The TCU Season Lives On


TCU plays Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship. Photo by Harrison Kemmer ’23.

Harrison Kemmer, Managing Editor

The Hypnotoad. House of Duggan. It’s always Sonny in Fort Worth. Frogs by 90. It was always the Frogs. Mad Max. The year of the comeback. Bazooka. Hypnotoad in a hurry. These are all slogans that describe the most unlikely College Football Playoff National Championship Finalist ever: the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs. At 200-1 odds to win the championship at the beginning of the season, TCU exceeded everybody’s expectations and made it to the big game in Los Angeles, California. This included replacing the most successful coach in program history and bringing the Heisman runner up off the bench in the first game of the season. TCU gave fans the most memorable season of their lives, and I, as one of them, will feel that impact for the rest of my life. 

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 2D, 2022 – 9 PM: TCU at COLORADO  TCU opened their season against the Colorado Buffaloes in Boulder. TCU fans were going into the season hoping to appear in a bowl game after three years of lackluster performances. Neither team was ranked and the game was on a Friday night, so it didn’t get much if any national attention. After a rain delay, the season finally started, and neither team hit it off. With a halftime score of 7-6 in TCU’s favor, it looked as if TCU’s offense would continue to struggle for the rest of the game. Chandler Morris started at QB and played decent, as he threw for 111 yards and ran for 18. Unfortunately, he hurt his knee in the red zone in the third quarter of the game, and TCU had to put in three-year starter Max Duggan at QB. As soon as he entered the game, the offense clicked. The team was able to run all over the field and won with a final score of 38-13. Against a poor Colorado team, this was expected. But then again, TCU had only won 16 games in the last three seasons combined, so it was a good win. 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2022 – 11 AM: 18 OKLAHOMA at TCU After beating head coach Sonny Dykes’ former team, the SMU Mustangs, TCU had a tough home test against a team that has historically owned the Frogs: the Oklahoma Sooners. OU was 10-1 vs TCU since the Frogs joined the Big 12 in 2012, and fans didn’t have much reason to think anything other than a Sooners’ victory would occur. However, from the second drive on, TCU was in full control of the game, as they jumped out to a 27-10 lead in the first quarter. Even though TCU had this huge lead, there was nervous energy in the building, as everyone was waiting for OU to punch back and take the lead. That never occurred, as TCU won 55-24 behind Max Duggan’s 302 passing yards, 116 rushing yards, and five total touchdowns. 

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 15, 2022 – 2:30 PM: 8 OKLAHOMA STATE at 13 TCU After finally gaining national recognition after wins against number 18 OU and on the road during College Gameday at number 19 Kansas, TCU was climbing up the rankings. Everyone knew that OSU coming to Amon G. Carter Stadium would be the team’s toughest test yet, but TCU was confident. OSU came out of the gates rolling and had a 24-13 lead at halftime. TCU couldn’t get anything going offensively, and the defense looked like they were in for a rough day at the office. However, even playing as badly as the Frogs had in that half, the team was only down 11. The third quarter was a defensive battle, and TCU went into the fourth down 14. This is where everything changed for the Horned Frogs: they started to lean on the running game and scored 14 unanswered points to push the game to overtime. The first overtime solved nothing, and  OSU scored three points in the first possession in the second overtime. TCU never blinked and Kendre Miller ran it in from the two yard line to give TCU the 43-40 victory. As fans rushed the field, everyone realized something amazing was about to happen in Fort Worth. 

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 12, 2022 – 6:30 PM: 4 TCU at 18 TEXAS TCU went into Austin as a 7.5 point underdog. After beating Kansas State, West Virginia, and Texas Tech, all in comeback fashion, TCU was still earning little respect from the bookies in Vegas. What was expected to be a classic, Big 12 offensive onslaught by both teams, turned into a defensive showcase. With no points scored on either side in the first quarter, TCU went into halftime with a 3-0 lead over the Longhorns. The defensive battle continued for much of the third until Kendre Miller broke off a 75-yard touchdown run. UT responded with a field goal and the game was 10-3 going into the final quarter. After Quentin Johnston caught a 31-yard touchdown from Max Duggan, the game looked to be out of reach at 17-3. However, TCU fumbled and Texas returned it 48 yards for a touchdown. The last four minutes of the game were a nervous time for both teams, but TCU left Austin with a 17-10 victory over rival Texas. 

