TCU quarterback Max Duggan is playing such a good brand of football that even the school’s men’s basketball coach has noticed.
“Max is doing really special things this year, and it is amazing to watch,” Jamie Dixon said.
That was before Duggan led the Horned Frogs back from a 30-16, fourth-quarter deficit last week to stop Big 12 foe Oklahoma State 43-40 in double overtime, allowing TCU to stay unbeaten.
This week, Duggan and No. 8 TCU host another ranked team when No. 17 Kansas State visits Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday night for another marquee Big 12 clash.
Duggan had some good moments during the previous three seasons for the Horned Frogs (6-0, 3-0 Big 12), but nothing quite like this. Through six games, he has completed 69.5 percent of his passes for 1,591 yards with a 16-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
Against Oklahoma State, Duggan found Jared Wiley for a game-tying, 10-yard touchdown pass with 1:57 left in regulation, then connected with Quentin Johnston for a 25-yard score to start overtime. After the Cowboys rallied with a touchdown and then a field goal on their possession in the second overtime, Kendre Miller sealed the outcome with a 2-yard touchdown run.
It was yet another notch in the belt of the senior QB who lost his starting job before the season opener at Colorado but regained it when Chandler Morris sprained his left knee. Duggan appears to be in no danger of giving the reins back anytime soon.
“Max Duggan continues to play as good a football as any quarterback I’ve ever been around,” first-year TCU coach Sonny Dykes said.
Duggan is getting help. Miller is on pace to rush for more than 1,150 yards, while Johnston could eclipse 1,000 yards receiving. That helps explain why the Horned Frogs rank third in FBS in scoring at 45.8 points per game.
Meanwhile, Kansas State (5-1, 3-0) is coming off an open date after squeaking past Iowa State 10-9 on Oct. 8 in Ames, Iowa. Since a 17-10 loss on Sept. 17 to Tulane, now ranked 25th, the Wildcats have logged close wins over Oklahoma, Texas Tech and the Cyclones.
Those results took a lot out of Kansas State physically, but coach Chris Klieman and some of his players feel the bye week came at just the right time.
“I think a lot of people will be coming back rejuvenated,” Wildcats nose guard Eli Huggins said. “It was just a good break, physically and mentally, to get away from it for a second.”
It’s back to the grind for the Wildcats. The good news is they have a quarterback capable of matching Duggan bullet for bullet if this becomes a shootout. Nebraska transfer Adrian Martinez accounted for 323 total yards at Iowa State, including an 81-yard touchdown pass to Phillip Brooks two minutes into the game.
Martinez has thrown 138 passes without an interception this season, completing 62.3 percent of them, and is on pace to rush for 1,000 yards for the first time in his five years.
Kansas State owns an 8-7 edge on TCU in the all-time series, including a 31-12 win last year in Manhattan, Kan.
–Field Level Media