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TCU Uproots Iowa State with Season Finale

Sports

TCU running back Emari Demercado (3) runs for a big game against Iowa State on Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium. | Image by Bob Booth, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Texas Christian University has been doubted all season, but now that it is over, TCU will almost certainly climb to No.3 in the nation and face Ohio State in the College Football Playoffs Fiesta Bowl – after demolishing the Iowa State Cyclones 62-14. Iowa State never had a chance to get set in the game as TCU opened up scoring on offense and defense to close out the 2022 regular season with a perfect 12-0 record. 

Several TCU players, including quarterback Max Duggan, will enter NFL draft eligibility in the offseason. First, however, they will be at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, when the team faces Kansas State for the Big 12 Championship. 

WHAT TO KNOW

The win cements history for TCU, who last had an undefeated season in 2010 when part of the Mountain West Conference. Victories over several undefeated teams this season showed the grit this team has found under first-year head coach Sonny Dykes who left a successful program at SMU to take over the Horned Frogs job. Both SMU and TCU will appear in the Bowl games this year. 

The loss was the largest points differential that Iowa State has allowed since 2015. The 62 points scored by TCU is the highest this season, surpassing early-season wins that included a 55-24 defeat of then-undefeated Oklahoma and a 59-17 victory over non-conference Tarleton. 

BY THE NUMBERS

Duggan is one of the names in the Heisman Trophy hat and will undoubtedly draw interest from NFL teams. Duggan threw 17-for-24, hitting 10 receivers for 212 yards and three touchdowns. He finishes the season throwing just three interceptions after making no mistakes against Iowa State. Duggan’s last pass was a 13-yard strike to Jordan Hudson, who also caught a touchdown pass from backup Chandler Morris. Morris was initially slated as the starting quarterback for TCU this season, but went down with a knee injury in Week 1. Even after Morris was healthy enough to return, head coach Sonny Dykes decided to roll with Duggan.

The Horned Frogs defense has been a suspect at times this season and, up to Saturday, had not scored a touchdown on a turnover. That changed against Iowa State when starting QB Hunter Dekkers errored and threw an interception to TCU’s Millard Bradford, who returned the pick for six points. In the second half, quarterback Rocco Becht also misfired and was intercepted by Josh Newton for a 57-yard touchdown. 

The offense scored six touchdowns, including two rushing TDs by Kendre Miller. Miller’s first score of the day came on a run in which the back showed off his ability to run through arm tackles and drag defenders into the end zone. Emani Bailey and Emari Demercado also saw time in the backfield, with Bailey collecting 58 yards on 11 carries. Demercado had only 12 yards on six carries but earned his keep on kick returns with a monstrous 62-yard return. 

WHO SAID?

TCU cornerback Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson said: “Coming into every game, we have lot of doubters. We know what type of team we have. We showcased it constantly and we’re an undefeated team.”

TCU quarterback Max Duggan said: “It means we’ve got one more to play for a championship. It’s the next game and I don’t think we’re supposed to make any bigger deal than we need to. … Same mindset.”

UP NEXT

TCU faces Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship at the Fiesta Bowl on December 3 at AT&T Stadium in North Texas. Kickoff is at 11:00 a.m. CT.

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