Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan (15) passes against Michigan Wolverines defensive lineman Kris Jenkins (94) in the second quarter of the 2022 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

No. 3 TCU holds off No. 2 Michigan to earn championship spot

TCU’s defense returned two interceptions for touchdowns and quarterback Max Duggan accounted for four touchdowns Saturday as the third-ranked Horned Frogs outgunned No. 2 Michigan 51-45 in the College Football Playoff semifinals in Glendale, Ariz.

Both teams are 13-1, but it’s TCU that will move on to the championship game on Jan. 9 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles against either No. 1 Georgia or No. 4 Ohio State. The Horned Frogs gave up 527 yards and 39 second half points, but came up with the necessary plays to move on.

The Wolverines had a chance to win the game when they got the ball back on their 25 with 52 seconds left, but couldn’t gain a first down. TCU survived a targeting review on Michigan’s fourth-down play that was stopped at the line of scrimmage.

Duggan wasn’t as efficient as usual, but still completed 14 of 29 passes for 225 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed for two touchdowns and backup running back Emari Demercado rushed for 150 yards, the most anyone’s gained on the Wolverines this year, on 17 attempts.

J.J. McCarthy was 20 of 34 for 343 yards and two touchdowns for Michigan, but the two pick-sixes he tossed ultimately made the difference.

A 200-1 shot to reach this point, TCU showed it belonged from the start, establishing a 21-6 halftime lead. It led 14-0 after a quarter as Bud Clark returned an interception 41 yards and Duggan capped a 76-yard drive with a 1-yard run.

It became 21-3 when Duggan found Taye Barber for a 6-yard touchdown pass, finishing an 83-yard march. But Michigan gained momentum going into halftime when Jake Moody boomed a 59-yard field goal as time expired.

The Wolverines found rhythm offensively in a 24-point third quarter, although McCarthy mixed in his second pick-six of the game when Dee Winters lugged it back 29 yards for a 34-16 advantage. But Michigan closed within 41-30 with three seconds left in the period on a 1-yard run by Kalel Mullings and a 2-point conversion.

–Field Level Media

Nov 26, 2022; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; ]TCU Horned Frogs safety Millard Bradford (28) celebrates his 36-yard interception returned for a touchdown against the Iowa State Cyclones during the first half at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Max Duggan’s 3 TD passes help No. 4 TCU blow out Iowa St.

Max Duggan threw for 224 yards and three touchdowns as No. 4 TCU walloped visiting Iowa State 62-14 on Saturday afternoon in the regular-season finale for both teams in Fort Worth, Texas.

Millard Bradford and Josh Newton returned interceptions for scores for TCU.

The Horned Frogs (12-0, 9-0 Big 12), just one of three undefeated teams in the FBS, will play either No. 12 Kansas State or No. 23 Texas in the Big 12 Championship game on Dec. 3 in Arlington, Texas. If it wins that game, TCU will be in the College Football Playoff.

Kendre Miller ran for 72 yards and two scores for the Horned Frogs, who won going away despite the absence of star receiver Quentin Johnston (ankle).

Hunter Dekkers passed for just 106 yards, with a TD and an interception for Iowa State (4-8, 1-8) before being forced from the game by an injury to his non-throwing shoulder early in the third quarter. Eli Sanders had 91 yards on seven carries.

The Cyclones will miss a bowl game for the first time since 2016.

Duggan hit Geor’Quarius Spivey on a 19-yard touchdown pass on the game’s opening possession before Griffin Kell kicked a 36-yard field goal to give the Horned Frogs a 10-0 lead with 4:54 to play in the opening quarter.

Miller ran 25 yards for a TD with 2:15 to play in the first quarter. On the ensuing snap Bradford intercepted Dekkers and returned the pick 36 yards to expand the Horned Frogs’ lead to 24-0.

Iowa State’s lone first-half highlight was Dekkers’ 15-yard TD pass DeShawn Hanika at the 13:16 mark of the second quarter.

The Horned Frogs finished off the half with a season-best 54-yard field goal by Kell and Miller’s 1-yard scoring plunge — the latter just 14 seconds before halftime — to take a 34-7 lead.

Duggan added scoring passes, 2 yards to Savion Williams and 13 yards to Jordan Hudson, respectively, over a span of 4:25 in the third quarter.

Later in quarter Newton snatched a tipped pass from Iowa State backup quarterback Rocco Becht and returned it 57 yards for the Horned Frogs’ second pick-six of the game.

