback under coach Gary Patterson. "Last year, it just happened out of nowhere. I hadn't (started) in a long time."
Robinson led the Horned Frogs to scores on their first six drives to take a 38-7 lead before fellow sophomore Michael Collins, a former transfer from Penn, took over after halftime.
Patterson declared Robinson the starter two weeks before the opener, but said the competition in the spring and preseason camp was closer than people thought.
"I thought he did good, I thought both of them were good," Patterson said.
Derius Davis caught a 12-yard TD from Robinson and the true freshman later returned a punt 73 yards for a score as the Frogs won their 17th consecutive home opener as Patterson started his 18th full season.
"We did what we needed to do," Patterson said, a statement he would repeat several more times in his postgame news conference.
TCU got a field goal on its opening drive before Robinson, who completed 17 of 24 passes for 182 yards, accounted for touchdowns on the next five drives. He scored on his only two rushing plays from 36 and 9 yards.
"He practiced real well all week," Patterson said. "A younger Shawn would have ran a couple of times, but he stayed in the pocket and threw the ball down the field."
Collins was 3 of 5 passing with a 57-yard TD to TreVontae Hights.
Robinson also threw TD passes to Taye Barber (6 yards), another true freshman, and Jalen Reagor (12 yards). The quarterback worked extensively with offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie all offseason on staying in the pocket.
"I drifted a lot in the pocket," Robinson said. "Just trusting the O-line on it. They give me all day to throw, so I've just got to sit in there and deliver the ball."
Southern: The overwhelmed Jaguars became the first SWAC team to score against TCU — Jackson State lost 63-0 in last season's opener in Fort Worth, and Grambling State lost 56-0 there in 2012. But they were already down 31-0 in the second quarter before first-time starting quarterback John Lampley found Cameron Mackey wide open for a 55-yard TD pass.
"We still lost, so it doesn't make a difference," Mackey said about being the first SWAC team to score against the Frogs.
TCU: Patterson had called the revamped offensive line the biggest surprise of preseason practice after the loss of four seniors from last season. The front guys didn't allow a sack while the Frogs ran for 235 yards. The defense held an opponent to seven points or less for the seventh time in a span of 15 games since the start of 2017.
SCORE AND A MUFF
When Davis scored on his first career punt return, some on the sideline started giving Patterson a hard time. They should have waited. "One out of every two punts he fumbles in practice," Patterson said. "I said not so fast there."
In the fourth quarter, Davis dropped a punt, though TCU recovered the fumble.
SOUTHERN SIGNAL CALLER
Lampley didn't play in the second half, but coach Dawson Odums said it was precautionary after a hit to the head. "He doesn't have a concussion, he was cleared to play," Odums said. "When you get to the point it's 41-7 and winning is out the window, you have to be smart with your team."
Lampley was 5 of 14 for 101 yards with the TD and two interceptions.
"It's hard to make throws when they're in your lap," Odums said.
The expected lopsided victory by TCU will do little to sway voters. Any movement by the Frogs in the next poll will be determined more by the outcome of games for other similarly ranked teams.
Southern: A road game only about 10 minutes from campus at Louisiana Tech next Saturday night.
TCU: At former SWC rival SMU on Friday night.