No. 4 TCU football scores early, often in 62-14 win over Iowa State



TCU quarterback Max Duggan (15) passes during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game against Iowa State in Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

By Micah Pearce, Staff Writer

With the College Football Playoff on the horizon, the No. 4 TCU Horned Frogs needed a big win over 4-7 Iowa State. They delivered, defeating the Cyclones 62-14.

With this win, the Frogs improved to 12-0 and finished the regular season undefeated.

The last team in the Big 12 with no losses through the regular season was Texas in 2009. The Longhorns would go on to lose 21-37 in the BCS National Championship against Alabama.

The Cyclones statistically had the best defense in the Big 12 coming into their matchup against the Frogs, giving up an average of just 16.5 points per game this season. However, TCU defied those stats, putting up the most points against Iowa State since Texas Tech scored 66 on the Cyclones in 2016.

It all seems too familiar to 2014.

That was the year TCU was ranked in the top four, but missed the College Football Playoff after beating Iowa State by 52 points.

“I know the history with TCU and Iowa State and big victories,” said head Coach Sonny Dykes. “But I think college football is different, this committee is different and the Big 12 is viewed different.”

TCU set the tone early. The Frogs scored on the first four offensive drives before having to punt. That made it 27-7 two minutes into the second quarter. They also got help from the defense when safety Millard Bradford returned a Hunter Dekkers interception 36 yards for a touchdown.

“It was just instincts to just drop back and watch the quarterback’s eyes,” said Bradford.

TCU safety Millard Bradford runs in an interception for touchdown in front of Iowa State tight end DeShawn Hanika (83) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

The defense ended the game with two touchdowns for interceptions, adding 14 points into that 62-point pool. The Frogs were able to make the most of the opportunities they had on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

“Both sides played to their full potential,” said quarterback Max Duggan. “The defense made a ton of plays and that turned into points and offensively, everyone touched the ball and made plays.”

‘Everyone’ is who touched the ball for TCU’s offense. 11 different Frogs recorded receiving yards. The leader was Savion Williams with 48 yards on 5 receptions.


However, none of those 11 Frogs were Quentin Johnston, the star wide receiver who has been an important part to TCU’s undefeated season.

“We were gonna try to save him if we could,” said Dykes. “We keep needing him to play and he gets banged up, so our thought was let’s try to get him to the championship game if we could.”

Dykes said the ability to be confident in that depth speaks to the preparation and dedication that the players have showed in proper nutrition.

“They have to do things the right way and take care of themselves,” said Dykes. “They bought into that philosophy and understand how important it is.”

The Frogs outpassed the Cyclones 246-171, but the Cyclones owned the running game. They outrushed the Frogs 159-131. The yardage didn’t help the Frogs that much, said Dykes. It was all about their field position.

“Field position was really important this game,” said Dykes. “We had a couple of nice kickoff and punt returns and got some stops defensively.”

Running back Emari Demercado supported the field position cause, filling in for wide receiver Derius Davis. Davis was limited in action against Iowa State to keep him healthy for the Big 12 Championship game.

Corner back Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson said the key to TCU’s success tonight was a full team effort.

“Everyone did their job,” said Hodges-Tomlinson. “It was a good game for us.”

At the end of the first, the Frogs had scored 24 points, matching the amount of points Iowa State had given up all season in the first quarter.

While the play only added seven points, the Cyclones didn’t help themselves at the end of the first half. Iowa State snapped the ball clear over their punter’s head when they were already deep in their own territory.

That put TCU only 21 yards away from the end zone, which it eventually reached, but not before a host of setbacks.

Demercado failed to cross the goal line by inches.

Duggan was able to sneak into the end zone, but it was negated after the referees blew the play dead for a late Iowa State timeout.

The Frogs tried again to get into the end zone, but Duggan’s pass was broken up in the end zone. There was a big reaction from the crowd, wanting a penalty called on the play, but no flags flew.

After another Iowa State timeout, TCU finally got into the end zone via the legs of running back Kendre Miller.

To continue sharing the ball, Duggan was taken out of the game in the fourth quarter, getting some well-deserved rest.

Duggan had taken almost every snap since TCU played SMU. He finished the game against Iowa State with 212 yards and three touchdowns. That put him at 3,070 passing yards on the year and 29 touchdowns.

Redshirt freshman Chandler Morris took over quarterback duties in the fourth quarter. He was originally the starter for the Frogs, but got injured in TCU’s season opener against Colorado.

He completed five out of his six pass attempts and recorded a touchdown, putting the nail in the coffin with one minute left in the game and a 48-point lead.

“[Chandler] Morris has done an outstanding job all season of working hard and being a great teammate,” said Dykes. “It was exciting to see him play well.”

Morris’ touchdown pass was a 2-yarder to wide receiver Jordan Hudson on fourth down. Hudson was targeted twice; both were completed receptions for touchdowns.

Duggan has been introduced in the discussion for the Heisman Trophy. Dykes agrees with the talk.

“Anybody that’s watched us this year knows what he means to our program,” said Dykes. “He certainly is deserving of an opportunity to go to New York.

Former Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III said he’s been on the ‘Duggan for Heisman’ train since last year.

For Duggan, an invite to New York means he’s “playing with a lot of great people and under a great coaching staff.”

“If it would happen, it would show more to those guys than to me,” he said.

What’s next

The Horned Frogs will face Kansas State again in the Big 12 Championship next Saturday, Dec. 3. It will be at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas with an 11 a.m. kickoff.

ESPN’s College GameDay will, once again, be present for a TCU football game this season. It will be the third time the program will attend a Horned Frogs game but the first time it is at a neutral site instead of a campus.

The only time TCU lost when GameDay was present was in 2018. The Frogs, ranked 15th, played No. 4 Ohio State at AT&T Stadium. The same location where the game will be next Saturday. Ohio State won 40-28.