Last week in Fort Worth, the Horned Frogs got the offense rolling against Kansas and were looking to build on the momentum as they traveled to Ames for their first Big 12 road test. Unfortunately, TCU just never got started in this game, and the defense could only hold the Cyclones back for so long.
In the first half, the offense tallied 90 total yards. Twenty-three of those yards came on one run that set up the Horned Frog’s only score of the first half; a 37-yard field goal to make it 7-3. That however, was as close as TCU would get after Iowa State added another pair of touchdowns to the scoreboard before the half.
The defense struggled to stop Brock Purdy and the Cyclone offense. Iowa State put together three long touchdown drives that defined the game. One of those drives went for 81 yards. The other two went for 75 yards, each. The TCU defense just couldn’t get Iowa State off the field when it mattered. Iowa State converted four of their 9 third downs.
Quarterback Brock Purdy completed 19 of his 24 pass attempts and threw for 247 yards and ran for an additional 102 yards and accounted for four total touchdowns. For a Horned Frog team that is built around its defense, they had no answer for the Cyclone signal-caller.
The bright spot for TCU was the play of freshman quarterback Max Duggan. It took him a bit to get going, but he put together a solid performance and built on the promise he showed last week against Kansas. Duggan completed 17 of his 25 passes for 219 yards and a couple of touchdowns.
The Frogs have their second bye week up next, and they can use the rest before facing a physical Kansas State team in Manhattan.
Things to Work On
Get the offense rolling early – Duggan settled down in the 3rd quarter and lead the TCU offense to three straight touchdown drives. However, at that point, it was too little too late. Duggan has had some bright spots over the last few games and has shown he has the talent to run the offense. If the Horned Frogs can get him to complete some quick passes early and get his confidence up, he has the ability to put up points and take some pressure off the defense.
Win the turnover battle – In TCUs two losses this year, they are -2 in turnover margin. With a young quarterback, it is essential for the defense to steal a few possessions, especially in conference play. Duggan will also need to work on his decision making and ball control to take the next step forward as a starter in the Big 12.
The bye week comes at a good time – TCU is 1-1 in conference play and they need a win in Manhattan. Duggan has shown improvement and Gary Patterson will have two weeks to game plan against the K-State. TCU is about to head into their toughest stretch of the season, and cannot afford to go down 1-2 before facing Texas, Oklahoma State, Baylor, Texas Tech and Oklahoma in as many weeks.
It’s a tough slate, but winnable – If the Horned Frogs can figure out their offense, they have winnable games every other week the remainder of Big 12 play. A step forward during the bye week could see this team winning up to five conference games and landing in a solid bowl game.
On the flip side, continued slow starts on offense and iffy quarterback play could land TCU towards the bottom of the Big 12 and on the outside looking in during bowl season. Patterson usually takes care of business during the bye week and it will be even more important this season.