For the second-straight year, unranked TCU went into their matchup with rival Texas as substantial underdogs.
Similar to last year, the Frogs knocked off the Longhorns, this time 33-31 in Austin in a game that featured 26 penalties between the two teams combined.
“I feel good. It’s exciting to get a win against a really talented Texas team,” quarterback Max Duggan said. “Everyone is really excited, very happy.”
After establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with in 2019 against Texas, Duggan put together another dominant performance on Saturday in his first start of the year. He went 20-for-30 with 231 yards passing and no interceptions to go with 79 yards and two scores on the ground.
Just like last year, Duggan won the game for TCU with his legs. His 26-yard touchdown run with 4:01 remaining gave the Frogs a lead they would not lose. In 2019, the young signal caller had scored a similar touchdown to seal a win for TCU in Fort Worth.
“In that formation, we knew that check would be good for us. We had a call in that formation, I saw an opening,” Duggan said. “We were really excited to score and take that lead.”
Wide receiver Taye Barber said after the game that Duggan made an “Aaron Rodgers play” on the game-winning score, because the Packers’ quarterback is Duggan’s favorite NFL player.
Once TCU took the lead, Texas got all the way down to the Horned Frog one yard line behind a 52-yard catch and a 16-yard run by Longhorn running back Keaontay Ingram. On the next play, though, linebacker Garret Wallow forced a fumble to give the ball back to TCU with 2:32 remaining.
“I wanted to go hug Garret [Wallow], but we had to go back on offense,” wide receiver Taye Barber said. “His IQ is really good — it showed. That was a great play.”
The Frogs gained a first down and then took a safety as time expired to give them their first win of 2020. TCU is now 7-2 against Texas since joining the Big 12, including 4-1 in Austin.
After TCU was called for offsides on the the opening kickoff, Texas ran the second kickoff back to the TCU two yard line. That return was also called back, as penalties by both teams offset and forced a third kickoff.
There were 13 penalties combined called on the two teams in the first quarter alone.
The first half was sloppy on both sides, but especially for Texas. The Longhorns gave up 70 yards on nine called penalties, and quarterback Sam Ehlinger completed just 5 of his 16 passes.
The senior also threw an interception right to TCU safety La’Kendrick Van Zandt that gave the Frogs a field goal right before the end of the half.
Kicker Griffin Kell finished 4-for-4 on field goals for the day.
“If you don’t make all the field goals, you don’t win the ball game,” head coach Gary Patterson said. “[I’m] very proud of him.”
TCU committed eight penalties of their own in the first half, but what they lost on flags, Duggan made up for with more dominant play against the Longhorns.
The sophomore completed 12 of his 19 pass attempts for 144 yards in the first half. He added 52 yards on the ground, including a five-yard score on a perfectly drawn-up play action early in the second quarter.
The Frogs went into locker room at halftime with a 20-14 lead after outgaining the Longhorns 258-163 in yards of total offense.
The second half started a bit rocky for TCU. Their first five drives resulted in two field goals, two punts and a lost fumble after Duggan was decked from his blind side.
The field goals came despite the fact that the Frogs had first downs deep in Longhorn territory.
Texas used the stale spell by TCU to get back in the game, seeming to finally find rhythm on offense early in the fourth. Ehlinger led the Longhorns on a 10-play, 75-yard drive, capped off by a seven-yard touchdown pass to Malcolm Epps to give Texas their first lead of the day.
The Longhorns did not score on offense again, though, as Duggan’s score handed them their first loss of the season.
After being a non-factor against Iowa State, TCU’s running game got going against the Horns. With eight different rushers on the day, TCU gained 226 yards, 146 of them from Duggan and freshman Kendre Miller, and three touchdowns.
TCU finished the game with 109 yards given up on 14 penalties. This was the Frogs’ second-straight game with double-digit penalties (10 last week).
“There were a lot of penalties,” Patterson said. “We really talked about we have to focus on ourselves, quit shooting ourselves in the foot.”
Freshman Quentin Johnston made another strong impact for the Frogs with three catches for 70 yards. The former four-star recruit was committed to Texas until just over a day before signing day.
“We’re going to celebrate it [the win] tonight, but we all know we have to be ready for it [Kansas State] next week,” Barber said.
TCU will look to keep their momentum moving into next week, as they return home to play Kansas State. Kickoff at Amon G. Carter Stadium is set for 3 p.m.