Ok, I know, I know, my article on Monday about the six lowest EPA plays of the 2019 college football season was hard to bear. As an effort to make amends, here are the ten highest EPA plays of the 2019 season. These aren’t necessarily the “best” or “most important” moments of the 2019 season, so let me explain. A high EPA (expected points added play) is a play when TCU’s offense was in a situation where a team isn’t expected to score very often and they either a) scored or b) vastly improved the expectation that they would score, unexpectedly.
So there’s an argument that highest-EPA plays could be the “most fun” or “most exciting”. These are the plays that we should remember most fondly, celebrating Max’s Debut, Taye Barber’s breakout, and the farewell tours of Jalen Reagor, Darius Anderson, and Sewo Olonilua.
The Highest EPA Plays of TCU’s 2019 Season
4th and 9 from the Baylor 24, 2OT:
Max Duggan pass complete to Te’vailance Hunt. Touchdown. EPA: 6.27.
TCU should’ve won the Baylor game on multiple occasions. On this occasion, TCU should’ve lost. After a frustrating offensive drive, it looked like TCU had blown their chance to upset Baylor. It took a Herculean catch from Hunt to steal a touchdown and extend the game.
3rd and 17 from the Texas 24, 12:18 in the 2nd Quarter:
Max Duggan pass complete to Pro Wells. Touchdown. EPA: 5.59
Texas had a terrible secondary, and Sam Ehlinger’s career-high 4 interception day didn’t help Texas at all, but the day was Duggan’s. Here, the Frogs had swelled, but still were only seven points ahead, in danger of giving the Texas back the ball. Duggan connected with one of his favorite targets, Pro Wells, to turn an unlikely conversion to a certain touchdown.
1st and 10 from the TCU 45, vs Texas Tech, 11:42 in the 2nd Quarter:
Max Duggan pass complete to Jalen Reagor. Touchdown. EPA: 4.9
This might have been the only time all season Jalen Reagor looked like himself at wide receiver. Whatever the reasons might be - scheme, drops, QB play - Reagor didn’t have the season we expected of him, but on this play, he reminded everyone why he’s earned our respect, blazing past the cornerback in man coverage and finding himself wide open. Duggan gets the ball to Reagor in stride, and the rest is on the scoreboard.
3rd and 9 from the TCU 39, vs Iowa State, 8:55 in the 3rd Quarter:
Max Duggan pass complete to Jalen Reagor for 42 yards. First down. EPA: 4.82
More Reagor being Reagor! Passing increases your EPA!
3rd and 8 from the Oklahoma State 34, 6:27 in the 3rd Quarter:
Max Duggan runs 42 yards for a first down. EPA: 4.88
The emergence of Max Duggan’s legs over the course of the season was a delightful surprise. During the first five games, Duggan averaged 9.2 rushing yards a game. In the second half of the season, he averaged over 72 yards a game. This play was a great example of why TCU’s season could’ve been worse, but wasn’t: Time and Time again down the stretch, Duggan bailed the offense out with his legs.
3rd and 12 from the TCU 54, vs Texas Tech, 5:05 in the 3rd Quarter:
Max Duggan pass complete to Taye Barber for 39 yards, first down. EPA: 4.86
3rd and 14 from the TCU 47, vs Texas, 5:05 in the 3rd Quarter:
Max Duggan pass complete to Taye Barber, first down. EPA: 4.72.
Likewise for the Taye Barber emergence. He struggled with injury early in the season, but once Barber came back, he demonstrated what a versatile weapon he could be. Here, in both plays, the offense had stalled, and Max tossed a desperation pass up in the red zone, and Barber came down with it in one of the better catches you’ll see. This set up a score that TCU probably shouldn’t have gotten, given their performance on the drive so far. 3rd and Long? Low expected points. Max Duggan to Taye Barber? High expected points.
1st and 10 from the TCU 20, vs SMU, 13:49 in the 2nd Quarter:
Darius Anderson runs 77 yards to the SMU 3 for a first down. EPA: 4.84
Oh, look, the only designed run on the list! Anderson is a great talent at RB, and he got his highlight against SMU, breaking free for a 77 yard gain, taking an uncertain outcome drive and making it a definite scoring opportunity.