TCU will try to stay unbeaten Saturday afternoon when it hosts Texas Tech in Fort Worth, Texas.
The Horned Frogs (8-0, 5-0 Big 12) are ranked No. 7 in the season’s first College Football Playoff poll — their highest national ranking since 2017 when they rose as high as No. 4 in the AP Poll.
Yet, becoming the first Big 12 team ever to beat four consecutive ranked opponents in the regular season didn’t help the Horned Frogs vault into the top four or even five, as some thought it might.
With three Southeastern Conference teams (Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama), two Big Ten teams (Ohio State, Michigan), and an Atlantic Coast Conference team (Clemson) ranked ahead of them, the Frogs will probably need some help to find their way into the College Football Playoff.
Unranked Texas Tech (4-4, 2-3) is seeking its third win over a ranked opponent this season. The Red Raiders will also be looking to break a three-game losing streak in the Saddle Trophy rivalry series.
TCU has flourished under first-year coach Sonny Dykes, who took over after former longtime coach Gary Patterson resigned. Dykes is the first coach in Big 12 history to open 8-0 at a school.
“I mean that’s the thing about getting on a run, you just need to find ways to win and we’ve been able to do that and I’m proud of our guys for doing that,” Dykes said.
The Horned Frogs are averaging 44.2 points per game, ranking third in the nation, just behind Tennessee and Ohio State.
Starting quarterback Max Duggan, a Maxwell Award semifinalist, is fourth in the nation with a 182.54 pass efficiency rating, having thrown 22 touchdown passes with just two interceptions.
Last week, Duggan completed 16 of 28 passes for 341 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in a 41-31 victory over West Virginia.
“We’re grateful to be 8-0,” Duggan said after leading the Horned Frogs to their fourth road win. “You’re never going to take winning for granted. We know it’s hard to win in this league, especially on the road.”
Kendre Miller leads a physical ground attack for TCU, which as a team is averaging 5.81 yards a carry, seventh best in the country.
The Red Raiders are looking to put an ugly 45-17 loss to Baylor at home last week behind them. The score wasn’t the only thing that left Texas Tech sour. Their three quarterbacks combining for five interceptions also stung. Starter Behren Morton completed only 11 of 34 passes for 152 yards and was intercepted three times.
“One of his big strengths is how we can run our tempo,” Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire said. “It fits him. He gets the ball out fast and he’s done that.”
Texas Tech leads the Big 12 in passing yards per game (338.0) and is third in touchdown passes (19). But the Red Raiders have thrown 15 interceptions — five more than any other team in the conference.
While the quarterback situation among Morton, Tyler Shough and Donovan Smith would appear to remain fluid, McGuire said this week that Morton would take the first team reps in practice.
–Field Level Media