A 37-27 win over No. 15 Texas injected life into a struggling TCU football team who look to keep the momentum going into Oklahoma State this week.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson loved every bit of it: the growth he saw in quarterback Max Duggan, the four times his defense picked off Sam Ehlinger and the ability to share the win with the thousands of fans who rushed the field.
On the other hand, Patterson’s biggest takeaway from the win over Texas wasn’t what one might expect—one win doesn’t define you.
“You can’t treat them [Texas] any different, or you’ll lose four more ball games,” Patterson said. “Anytime, no matter if it’s Texas or anybody else, you make a game bigger than life, then what you’re saying is you didn’t believe you could win the ball game.”
So instead of resting on their laurels from last Saturday, TCU is focused on their next opponent—the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
The Cowboys enter the contest in a similar position to the Frogs. Despite losing two of their last three games, Oklahoma State played one of its best games of the season last Saturday, picking off Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy three times and defeating the 23rd-ranked Cyclones 34-27.
OSU’s biggest bright spot this season has undoubtedly been running back Chuba Hubbard. The redshirt sophomore leads the nation with 1,381 yards on the ground with 16 rushing touchdowns ranking, second in the nation. Against Kansas State, Hubbard exploded for 296 yards and a touchdown, leading Oklahoma State to a 26-13 victory.
“If we want to win, we’re going to have to contain him,” Patterson said. “He’s a track guy that plays football. He has a really good burst.”
Patterson noted that containing Hubbard will need to be a team effort, stemming from the linebacking core. Alongside Garrett Wallow (8th nationally with 43 solo tackles), the Frogs are hoping to see La’Kendrick Van Zandt, who missed the Texas game with an injury, to start at linebacker.
Hubbard is not alone though. Wide receiver Tylan Wallace, a preseason Biletnikoff Award watch list member, presents a dominant threat to TCU’s secondary. Wallace leads the Big 12 with 903 receiving yards, averaging 112.9 yards per game
“He’s a really good player,” Patterson said. “Oklahoma State always has good wide receivers: not just him, but they have a couple of guys.”
Wallace was named the Draft Network’s Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week after catching eight passes for 131 yards and a score against Iowa State. On the defensive side was TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney, who recorded eight tackles and three pass breakups against Texas.
Look for an intense matchup between the two this weekend, as Gladney aims to take Wallace out of OSU’s offensive scheme.
If Gladney is successful in stopping Wallace, Oklahoma State might struggle in the passing game. Cowboys signal-caller and redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders has thrown just five touchdowns this season when not targeting Wallace. Wallace leads the conference with 10 interceptions and has lost five fumbles on the year.
Coming off of a four-interception effort against Ehlinger, the TCU secondary will look to do the same against Sanders, preventing him from gaining confidence and momentum.
Speaking of freshman, first-year quarterback Max Duggan was named Big 12 Newcomer of the Week after producing 345 total yards and three touchdowns against the Longhorns.
“He’s going to keep growing up,” Patterson said. “We’ve seen signs of what I think he’s going to be like for TCU for the next three years.”
Duggan has shown growth in his ability to read situations and hit receivers on the deep ball. He is tied for first among starting quarterbacks in the Big 12 with just one interception thrown.
Most importantly, with his game-clinching touchdown run last weekend, Duggan showed that he knows what it takes to win.
“The thing I like about it that you can’t teach, you can’t judge is just how much of a leadership, don’t-lose-at-all-costs I think he has,” Patterson said.
Part of Duggan’s recent success has come from his trust in receiver Jalen Reagor. After having just 117 receiving yards and a touchdowns in the first four games, Reagor has totaled 209 receiving yards and three touchdowns in the last three games alone.
If TCU is going to keep rolling, it’s going to come from continued reliance on a stout defense and Duggan getting the job done. If they can do those things, a win against the Cowboys and newfound life on the season are surely in sight.
Kickoff from Stillwater is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.