After losing two of their first three conference games, TCU football defeated No. 15 Texas 37-27 on homecoming weekend.
“Every time you get a win, it’s unbelievable,” linebacker Garrett Wallow said. “It’s a good win for this program, and it’s a good win for us to build off of and just keep working upon.”
Sam Ehlinger, who had only thrown three interceptions before today, threw four against the Frogs. Three of the turnovers off the preseason Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year turned into points.
The fourth pick came in the final seconds to seal the deal.
“It felt amazing,” safety Tre Moehrig said. “We just all came out and played fast and tried to do our job, do our thing and came up with the four turnovers.”
TCU had not produced a turnover in any conference games prior to the contest.
Ehlinger finished 22-for-48 with 321 yards, two touchdowns and the four interceptions.
On three different occasions, the Frogs forced the Longhorns to settle for a field goal after having a first down in the red zone.
On the other side, quarterback Max Duggan caught fire for TCU in his fifth-consecutive start. The first-year signal caller finished 19-for-27 with 273 yards and two touchdowns and one interception.
“I knew he could do it. Everybody knew he could do it,” Moehrig said about Duggan’s breakout game. “It just came with time.”
Things did not start well for Duggan, though. After going 143 pass attempts to start the season without throwing an interception, the first-year signal caller missed receiver Jalen Reagor short, and the pass was picked off by Texas cornerback Brandon Jones.
Just five plays later, linebacker Garrett Wallow read Ehlinger’s pass perfectly, intercepted it and brought it to the Longhorn 20-yard line.
“One thing I said at the beginning of the season is I just want to do anything I can to help this team win,” Wallow said. “I’m just focused on going out there and playing my heart out for everybody.”
The pick was the first of Wallow’s career. He also added nine tackles in the game.
TCU was unable to reach the endzone after the pick, but a 33-yard field goal by kicker Jonathon Song tied the game at 3 with 3:43 left in the first quarter.
Duggan would respond the next time the Frogs had the ball, leading TCU on a nine-play, 63-yard touchdown drive capped with a 24-yard dime from Duggan to tight end Pro Wells to give TCU an early lead.
The catch was just the eighth of the season for Wells, but a team-high four of those have been for touchdowns.
Texas would respond almost immediately with a 47-yard touchdown pass from Ehlinger to receiver Devin Duvernay to tie the game at 10.
Near the end of the first half, Texas would re-take the lead on what has been one of TCU’s achilles heels all year—a wheel route. The 17-yard pass from Ehlinger to Ingram put Texas up 17-10 with just 1:11 left to go in the half.
TCU went into the locker room just down three points after kicker Griffin Kell nailed a 52-yard field goal attempt at the buzzer, breaking his previous career-high of 35 yards.
Near the end of the third quarter, the Frogs would explode offensively, scoring twice in just over three minutes. The first was a one-yard rush from Sewo Olonilua, which was instigated by a 51-yard pass to receiver Taye Barber to the Texas 4-yard line.
Barber would finish with a team-high 94 yards on the day in just his fourth game played this season.
“I told them, ‘If you want to be on the field, then make some plays,’ and some guys did that today,” Patterson said.
Moments later, safety Ar’Darius Washington picked off Ehlinger for the second time on the day, followed by a 44-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Reagor on the next play to give TCU their first lead since the second quarter.
On the last play of the third quarter, Moehrig snagged his third pick of the season and TCU’s third of the game as he was falling out of bounds.
Though Texas put together a 12-play, 4:38 drive to come within three late in the fourth, the Frogs followed with a 4:51 drive of their own, capped off by an 11-yard touchdown run by Duggan to put the nails in the coffin.
Duggan finished as the game’s leading rusher with 13 carries for 72 yards. He is averaging 74 yards per game on the ground in the last three contests.
Entering the game, Duggan had completed 56 percent of his passes on the year. Against Texas, however, he completed 70 percent.
“It’s just one ‘W,’ now we have to go on,” Patterson said.
TCU will to looking to keep rolling on the road next as they play Oklahoma State on Saturday, Nov. 2. Kickoff in Stillwater is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.