Twelve and OH YEAH! The TCU Horned Frogs complete the 2022 regular season undefeated after a thorough win over the Iowa State Cyclones on Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Iowa State entered the game with a Top 10 defense nationally, the best in the Big 12, allowing just 16.5 points and 172 yards per game. TCU scored 62 points and amassed 377 total yards, despite pulling the starters for the entire 4th quarter. It’s the most points TCU has scored vs. an FBS opponent since 2016 vs. Baylor. For Iowa State, it was its worst loss since falling 55-3 to TCU in 2014.
The Horned Frogs took the game right from the opening drive, which got the RBs involved in the pass game as Trent Battle and Kendre Miller each had receptions for first downs. TCU faced a decision with a 4th & 3 at the 19 yard line and Coach Dykes decided to roll with his Heisman candidate QB over the hero kicker Griffin Kell, and the gamble paid off. The entire ISU defense bit on the play fake and Duggan with the touch pass over the defense to a wide open Geor’quarius Spivey for the opening score of the game. It felt a dangerous call when it was thought that points might be at a premium against a premier defensive squad, and the conversion was a huge early moment.
TCU’s Defense forced a quick punt from Iowa State and the Frogs offense again drove into Cyclone this territory, but after a pair of incompletions intended for Derius Davis, this time TCU settled for the FG and Kell drilled it from 36 yards. Kell would also later make one from 54 yards, the 5th longest in TCU history, an impressive feat at any time, but in cold conditions with a muddy soggy field, it was an elite make for the kicker who has been so sure for the Frogs this season.
After two possessions, the Cyclones’ offense had produced 1 total yard and been forced to punt twice. TCU took over in ISU territory and hit a 18-yard gain to Jared Wiley where Max had all day in the pocket to go through a full read progression. The next play Kendre Miller simply would not be denied on the way to the endzone, as Trent Battle laid a massive pancake block downfield to propel Miller on the second level before he just forced his way for the TD with Cyclones hanging on his back like he’s the cool uncle carrying 4 nephews during a Thanksgiving Mud Bowl
Frog fans barely had time to celebrate that TD before witnessing another, as Iowa State’s very next play was Hunter Dekkers found a wide open Millard Bradford. Unfortunately for Dekkers, Bradford is a TCU Safety, who returned the interception 36 yards for a TD to extend TCU’s lead to 24 points with 2 minutes still remaining in the first quarter.
The Cyclones answered with a 4th-down conversion TD of its own in the 2nd Quarter, when Dekkers found DeShawn Hanika for a TD catch as he’s diving out of bounds.
TCU’s defense clamped down for the rest of the half, including forcing a missed field goal, but with the Cyclones lining up to punt with under 90 seconds remaining in the half, the snap flew past the punter and was a direct headshot on the official, preventing the ball from rolling into the endzone. Perhaps the ref should’ve been checked for head injuries, because the final sequence of the half was confounding. TCU appeared to score touchdowns on multiple occasions before finally Kendre Miller escaped to the edge and trotted into the endzone on 4th down from just outside the goal line. The Frogs went into halftime ahead 34-7.
ISU opened the 2nd Half with a nice drive long drive that stalls out as a fumble pushed the Cyclones back 7 yards and the TCU Secondary did not allow a completion, setting up a 34-yard field goal attempt that the Cyclone kicker missed.
TCU then commenced The Savion Williams Drive: he made a superb catch down the field for 37 yards on 3rd down, showing incredible control to come down with the reception with the ISU defender all over him, similar to plays he made vs. Texas Tech and Baylor. He caps the drive with a diving TD catch in the back of the endzone.
Once again the TCU defense quickly created a short field for the Frogs offense, as Sean Shaw got sent airborne by Kee’yon Stewart, causing a fumble recovered by Tymon Mitchell at the 38. Emani put some nice runs together to bring it inside the 15, where Duggan sent a dart to Jordan Hudson in the back of the endzone to put the Frogs up 48-7. And hey guess what, the Horned Frog defense does it again! two plays later Josh Newton discovers the ball in his hands and takes it for a house call to put the Frogs up 55-7 before the 3rd quarter could close.
The Horned Frogs scoring 55 on Iowa State in the last game of the regular season is a triggering thought for Frog fans, as that was the result that somehow the 2014 Committee saw and decided to drop TCU out of the Playoffs. Fear not Frog fans, although Max Duggan and much of the starting lineup did not play the 4th quarter, Chandler Morris got an opportunity to show he still has the goods too. He connects with Jordan Hudson from 3 yards out to push the Frogs final damage to 62 points on the night
It wasn’t just the Iowa State defense that was much heralded coming into this game, the Cyclone passing attack was one of the most prolific in the Big 12 as Hunter Dekkers was the conference’s top passer with 267.1 yards per game and Xavier Hutchinson the top receiver at 9.5 receptions for 105.5 yards per game. Dekkers finished with 106 yards passing and Hutchinson finished 2 catches for 11 yards vs. the Horned Frogs, an elite performance from the TCU secondary which also secured two interceptions for TDs and forced a fumble. It was an all-around, start-to-finish beat down in every aspect.
TCU now gets the opportunity to play for the Big 12 Championship in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX on Saturday December 3 at 11:00 AM against the Kansas State Wildcats. K-State defeated the Kansas Jayhawks on Saturday night to secure the bid into the title game. It’s a rematch of a game TCU won in Fort Worth in October, overcoming an 18-point 1st Half deficit to come away with the 38-28 victory.