Deon Silas ran 19 yards early in the fourth quarter for the Cyclones’ other score.

TCU backup quarterback Chandler Morris connected with Hudson for his second TD of the game with 1:18 to play.

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; Waco, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnston (1) catches a pass for a first down against the Baylor Bears as cornerback Mark Milton (3) defends during the first quarter at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

No. 4 TCU rallies for last-second win over Baylor

Behind an inspired effort from Max Duggan and a last-second field goal by Griffin Kell, No. 4 TCU kept its College Football Playoff hopes alive with a dramatic 29-28 comeback win Saturday against host Baylor in Waco, Texas.

Duggan passed for 327 yards and a touchdown and led the Horned Frogs (11-0) with 50 rushing yards and a score.

Kendre Miller and Emari Demercado also ran for touchdowns for TCU. Taye Barber caught five passes for 108 yards and Gunnar Henderson had a touchdown reception for the Frogs.

Craig Williams rushed 19 times for 112 yards for Baylor (6-5), which finished with 232 yards on the ground. Blake Shapen passed for 269 yards and a touchdown.

Monaray Baldwin had six receptions for 123 yards for the Bears. Kelsey Johnson added rushing and receiving TDs.

Baylor kicked off the scoring when tailback Qualan Jones found paydirt from 10 yards out on the game’s opening drive. The 11-play scoring march was aided by a fourth-and-1 run by Dillon Doyle.

TCU tied the game on its second possession on a Duggan 7-yard touchdown run. A 39-yard pass from Duggan to Quentin Johnston, which put the Horned Frogs in Baylor territory following a missed field goal, sparked the scoring drive.

The Bears took a 14-7 lead early in the second quarter when Johnson scored on a 2-yard run. But TCU responded with a five-play, 90-yard drive, which was capped by Miller’s 2-yard touchdown scamper.

Baylor threatened to take the lead before halftime, but Shapen was intercepted by Bud Clark in the end zone, which kept the game gridlocked at 14.

The Horned Frogs took a 20-14 lead with less than six minutes to go in the third quarter when Duggan hooked up with Henderson for a 26-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was no good

Johnson’s 12-yard touchdown grab and John Mayers’ extra point gave the Bears a 21-20 lead early in the fourth quarter.

Reese’s 1-yard scoring plunge with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game put Baylor up 28-20. The score was set up by Baldwin’s 74-yard reception on third-and-11.

TCU cut the lead to 28-26 on Demercado’s 3-yard run with 2:07 to play, but the two-point conversion failed.

After a three-and-out by Baylor, Kell’s winning field goal capped a nine-play, 45-yard drive.

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2022; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs running back Emari Demercado (3) runs past Texas Tech Red Raiders linebacker Tyrique Matthews (32) during the first half of a game at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Big fourth quarter rallies No. 7 TCU past Texas Tech

Kendre Miller ran for 158 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries to help host TCU remain unbeaten with a 34-24 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon at Fort Worth, Texas.

The Horned Frogs (9-0, 6-0 Big 12), who were No. 7 in the first College Football Playoff rankings, trailed 17-13 heading into the fourth quarter before erupting for three touchdowns.

TCU coach Sonny Dykes joined Francis Schmidt (in 1929) for the all-time mark of nine consecutive wins to start a coaching tenure at the school.

Frogs quarterback and Maxwell Award semifinalist Max Duggan struggled early but found his rhythm in the final period. Duggan completed 12 of 23 passes for 195 yards and threw both of his touchdown passes in the fourth quarter.

The first went for 23 yards to Derius Davis, who finished with three catches for 36 yards and also opened the game’s scoring by returning a punt 82 yards for a touchdown.

The second touchdown toss was a 16-yarder to Emari Demarcado out of the backfield.

Miller had given TCU the lead with 13:25 left in the fourth quarter on a 2-yard touchdown run.

The Red Raiders (4-5, 2-4) lost for the fourth time in five games.

Texas Tech had to switch quarterbacks on Saturday after starter Behren Morton suffered an injury on a run during the second quarter. Morton completed 7 of 10 passes for 79 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions before he was helped off the field by teammates and limped to the locker room.

Tyler Shough entered in relief of Morton and put the Red Raiders ahead 17-13 with 8:38 to go in the third quarter on a 33-yard touchdown pass to J.J. Sparkman.

But TCU’s defense stopped Texas Tech on consecutive drives and then Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson intercepted Shough with 5:02 to play, effectively putting the game out of reach.

