The Horned Frogs came into their contest against No. 15 Texas on Saturday needing desperately to avoid a three game skid in their 2019 campaign, and they didn’t disappoint. TCU ended up making plays on both sides of the ball, stepping up to take firm control of a close game in the second half of the game against Texas.
This victory marked the fifth time in six meetings that TCU has beaten Texas by more than one possession, but this one was close early. True freshman Max Duggan threw his first interception of the season while trying throw the ball down field into Texas territory. The turnover could have very well lead to a Longhorns touchdown, but the Horned Frogs stepped up on defense five plays later when Garrett Wallow picked off Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger.
The turnover led to a field goal to bring it to 3-3 going into the second quarter, and mistakes by the Horned Frogs could have put TCU into a big hole going into the halftime. The TCU defense was able to get enough stops, and Duggan made enough plays to keep them in the game. The Horned Frogs trailed 17-13 at half.
The second half saw TCU stepping up to make plays on both sides of the ball. Texas was shut down by the TCU defense, and Duggan completed passes of 51, 44, and 36 yards that contributed to a 24-10 final two quarters for the Horned Frogs. That made the final score 37-27 in favor of the Horned Frogs.
TCU had a fine day running the ball, but the real story was Duggan’s 10.1 yards per pass attempt. Big plays through the air allowed the Horned Frogs to stretch the field on Texas and get big scores. This win was a big one for the Horned Frogs, who are at 2-2 in Big 12 play and 4-3 overall. If the offense can continue to put on this kind of show, TCU will be able finish 2019 on a high note.
Key Plays Of The Game
12:18 2nd [3rd & 17 TEX 24] – This was one of many times that the Horned Frogs came up with big plays on third and long. Driving into Texas territory, the Horned Frogs were able to get the first lead of the game with Duggan’s touchdown pass to Pro Wells, announcing that TCU was going to be in this one from the start.
4:25 3rd [3rd & 7 TEX 28] – After having responded with a tying touchdown, the Horned Frogs were looking to make a stop and continue to take the momentum with Texas deep in their own territory. Ehlinger dropped back on third and long, and a pass meant for Jake Smith was snatched out of the air by safety Ar’Darius Washington. The pick would lead to a Horned Frog score on the following play, and gave TCU a lead they never relinquished.
2:15 4th [1st &10 TEX 11] – Midway through the fourth quarter, Texas was beginning to mount a comeback and had just cut into the Horned Frogs’ lead 30-27. With Duggan at the helm, TCU was able to drive it 65 yards down deep into the red zone. Duggan followed up his deep shot to Taye Barber by keeping it on the zone read and running off tackle for TCU touchdown. The score was a dagger that sealed the game for the Horned Frogs.
Key Stats Of The Game
4 interceptions – The Horned Frogs picked off Ehlinger four times total throughout this game. Three of them put TCU in good field position and led to 13 points, meaning that – when you consider the final margin of victory – the pass defense for the Frogs arguably won them the day.
100.0 percent on field goals – Jonathan Song and Griffin Kell were true assets for the Horned Frogs on Saturday, coming up with three field goals when TCU needed them. One of those field goals, a 52 yarder by Kell right before halftime, ensured that TCU would never trail by more than a touchdown for the rest of the game.
45.8 percent passing – TCU held the Longhorns to their lowest completion percentage on the season, stymieing what had been one of the better air attacks in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs secondary was in the face of the Texas receivers all day, sending a message that they were going to have to work for any receptions they had.
TCU Players Of The Game
- QB Max Duggan – 19/27, 273 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT, 13 carries, 72 yards, 1 TD
- WR Taye Barber – 5 receptions, 94 yards
- RB Sewo Olonilua – 16 rushes, 48 yards, 1 TD
A Run Is Possible With This Duggan – If the TCU quarterback can show up like this against teams on the rest of the schedule, the Horned Frogs can finish off 2019 on a optimistic note. The defense will have to continue to do its part in order to put the offense in position to do what it did against the Longhorns, but after this weekend suddenly a positive end to this season seems possible.
Special Teams Has To Get Better – Once again this week, TCU had a gaff on special teams when Jalen Reagor fumbled the kickoff after a Texas touchdown. Ultimately, the Longhorns were unable to get any points off the turnover, but mistakes like that have and still possibly could continue to hurt the Horned Frogs moving forward.
This Is A Good Defense – Despite giving up 40 points twice this season, TCU has continued to lead the Big 12 in multiple defensive categories. On Saturday, the Horned Frogs came up big in the categories where it mattered most, the point department. TCU held Texas to 10 points under their season average at home. If that is a performance that they can build upon, they’ll have a chance in most games they play from here on out.