Kendre Miller ran for two touchdowns as fourth-ranked TCU ended the first undefeated regular season by a Big 12 team since 2009 with a 62-14 win over Iowa State on Saturday and the Horned Frogs advanced to the four-team college football playoffs brought closer .
Max Duggan threw TDs on three receivers for the Frogs (12-0, 9-0 Big 12, No. 4 CFP) who have yet to play the Big 12 championship game next Saturday in coach Sonny Dykes’ first season. But they will go into this match as one of only three remaining undefeated teams.
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A week after TCU had to score nine points in the final 2 minutes and 7 seconds at Baylor and scored the field goal at the end of the game as time-out expired and the clock was ticking, TCU led 17-0 in points the top defense of the Big 12 for each of their three goals.
Iowa State (4-8, 1-8) had dropped 16.5 points per game, most being 31 and only two teams scoring more than 24.
The Frogs led 24-0 by the end of the first quarter after Millard Bradford’s 36-yard interception return for their first defensive touchdown of the season. Josh Newton added another with his 57-yard pick and hit after halftime.
It was the most lopsided loss for Iowa State since 55-3 in the regular season finals at TCU in 2014, the inaugural season for the four-team playoffs and when there was no Big 12 title game.
One-loss TCU went No. 3 into that game but fell back to sixth in the final CFP rankings the next day. That was a one-loss spot below Baylor, the only team to defeat the Frogs. Ohio State finished fourth after a 59-0 win in the Big Ten title game.
Miller’s 25-yard TD streak in the first quarter marked his 13th straight game with a rushing touchdown, the nation’s longest active streak. He added a 1-yard score, his 16th of the season, fourth at the end of the first half for a 34-7 lead.
Duggan hit a wide-open Geor’Quarius Spivey for a 19-yard TD pass on fourth and second in the game’s opening drive. Duggan finished 17 of 24 for 212 yards.
NO. 3 MICHIGAN DOMINATES NO. 2 OHIO STATE IN COLUMBUS, KEEPS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP HOPES ALIVE
The last time the Frogs delved so deeply into an undefeated season was in 2010, back at Mountain West, when they went 13-0 and ranked No. 2 nationally after winning the Rose Bowl.
That was a year after Texas went unbeaten in the regular season, won the Big 12 title game, and then lost in the BCS National Championship Game. Oklahoma was unbeaten in Big 12 games in 2016 after starting 1-2 in non-conference games.
THE TAKE AWAY
State of Iowa: The Cyclones had conceded 24 points in the first quarter of their previous 11 games. … It’s their first losing record since going 3-9 on coach Matt Campbell’s debut in 2016 after he took charge of a team that had gone through six consecutive losing seasons.
TCU: Miller and WR Quentin Johnston (protracted ankle injury) missed the end of the messy comeback against Baylor. Miller was back after making a shot when he made a block early in the second half of that game, despite Johnston not making the regular-season final on the soggy turf. Duggan completed passes to 10 different frogs.
No. 2 Ohio State’s 45-23 point loss at home to No. 3 Michigan should see the Horned Frogs move up a spot in Sunday’s new AP poll. That could also be the case in the new CFP ranking on Tuesday.
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State of Iowa: The Cyclones play their 2023 season opener at home against Northern Iowa on September 2nd
TCU: The Frogs only have to be about 20 miles from campus to play the Big 12 championship game at AT&T Stadium next Saturday.