There are a myriad of ways to sum up TCU’s 34-13 win over Purdue Saturday night, but here’s the clearest distillation: with 13:46 left in the fourth quarter, the Horned Frogs had precisely 306 rushing yards, and the Boilermakers had precisely zero.
TCU dominated this game at the line of scrimmage, and that was the difference. The Frogs finished with 346 rushing yards, while Purdue had 22. Darius Anderson had a career-high 179 yards, Sewo Olonilua had 106, and even Max Duggan ran for 20. After a shaky first half full of dropped and misplaced passes, TCU turned to the run game, and it paid off.
Meanwhile, the Frogs’ defense put on a clinic. All-American wide receiver Rondale Moore was held to two catches for 12 yards through the first three quarters, and finished with three catches for 25 yards. Jeff Gladney and Trevon Moehrig each had circus catches for interceptions, with Moehrig ripping the ball away from Moore for a pick in the first quarter. Purdue couldn’t get a single thing going on the ground, either. And with quarterback Elijah Sindelar sidelined with a concussion, the Boilermakers had trouble moving the ball with backup Jack Plummer, who finished 13-29 for 181 yards, a touchdown and two picks.
It didn’t start off looking like a TCU win. Alex Delton had a pass tipped and picked on the Frogs’ first possession, and Purdue took a 3-0 lead after a field goal. Jonathan Song evened things up with a field goal later in the first quarter, and then Darius Anderson ran one in from 32 yards with 1:14 left in the first to give TCU a 10-3 lead.
Each team would add another field goal in the second quarter, but in the third, the Frogs took over. With Duggan at the helm, TCU scored on a 22-yard pass to a wide-open Al’Dontre Davis and a one-yard plunge from Olonilua to take a 27-6 lead into the fourth quarter.
Anderson found paydirt again in the fourth quarter with 5:45 left to give TCU a 34-6 lead, and it was Duggan who sprung the crucial lead block. Purdue added a meaningless touchdown with 3:40 left in the game on a 54-yard pass from Plummer to Amad Anderson.
Plenty of ink will be spilled on the quarterback play in this game from the Frogs. The statline story is rather murky: Duggan finished 7-18 for 70 yards and a touchdown, while Delton came in at 1-6 for five yards. The eye test is a little clearer — it looked like Duggan threw every pass as hard as he could, which worked about as often as it didn’t, and several balls that could’ve been thrown with more touch instead hummed off the hands of TCU wide receivers. But he was fearless, lowering his head on QB keepers and refusing to shy away from contact. TCU coaches trusted Duggan in the second half of a one-possession ball game — that should be a good enough sign that the freshman has what it takes.
In special teams notes, Jordy Sandy seems to be the real deal at punter. He had two punts downed inside the five, and another bounced off the hands of Innis Gaines from the one-yard line into the end zone. Song was also 2-2 on field goal kicks and perfect on extra points.
It can’t be overstated how well the TCU defense played in this game. The stats speak for themselves, here — Purdue was held to 204 yards and had just eight first downs. It was a masterful performance all the way around for Gary Patterson’s pet unit against a highly regarded offensive coach in Jeff Brohm.
The Frgos (2-0) will try to ride this wave into SMU next week. That game kicks off at 2:30 p.m from Amon G. Carter Stadium.