FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Max Duggan wiggled out of a sack that would have been a safety, made Sam Ehlinger pay right away for one of the Texas quarterback’s career-high four interceptions and saved probably his best completion for last to beat No. 15 Texas.
Pretty good timing for the TCU freshman’s best game.
Duggan threw two touchdown passes, including a tiebreaking 44-yarder to Jalen Reagor the first play after Ehlinger’s second interception, and ran for a clinching score to lead the Horned Frogs past the Longhorns 37-27 on Saturday.
“Man, y’all see,” Reagor said about Duggan, who wasn’t available because coach Gary Patterson doesn’t allow freshmen to talk to reporters. “He’s a great playmaker, great quarterback. He’s young, but in due time, he’ll be great.”
The Longhorns (5-3, 3-2 Big 12) lost a third straight game in Fort Worth for the first time since the 1940s. It was the fifth win in six tries against Texas for the Horned Frogs, which includes their first four-game winning streak in the series since the 1930s.
“When you’re in a hole like this, the only way to get out of it is to fight and to work harder,” Texas coach Tom Herman said. “These things don’t happen by calling magic defenses or magic offenses. They happen by coming to work every day as coaches giving everything we have to our players.”
Duggan finished with a career-best 273 yards passing against the Big 12’s worst pass defense. His 11-yard run for the final points came right after a 36-yard toss to Taye Barber with a defender in his face, and with the Horned Frogs trying to protect a three-point lead.
With a team-high 72 yards rushing, Duggan helped the Horned Frogs (4-3, 2-2) bounce back from consecutive conference road losses. Duggan came in with the league’s lowest QB efficiency rating.
“Everybody wants players to be like hot cocoa,” Patterson said. “You just rip off the cover, pour it in and put hot water in and they’re a great player. It’s good. Hot cocoa is ready to go. It’s just not that easy.”
Ehlinger’s first three interceptions led to 13 TCU points, and Herman gave the Horned Frogs three more when he called timeout just before freshman Griffin Kell missed a 52-yard field goal try on the final play of the first half. Kell drilled the second chance.
TCU’s Big 12-leading defense stopped a rare three-game stretch without a takeaway when Garret Wallow intercepted Ehlinger not long after the Duggan’s first college interception. He went 143 passes without a pick, the second-longest streak in school history.
“They did a great job in coverage,” Ehlinger said. “They got an experienced secondary. They didn’t do anything exotic or cut anybody loose. They did a good job of bringing pressure but also being balanced and making it difficult for our guys to get open.”
Reagor, who entered the season with high expectations but had just 271 yards through six games for a struggling offense, easily ran past D’Shawn Jamison for his longest completion of the season.
The throw was right on stride near the goal line for Reagor, a junior still looking for his first 100-yard game this year after running off seven in a row last season.
With Texas trying to get the ball back after pulling to 30-27 on the last of four drives of at least 75 yards, Duggan made a perfect sideline throw to John Stephens for 16 yards on third-and-11 with plenty of time remaining.
“My freshman year, I played with a lot of emotion,” said Reagor, who had 55 yards receiving. “And I feel like just him being young, some of this stuff is just growing pains and once he really settles in, y’all will see what he can do.”
Ehlinger was 27 of 48 for 321 yards and two touchdowns, and Devin Duvernay had a 47-yard touchdown and a 63-yard catch among a career-high 173 yards receiving.
Texas: This might be the biggest soul-searching loss in Herman’s three seasons, coming a week after the Longhorns avoided an embarrassing defeat with a field goal on the final play to beat Kansas 50-48. Texas didn’t trail until Reagor’s TD, and once again the defense couldn’t make a play in crunch time.
TCU: The Horned Frogs got exactly what they needed just as it looked like their season was getting away from them. The commitment to Duggan finally paid off, and a defense that was uncharacteristically quiet in the losses to Iowa State (49-24) and Kansas State (24-17) came alive.
The Longhorns were the highest-ranked two-loss team. Now the question is whether they even deserve to be in the poll with three losses, including two in the past three weeks.
Texas: A week off, then Kansas State at home Nov. 9.
TCU: At Oklahoma State next Saturday.
Game Notes from TCU
* TCU beat Texas for the fifth time in six seasons and is now 6-2 against the Longhorns since joining the Big 12 Conference in 2012.
* TCU head coach Gary Patterson is now 6-3 against Texas. Since 1996, he ranks No. 1 in the nation among all head coaches past and present (minimum 5 games) in career winning percentage (.667, 6-3) against Texas.
* Over the last six seasons, TCU’s 51-22 overall record and 32-17 conference mark both rank second in the Big 12.
* TCU played its first home game in nearly a month (Sept. 28, Kansas). The Horned Frogs are in the midst of five out of seven games on the road.