Shough ran for a 3-yard touchdown with 1:46 left, but Texas Tech’s onside kick was recovered by the Horned Frogs. Shough completed 9 of 22 passes for 78 yards.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2022; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnston (1) is tackled by  Oklahoma State Cowboys safety Jason Taylor II (25) during the first half at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

Kendre Miller, No. 13 TCU down No. 8 Oklahoma State in 2OT thriller

Kendre Miller scored on a 2-yard touchdown run in double overtime to give No. 13 TCU a 43-40 win over No. 8 Oklahoma State on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas.

Miller rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, and Max Duggan went 23-for-40 passing for 286 yards and two touchdowns for TCU (6-0, 3-0 Big 12).

Spencer Sanders completed 16 of 36 passes for 245 yards, a touchdown and an interception for Oklahoma State (5-1, 2-1).

On the first possession of overtime, Duggan hit Quentin Johnston for a 25-yard touchdown pass that gave TCU a 37-30 lead.

Oklahoma State answered, tying the game at 37-37 on a 1-yard touchdown run by Dominic Richardson, which came after Sanders hit Brayden Johnson for a 23-yard gain on fourth-and-9.

The Cowboys took a 40-37 lead on the first possession of the second overtime on a 52-yard field goal by Tanner Brown.

Trailing 30-16 in the fourth quarter, TCU closed to within 30-23 on a 3-yard touchdown run by Miller with 9:22 remaining in the game.

TCU later drove 94 yards in eight plays and tied the game at 30-30 with 1:57 remaining on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Duggan to Jared Wiley.

Oklahoma State got off to a terrific start, taking a 14-0 lead following touchdown runs of 29 and 8 yards by Sanders in the first quarter.

TCU answered, cutting Oklahoma State’s lead to 14-7 with 1:40 remaining in the first quarter on a 1-yard touchdown run by Duggan.

Following a 35-yard field by Brown with 13:32 left in the second quarter that gave Oklahoma State a 17-7 lead, the Cowboys went up 24-7 with 10:04 remaining in the second on a 22-yard touchdown pass from Sanders to John Paul Richardson.

The Horned Frogs made it 24-13 at halftime after consecutive field goals by Griffin Kell.

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2022; College Park, Maryland, USA;  Maryland Terrapins head coach Mike Locksley reacts during the second half against the Southern Methodist Mustangs at Capital One Field at Maryland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Max Duggan, Kendre Miller pace TCU past SMU

Max Duggan threw for 278 yards with three touchdowns to lead TCU to a 42-34 victory over SMU on Saturday afternoon at Dallas.

The game between the Dallas-Fort Worth schools featured the return of former SMU coach Sonny Dykes, who now holds the same position at TCU.

Kendre Miller added 142 yards on 17 carries with a touchdown for TCU (3-0).

Emari Demercado rushed for two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, including a 63-yard run with 2:31 remaining that put TCU ahead 42-27.

SMU responded with a quick scoring possession of 1:27 that covered 75 yards, finishing with Jake Bailey’s 35-yard reception from Tanner Mordecai.

TCU successfully recovered the ensuing onside kick.

The Horned Frogs were forced to punt with 42 seconds left after SMU burned two timeouts. During the punt, an SMU defender tried to leap over a blocker, which is a violation. TCU maintained possession and ran out the clock.

Tanner Mordecai completed 27 of 49 passes for 372 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Mustangs.

Bailey had eight receptions for 163 yards and Tre Siggers rushed for three touchdowns and 60 yards.

SMU (2-2) came within a touchdown twice in the second half, first cutting the lead to 28-21 after successfully converting a fourth-and-10 attempt at the TCU 46 with a 45-yard completion from Mordecai to Bailey.

That play set up Siggers’ 1-yard scoring run with 3:33 remaining in the third quarter. The play completed a 98-yard possession that took 10 plays.

TCU took a 35-21 lead on Demercado’s 1-yard scoring run with 8:14 remaining.

Siggers again scored on SMU’s next possession on a 2-yard run.

TCU set the tone early, scoring a touchdown in four of its first five possessions, starting with the game’s opening drive going 74 yards in only five plays.

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2022; Boulder, Colorado, USA; TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan (15) dives with the ball in the fourth quarter against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Max Duggan back at QB as TCU hosts Tarleton State

TCU and Tarleton are two schools separated by just 78 miles of west Texas prairieland but will square off for the first time Saturday when they battle in Fort Worth, Texas.

