We’re finished with Week 2, and we’re lacking a stockpile of evidence to extrapolate how dominant Version ’22 of the Frogs is — yet. But. A win is a win. The most notable question mark when hosting another local(-ish) purple team last Saturday was how Head Coach Sonny Dykes would assign quarterback duties. Max Duggan (#15) was the old man among the trio of slingers all in contention to be crowned starters for the fall. He was passed over, but after Chandler Morris (#2) suffered a knee sprain against Colorado, Duggan became the de facto field general, and the Tarleton matchup was a scrimmage for the Horned faithful to dissect how ready he is to be The Man moving forward. The results — albeit against muted competition — are reassuring.
Duggan exploded for a career performance in the Frogs’ first home game, throwing for just shy of 400 yards. Mad Max ran a few times — something he’s well above average at — but passing was his top priority. Duggan located four different receivers for a combined five touchdowns and missed the mark on only six total passes out of 29. The senior just seems to have better touch on his ball as an upperclassman. No one can question the arm strength — he has zip to spare — but his passes before seemed so hot, Frog receivers were unable to pull them in, and, at least on Saturday, that issue seemed long in the past. His short- and mid-range throws were strong but catchable and his deep balls pinpoint accurate.
Fifteen Frogs caught a pass against the Texans, highlighting what should be the strongest group in Dykes’ air raid-type offense. Veterans like Taye Barber (#4), Quentin Johnston (#1), who is on the Walter Camp award watchlist, and Derius “Dude with a capital D” Davis (#11) will undoubtedly serve larger roles against tougher opponents, but the addition of Jordan Hudson (#7), one of Dykes’ top recruits from the Garland Owls, and former Longhorn tight end Jared Wiley (#19) means the offense has weapons to spare and formations aplenty.
Defensively, TCU looked fine. The big three up front continued to be disruptive in the backfield, and the corners primarily defended in single-man coverage with varying degrees of success. Concerningly, the defensive backs showed a proclivity for getting boxed out against bigger receivers late in the game, but I expect coverages to become more complex as the season progresses and better opponents are faced. Overall, Joe Gillespie’s defense surrendered a field goal and two touchdowns, one of which was on a completely blown coverage, but his 3-3-5 alignment should evolve the longer he’s on staff.
Granted, this 59-17 crime scene (which covered a lofty 39.5-point spread) was against an FCS team that only recently moved up to even play at that lower level, but the practice of paying a lower division team to come and have their asses whipped is standard among the power five teams that — if they survive their conference slate — build a resume playing whomever they’re required to. TCU, as a member of the Big 12, has always dominated their paid prey. At least the Texans took home a check for a tidy $550K on their drive back to Stephenville. Things could be worse. You could be in College Station, where Appalachian State flew back to North Carolina with $1.5 million as well as a win over the formerly 6th-ranked Aggies. This isn’t the first time the Mountaineers have left a name-brand opponent lying bloody, bruised, and penniless in an alleyway. The plucky team from a place called Boone famously beat the Michigan Wolverines in the Big House at the beginning of the 2017 season when App State was the premier squad of the FCS. The Aggie loss is especially egregious coming from a team that was the highest ranked in Texas, netted the top recruiting class in the nation, and whose head coach, Jimbo Fisher, is the highest paid in a state where football is literally religion.
Ultimately, it was a great week to be playing a nobody, as seven teams in the Top 25 lost to lower or completely unranked opponents. Baylor, who was considered by many during the preseason to be the best in the Big 12, fell in double overtime to one of the only squads more pious than they: BYU. The Red Raiders also needed extra time but were victorious over the 25th-ranked Houston Cougars in what should be considered a solid victory for Tech’s first-year head coach. Texas, of course, is essentially claiming victory after a one-point loss against top-ranked Alabama in Austin after the Crimson Tide played one of their worst games in years, and the somehow 8th-ranked Fighting Irish fell to Marshall and have started the season on a losing streak, as well as threatening their cinematic legacy by losing to a team who also had a very inspiring film produced about them. Let’s be honest, though. Matthew McConaughey is a thousand times cooler than Sean Astin, alright, alright, alright.
The Frogs are off this week, an ill-timed break when none is needed. TCU’s next opponent will be a homecoming of sorts for the King Frog as Sonny Dykes returns to Dallas facing a crowd that couldn’t be more hostile, save for someone developing a center for the homeless near campus. We’ll dive into SMU and the battle for the Iron Skillet next week after the Ponies face their first major-conference opponent in Maryland this weekend. For the time being, don’t forget to remind everyone you meet who the only undefeated power-five teams in the great state of Texas are: Tech and TCU.