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Playing Texas still matters for TCU

That chip on their shoulder doesn’t go away.

NCAA Football: Texas at Texas Christian Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

TCU has dominated the University of Texas since joining the Big 12; it’s been well-documented that the Horned Frogs have won six of eight contests since joining the Big 12, outscoring the Horns by 233-134 in the process.

But this rivalry is about more than just the scores — for TCU players, many of whom were not offered by the Texas staff — beating the state’s “Flagship Program” means something extra. “It’s just a big game, it’s an exciting game. Anytime we play Texas it’s going to be a fun game,” junior safety Trevon Meohrig said in a Tuesday call with reporters. And while they won’t say this one means more than whoever is next on the schedule, Moehirg admits that the chip might be slightly bigger. “I’ve got a chip on my shoulder for any team and I think the whole team does as well. Maybe a little more for especially Texas teams or for the players who were recruited by Texas.”

The Horned Frogs are loaded with Texas talent; of the Frogs 22 starters and it’s a lot less true than it was a few years ago that they were stocked with guys that Texas staff members didn’t think were good enough for the Burnt Orange. But it was just two years ago that CBS Sports published an article calling the 2018 squad a “roster of rejects” — the same year that the Frogs featured a starting defensive unit that did not field a single Texas offer amongst them. Now, you’ve got guys like Quentin Johnston — who flipped late from the Horns — and multiple four stars that had a dozen or more choices from Power Five programs. But for every Johnston there are still plenty of Moehrigs and Trevius Hodges Tomlinsons, Texas High School players who never got attention from UT.

Don’t think for a moment that they aren’t thinking about that just a little ahead of tomorrow’s game.

Max Duggan might not be from Texas, but with family in the area and local coaches in his family tree, he understands how critical these games are. It doesn’t hurt, either, that his breakout game came against the Horns in 2019.

Of course, for the young QB, though, it isn’t about his performance or the opponent — it’s about the result. “I think it was just most important that we won. My teammates helped me out a lot and the coaches called a great game. I don’t really focus on it too much; I just take it game by game each year.”

While recent history is firmly in the Frogs’ favor, this year is different in a handful of ways. And this Texas team has come out of the gate as hot as any in the country. Moehrig knows he will have his hands full with the skill position players lining up opposite of him, and Duggan knows what the defense is capable of — even if they didn’t show it a week ago.

“They’ve got some really good receivers, some really good backs that we’ve seen. Of course the QB Sam Ehlinger is a really good quarterback,” Moehrig said. “So they’re pretty loaded everywhere, so we’ve got to matchup and execute and do our job. We should be good.”

Duggan added, “they’re very talented and skilled, very well-coached. They’ve played very well this season so it’s going to be a fun game and great opportunity for us.”

So how do the Frogs get it done for a second consecutive year and for the seventh time since joining the Big 12? “I think the key is just executing as a defense and eliminating big plays — making the offense uncomfortable, just like we did last year,” Moehrig explained. “It’s a new game but we’ve just got to come fully prepared.”

You can bet they will be.