Both teams come off impressive season-opening wins, with the Horned Frogs employing a punishing run game to beat Colorado 38-13 on the road while Tarleton easily handled Mississippi Valley State 29-13 at home.

TCU’s win in Boulder marked Sonny Dykes’ coaching debut for the Horned Frogs. TCU got a 60-yard punt return touchdown from Derius Davis early in the second quarter and scored 27 consecutive points in the second half to run away from Colorado.

The Horned Frogs racked up 275 rushing yards, averaging 9.2 yards a carry.

“We really committed to running the ball in the second half, made a couple of adjustments on what we were doing, and guys did a great job making plays,” Dykes said. “You know, we showed some grit and perseverance. It was good for us to not have everything go our way early on.”

Not all was rosy for TCU, which lost starting quarterback Chandler Morris to a sprained left knee. The highly touted transfer from Oklahoma had edged three-year returning starter Max Duggan for the starting spot in preseason camp but is out for this week’s home opener and will be considered week-to-week after that.

Duggan has started 29 games for TCU and came on to lead two fourth-quarter scoring drives, completing 2 of 3 passes for 27 yards.

Tarleton, which moved up from Division II last year and plays in the Western Athletic Conference, will be playing its first-ever game against an FBS opponent. The Texans are led by Beau Allen, a transfer from Kentucky.

In the 16-point victory over Mississippi Valley State, Allen hit Jaden Smith — a Fort Worth native who formerly played at Montana State – with three scoring tosses. Allen passed for 300 yards, 126 of them going to Gabe Douglas, and Deangelo Rosemond ran for 107 yards on 13 carries for the Texans.

“We played without a turnover, and we had just three penalties, so really pleased with that,” Tarleton coach Todd Whitten said. “We could have made more big plays — we missed some opportunities to take some really good shots and we weren’t able to pull the trigger. All in all very pleased with our guys.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 20, 2021; Norman, Oklahoma, USA;  Iowa State Cyclones running back Breece Hall (28) warms up before the game against the Oklahoma Sooners at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

TCU aims for bowl trip in dustup at Iowa State

TCU will look to become bowl eligible when it squares off against bowl-bound Iowa State on Friday afternoon in their Big 12 Conference finale in Ames, Iowa.

And while the Cyclones will play in the postseason no matter what happens on Friday, the game with TCU is a chance for Iowa State’s accomplished senior class to win one more time in front of the home crowd.

The Horned Frogs (5-6, 3-5 Big 12) travel to Iowa after a nail-biting 31-28 home win over Kansas on Nov. 20. Griffin Kell’s 25-yard field goal with six seconds to play produced the win for the Horned Frogs, their second victory in their three games under interim coach Jerry Kill.

“Proud of the kids,” Kill said. “They know and understand that we’re not going to be here. There’s a new coaching staff coming in. They’re still playing hard. The coaches are coaching hard.”

Kendre Miller rushed for 112 yards that included a 56-yard TD run. Miller eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the third time in his last six contests as TCU ran for 326 yards in the game. Max Duggan passed for 166 yards for the Horned Frogs and Derius Davis caught six passes for 103 yards and ran 43 yards for a touchdown for the Horned Frogs.

Iowa State (6-5, 4-4) heads home after a 28-21 loss at No. 13 Oklahoma on Nov. 20. The Cyclones have dropped two straight games after shellacking Texas 30-7 on Nov. 1 and have lost three of their past four contests.

“A little bit of precision and detail at points in the game probably cost us the football game, but not our heart, not our character and not our leadership,” Cyclones coach Matt Campbell said. “I’m a proud football coach because of that.”

It is the final home game for the Cyclones’ 23 seniors, including record-breaking running back Breece Hall and quarterback Brock Purdy. Hall has scored a rushing touchdown in 23 straight games, tying an FBS record set by Arkansas’ Bill Burnett from 1968-70; Purdy owns or shares 31 school records.

Iowa State owns a 10-game home winning streak against league teams and can finish off a perfect home record versus Big 12 teams for the second straight season.

Before the season, the Cyclones were considered a real candidate to play for the Big 12 title. Instead, they will be trying to avoid a .500 season.