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19, 2022 – 11 AM: 4 TCU at BAYLOR TCU knew they could not overlook the Bears. They were the Frogs biggest rival and TCU had knocked them out of the playoff race the year before. Baylor was looking for revenge. So, naturally, Baylor and TCU were tied at 14 going into halftime. TCU scored six points after a missed PAT by Griffin Kell to go into the fourth quarter with a 20-14 lead over Baylor. This is where TCU collapsed. Baylor scored 14 unanswered points and led 28-20 going into the final minutes of the game. Most TCU fans were trying to come to terms with the playoff now being out of reach, as TCU would fall to 10-1 on the season. Max Duggan proceeded to solidify himself as one of the best QBs TCU has ever had in the remaining part of the game. He led TCU down the field and Emari Demercado ran it in for a three yard touchdown. TCU failed on the two point conversion, and the defense had to stop the Bears one more time. They did and Duggan led the Frogs into field goal range to convert the most hectic attempt I have ever seen: AKA Bazooka. The Frogs won 29-28 and stayed in the running for the CFP. 

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 3RD, 2022 – 11 AM: 10 KANSAS STATE vs 3 TCUTCU finished the regular season at 12-0 after destroying Iowa State, so they earned a spot in the Big 12 Championship game. After beating Kansas State 38-28 in Fort Worth earlier in the season, TCU knew the game at Jerryworld would be a tough test. The offense was not at its best in the first half, as K-State went into halftime up 14-10. After coming back in almost half their games this season, TCU was not concerned going into the second half. However, TCU’s defense had some untimely let ups in the second half, and TCU went into their final drive down 28-20. Max Duggan then had one of the best drives I have ever seen a single quarterback have. He ran for 95 total yards and a touchdown. He was bleeding from the elbow and was having trouble bleeding, but this was a Heisman moment if I had ever seen one. K-State won the game in overtime on a field goal, but TCU still made the playoff as the number three seed. 

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31ST, 2022 – 3 PM: 3 TCU vs 2 MICHIGAN The day was finally here. TCU arrived in Glendale at 12-1 and was ready to represent the state of Texas, as they were the first Texas team to make the CFP. For weeks, all TCU had heard was how Michigan was going to run all over their 3-3-5. Michigan ran for 54 yards on the first play from scrimmage, but, after that, TCU was able to dominate the Wolverines o-line. On offense, it was as if everyone had been shot out of a cannon, as the Frogs raced out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and a 21-6 lead going into halftime. Michigan fought back in the third quarter to make it 41-30 with TCU in the lead going into the fourth. That third quarter was one of the most exciting quarters I have ever seen, as both offenses went back and forth. Emari Demarcado took over for the injured Kendre Miller and rushed for a game total of 150 yards, including a 69 yard run that sparked TCU. Going into the third, tension was high, but if TCU’s defense could just step up, they would be heading to the national championship for the first time since 1938. Going into Michigan’s final drive, the Wolverines were down 51-45. TCU forced Michigan into a fourth and long, and a bad snap and great tackle propelled TCU to LA as the Fiesta Bowl Champions. 

MONDAY, JANUARY 9TH, 2023 – 6:30 PM: 3 TCU vs 1 GEORGIATCU was flying high going into the Natty and Georgia had just beaten Ohio State by one in the Peach Bowl. I thought TCU was going to win, but I certainly thought we would put up a fight. TCU got the ball first and went three and out. That was OK though, because most teams would get jitters. Next thing everyone knew was that Georgia was up 10-0. TCU brought it to 10-7 and never scored again. The Frogs lost 65-7, but the season was definitely a success, as TCU went from 200-1 to the championship. 

As a whole, I hope that people remember the season as a success, and not just the disappointing ending. I will always remember this season, and I will always be grateful to TCU for such a magical season.