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MMQB: Undefeated Regular Season

TCU dominated in the last game the regular season to move to 12-0.

Iowa State v TCU Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images

The Frogs were on the good side of a game that was not very close from the jump on Saturday as they beat Iowa State by a final score of 62-14. TCU jumped out to a 24-0 first-quarter lead and never looked back. Starters were pulled in the 4th quarter and scoring 62 points on ISU should be enough to prevent the Frogs from dropping in the CFP rankings right? right?

The Good:

Griffin Kell: Kell was nails again this weekend, drilling 2 field goals and making all 8 of his extra-point attempts. Kell hit a 36-yarder and a 54-yarder in what was far-from-ideal conditions on Saturday, again proving that he is a true weapon for the Frogs from distance (in addition to having ice in his veins of course).

Passing offense surviving without QJ: The Frogs have had to play the last few games without their best receiver being completely healthy and it has predicatably had a negative effect on the passing attack and overall offense. This weekend, Quentin Johnston did not play at all, adding to the challenge of facing the number 1 defense in the Big 12 and one of the best defenses in the nation overall in Iowa State.

The Frogs were also without always reliable slot receiver Taye Barber and fellow slot receiver Derius Davis appeared to not be 100% either as he was not back in his usual spot returning punts and kicks. Sonny Dykes and Garrett Riley found a way to work around that though as the passing attack for the Frogs was excellent agaisnt the Cyclones. Max Duggan had a very good game with 212 yards and 3 touchdowns with a completion percentage above 70%.

Duggan was very accurate and threw some absolute darts through the wet conditions on Saturday, specifically the touchdown passes to Savion Williams and Jordan Hudson. Duggan also did a great job of spreading the ball around as 11 different players caught a pass for TCU on Saturday. Savion Williams had an excellent game with 5 catches for 48 yards and a touchdown. Duggan looked very comfortable trusting Williams to win against man coverage, completing several passes with anticipation that Williams would create separation and he did. Williams also had a great catch on a back shoulder throw from

Duggan on a go route against man coverage. The tight ends were engaged in the passing game as well with Jared Wiley and Geor’Quarious Spivey combining for 6 catches, 79 yards, and a touchdown. There were a number of passes to running backs as well as Trent Battle caught a wheel route for 19 yards, Emani Bailey had two catches for 23 yards, and Kendre Miller had a catch for 12 yards. Tremendous credit should go to the offensive line for doing a good job in pass protection, freeing up running backs and tight ends from having to stay in and block.

Also credit to the coaching staff for trusting the offensive line to hold up in 5 man protection schemes and sending tight ends and running backs out as receiving threats. The wheel route completion to Trent Battle was excellent play design as the Frogs started out in two back with two receivers to the short side of the field. Kendre Miller then motioned out of the backfield and a linebacker followed him, showing Duggan that it was man coverage.

On the snap, the two receivers towards the boundary ran in breaking routes, making the linebacker assigned to Battle in coverage have to work through a ton of traffic as Battle ran a wheel route to where the receivers were originally lined up and was wide open. This was just one example of the coaching staff’s great play design this game and this season overall. Even with a banged up receiving corps against the best defense in the Big 12, the Frogs found success through the air on Saturday.

Younger players showing out: With the game not being very close by the time the fourth quarter rolled around along with injuries at wide receiver and Kendre Miller being banged up last game, Frog fans got a glimpse into the future as Jordan Hudson, Trent Battle, and Emani Bailey all saw a good amount of playing time and all had very good games. Hudson caught two touchdowns, Bailey averaged over 5 yards per carry, and Battle made a nice catch on the wheel route and had a couple very nice blocks in the running and passing games.

Hudson demonstrated great ability to make contested catches as well as create separation against man coverage. He should be a big part of the passing offense in the future as the Frogs could potentially lose Quentin Johnston to the draft. Battle and Bailey should be a big part of the rushing offense with graduation of Emari Demercado and the potential loss of Kendre Miller to the draft. All three performing very well against a very good defense in Iowa State was a great sign for the Frogs in the future.

Offensive line: The offensive line had a great game this past weekend as they were tight in pass protection and solid in run blocking. Max Duggan had plenty of time to go through his progressions and a clean pocket to throw from. The offense had success just keeping 5 men in to pass block, allowing for more receiving threats to release for the Frogs.

In games against Baylor and Texas, the offense had to keep tight ends and running backs in to help with pass protection but that was not the case on Saturday as the offensive line held up very well and the running backs and tight ends had a ton of production through the air. The Iowa State defense is excellent and the offensive line for the Frogs was up to the task on Saturday, providing plenty of time and space for the skill positions players for TCU to make plays.

Turnovers: The TCU defense forced 3 turnovers against the Cyclone offense on Saturday with two pick-sixes and a fumble recovery. Millard Bradford did an excellent job by reading the eyes of Cyclone quarterback Hunter Dekkers, jumping a crossing route by an Iowa State tight end, making the interception, and taking it to the house in the first quarter.

In the third quarter, Kee’yon Stewart made a great open field tackle, forcing a fumble which was recovered by Tymon Mitchell who made an excellent hustle play, coming all the way from his nose tackle spot down the field to recover the fumble after a completed pass. Then finally, Josh Newton cashed in on a bobbled pass that was thrown behind the intended receiver, taking the interception 57 yards to the end zone.

The defense did a great job not only creating an extra possession for the offense but also taking advantage of turnovers themselves, scoring two defensive touchdowns against Iowa State.

Pass defense: In addition to having a very good defense, Iowa State also has one of the top receivers in the Big 12 as well as the country in Xavier Hutchinson on their team. Hutchinson presents a challenge to opposing defenses with significant physical tools, standing at 6 foot 3 with a big catch radius as well as very solid speed for a big receiver. Hutchinson had at least 8 receptions in every game this season coming into this weekend and had surpassed the 100 yard mark 6 times in 2022.

The TCU defense held him to 2 catches for 11 yards. Josh Newton and Tre’vius Hodges-Tomlinson did a great job on the outside matching up with him and the safeties for the Frogs did a good job as well when Hutchinson lined up in the slot. Iowa State quarterbacks was limited to under 200 total yards on Saturday, 50% completion rate, and 2 interceptions. The TCU pass defense was dominant and shut down a very good receiver on Saturday.

The Bad:

The rain?: There was not much to complain about in this game other than maybe the weather. The Frogs played a complete game on both sides of the football as well as on special teams.

Play of the Game:

Give me Fig’s pick-six for the play of the game. Josh Newton has been a huge part of the defensive turnaround for the Frogs this season and his excellent play at cornerback has gone somewhat under the radar.