TCU has an 8-4 lead all-time in the rivalry with the Cyclones, including a 3-2 edge in games played in Ames.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas, USA;  TCU Horned Frogs safety T.J. Carter (7) tackles Baylor Bears tight end Ben Sims (86) during the first half at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

TCU upends No. 12 Baylor in first game without Gary Patterson

Two defensive-minded teams produced an offensive showdown Saturday, but it was TCU’s defense that came up with a huge takeaway with just over a minute remaining to preserve a 30-28 upset over visiting No. 12 Baylor.

Saturday’s game marked the first time since 2000 that the Horned Frogs played without defensive guru Gary Patterson on the sideline after he and the school mutually agreed to part ways.

With the Bears driving for a possible game-winning field-goal attempt or touchdown, TCU’s Shadrach Banks intercepted Gerry Bohanon’s pass to seal a victory and end the Horned Frogs’ three-game losing streak.

Baylor (7-2, 4-2 Big 12) got the ball back with 2:01 to go and the chance to win after TCU’s Griffin Kell clanged a 34-yard field goal attempt off the left upright. The Bears, whose coach Dave Aranda is regarded as a defensive mastermind, moved quickly into Horned Frogs’ territory when Bohanon zipped a pass to tight end Ben Sims for 32 yards.

Banks jumped a route three plays later to swipe the pass at the 28-yard-line.

That held up the upset for TCU (4-5, 2-4), which got a huge performance from redshirt freshman quarterback Chandler Morris. Stepping in for Max Duggan, the son of former Arkansas coach Chad Morris was spectacular with 461 passing yards and two touchdown passes, along with 70 yards and a score on the ground.

The Bears were more balanced: Bohanon passed for 214 yards and three touchdowns, while Abram Smith ran for 125 yards.

But two turnovers stung Baylor, especially the late giveaway when the win seemed within grasp.

The teams went back and forth the entire game, with neither scoring more than seven points in a quarter.

Kell helped the Horned Frogs take a 16-14 lead at halftime with three second-quarter field goals (30, 46 and 24 yards) and had made 11 in a row until Baylor blocked an attempt in the third quarter.

Morris zipped a 5-yard touchdown pass to Dominic DiNunzio for a 23-14 lead and TCU never gave that lead back.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan (15) throws before the game against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas State confident heading into meeting with TCU

Kansas State will oppose TCU on Saturday in Manhattan, Kan., with a renewed positive attitude. The Horned Frogs don’t have that option.

The Wildcats (4-3, 1-3 Big 12) came from 14 points down in the second half to defeat Texas Tech 25-24 last week in Lubbock, Texas. The Wildcats outscored the Red Raiders 15-0 in the second half.

TCU, meanwhile, fell for the fourth time in the past five games after a promising start to the season. The Horned Frogs (3-4, 1-3) lost at home to West Virginia 29-17, getting outscored 16-3 in the final two-plus quarters.

Kansas State coach Chris Klieman said the road win impacted his players.

“We found a way to win a game that for a while didn’t look like we were going to pull it out,” he said. “That’s got to give the guys confidence. The energy is good. It’s always better after a win.”

The Wildcats’ defense was exceptional in the second half, led by Felix Anudike-Uzomah, who dropped running back SaRodorick Thompson for a safety early in the third quarter. That play not only fired up the defense, but it had the same effect on the offense, which responded with two long scoring drives.

Still, Klieman emphasized that last week’s win doesn’t impact this week’s game.

“There are different matchups,” he said. “There’s such parity in this league. You have to be ready to play every week. We look at TCU. We’ve played them tight the last couple of years, but we’ve found a way to come away with victories.”

Each week quarterback Skylar Thompson gets healthier improves the Wildcats’ chances, but Klieman said the team needs to be able to run the ball as well.

“We have to be able to rush the football, even though we didn’t have great success last week,” he said. “We have to find ways to complement us throwing the football.”

TCU coach Gary Patterson was pretty blunt when assessing his team’s struggles.

“Play hard,” he said. “You can’t turn the ball over. You need to manage the game and defensively make stops in order (to win).”

West Virginia outgained the Frogs 487-393 in total yards, including a 229-149 advantage on the ground. That’s something Kansas State will try to take advantage of.

Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan was 16 of 26 for 244 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions against the Mountaineers. The two picks were returned for a combined 75 yards. He will need to keep the turnovers to a minimum against a fired-up Kansas State defense.

The TCU players don’t sound as if they are giving up.

“We need to keep fighting,” wide receiver Taye Barber said. “Everybody takes an L sometimes. You have to keep fighting no matter what to win.”

–Field Level Media