* TCU improved to 26-25 against ranked teams under head coach Gary Patterson.
* The Horned Frogs are 89-22 in 19 seasons under Patterson at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
* The attendance of 47,660 was 15 shy of making the top 10 for largest home crowds for TCU.
* Jalen Reagor’s 44-yard third-quarter touchdown catch from Max Duggan gave the Horned Frogs their first 1-play scoring drive of the season.
* TCU’s four interceptions were its most in a regular-season game since recording four in a 48-10 win at Texas in 2014.
* The Horned Frogs had four interceptions after not having a takeaway in their previous three games.
* A sack by Corey Bethley gave TCU at least one sack in 74 of its last 77 games.
* The Horned Frogs topped 150 yards rushing (162) and 250 passing (273) for the third time this season.
* TCU used five different players in the kicking game: Jonathan Song and Griffin Kell on field goals, Cole Bunce on kickoffs and Jordy Sandy and Dillon Jones on punts.
* TCU scored for the 340th consecutive game. It’s the nation’s second-longest current streak and fourth all-time in NCAA history. The Horned Frogs haven’t been blanked since Nov. 16, 1991, at Texas (32-0).
* TCU’s team captains were Ross Blacklock, Alex Delton, Cordel Iwuagwu and Garret Wallow. Delton and Wallow have been captains each game this season.
* TCU wore a fierce purple helmet with a anthracite jersey and anthracite pants.
* True freshman quarterback Max Duggan had career-best totals of 19 completions and 273 yards passing. He also threw for two touchdowns and led TCU in rushing for the second straight game with 72 yards on 13 carries, including an 11-yard touchdown with 1:59 to play for the Horned Frogs’ final points.
* Duggan is the first TCU quarterback to lead the team in rushing in two consecutive games since Kenny Hill in 2017.
* Duggan’s streak of 143 passes without an interception came to an end on his second attempt of the day. It was the second-longest streak in TCU history, trailing only Jeff Ballard (154, 2006). Entering the game, Duggan had the nation’s third-longest active streak. All the attempts were to begin his collegiate career.
* Duggan’s 51-yard completion to Taye Barber was a career-long for him and Barber. It more than doubled Barber’s previous career-long grab of 24 yards.
* Duggan became the first TCU quarterback to throw for at least 250 yards and multiple scores and rush for at least 70 yards and a touchdown in the same game since Trevone Boykin on Oct. 29, 2015, versus West Virginia.
* Duggan has now thrown for 1,147 yards, the first true freshman to top 1,000 yards in a season in the Gary Patterson head coaching era and first since 1999 (Casey Printers, 1,213).
* Barber equaled a career-high with his team-best five receptions while setting a new personal best with 94 yards receiving.
* Jalen Reagor’s 44-yard touchdown reception was the 21st of his career, one behind Josh Boyce (22, 2010-12) for second on TCU’s all-time list. Josh Doctson is the leader with 29 (2013-15).
* Pro Wells’ 24-yard touchdown reception was his fourth scoring grab on just eight catches this season. It was the longest reception of his career, nearly doubling his previous long of 13.
* Carter Ware had a 2-yard catch for his first career reception.
* John Stephens Jr. had a career-best three receptions for 32 yards.
* Artayvious Lynn had two receptions to tie a career-high set on two previous occasions.
* Garret Wallow had a team-best nine tackles to go with his first career interception.
* Wallow has led TCU in tackles in all but one game this season.
* Corey Bethley had his first sack of the season and seventh of his career, the most among current Horned Frogs.
* Ar’Darius Washington had his team-best third interception of the season.
* Washington’s three picks are the most by a Horned Frog since Nick Orr had three in 2017. It’s also the most by a freshman in the Gary Patterson era.
* True freshman linebacker Wyatt Harris had a career-best seven tackles.
* Trevon Moehrig had his second interception of the season and third of his career.
* Innis Gaines recorded his first interception of the season and third of his career to end the Longhorns’ final series.
* Jeff Gladney set a season-high with eight tackles to go along with three pass breakups, tying his season best.
* Jonathan Song’s 32- and 33-yard field goals made him 13-of-14 on the season and 30-of-34 in his career. He is 29-of-30 on attempts inside 40 yards.
* Griffin Kell closed the first half with a 52-yard field goal, the longest make by a Horned Frog since Jaden Oberkrom’s 57-yard effort against West Virginia in 2015.
* Kell had his longest made field goal in a college or high school game.
* Dillon Jones had a 58-yard punt on his first collegiate attempt, TCU’s longest punt of the season.
* Jones’ punt was the longest by a TCU player since Adam Nunez’s 58-yard boot at Iowa State on Oct. 28, 2017.
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