TCU fell to 3-5 on the season after another deflating loss over the weekend, this time falling 31-12 against Kansas State in a contest that wasn’t remotely close. The Horned Frogs looked lost offensively, benching Max Duggan during the second half while the defense remained anemic on the other side of the ball. Here are five things we learned from the matchup.
Deuce Vaughn could eventually play on Sundays
Kansas State’s miniature dynamo has continued to frustrate opposing defenses this season, recording 20 carries for 109 yards and two touchdowns against the Horned Frogs while adding two receptions for 49 yards. A true sophomore in his second season at Kansas State, Vaughn has surpassed 1,000 total yards and 30 pass receptions this year.
The 5-foot-6, 172-pounder clearly doesn’t have the prototypical size for a running back in the NFL. However, his elusiveness and playmaking ability could make him a useful gadget player at the next level. There’s recent precedent for small players having success in the NFL with Tarik Cohen, Jakeem Grant and most notable long-time veteran Darren Sproles. Should Vaughn add special teams to his arsenal, he could fare well in the NFL.
Kendre Miller is a legitimate starting running back
With five-star running back Zach Evans sidelined with an injury once again, Miller carried the rushing load for the Horned Frogs, shining with 102 yards on 14 carries and averaging over 7 yards per carry. Miller has now topped 100 total yards in three games this season and his effectiveness as a receiver has added another dynamic to the Horned Frog offense.
Pretty masterful call by TCU on third-and-8: Gives it to explosive RB Kendre Miller, who picks up 23 yards. First-and-10 for Horned Frogs at the Wildcat 10.— Ryan Black (@RyanABlack) October 30, 2021
Already with over 900 rushing yards for his career with TCU, Miller sports a 7.3 yards-per-carry average. He’ll continue to see limited reps as long as Evans can suit up, but Miller has performed admirably in Evans’ absence. Despite Max Duggan being limited in the running game with an injured foot, Evans and Miller have given TCU fans all they could ask for.
Gary Patterson says it's important for TCU to get back to the "QB run game" this weekend at K-State whether it's Max Duggan or a backup. https://t.co/ZvaJWmsMR4— Drew Davison (@drewdavison) October 27, 2021
TCU may need to sit Max Duggan until his foot injury goes away
The Horned Frogs were generally ineffective offensively on Saturday, but it’s becoming clear that Duggan’s injured foot has seriously hampered his rushing ability. At 3-5 on the season and desperate to qualify for bowl eligibility, should the Horned Frogs keep rolling with Duggan, who’s toughness remains unquestioned but can’t be used to the best of his ability due to the injury? Or should interim head coach Jerry Kill go with Chandler Morris, who took over during the second half and provided a late spark for TCU in the fourth quarter.
While Morris took his reps during garbage time, he avoided turning the ball over and showed some elusiveness. Morris doesn’t have the same size and speed as Duggan, who stands three inches taller and weighs almost 50 pounds less, but a healthy quarterback could be enough to keep a defense honest in the running game with Evans and Miller. Duggan will likely earn the start unless his foot injury worsens, but should TCU struggle out of the gate, don’t be surprised if the Horned Frogs throw Morris into the fire once again.