It was another home opening victory for the TCU Horned Frogs (1-0) as they beat the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluffs (0-1) 39-7 Saturday Night at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
Going into the game, it wasn’t clear who the main quarterback was going to be but both were going to have plenty of chances to prove they should be the main guy.
While head coach Gary Patterson alternated between quarterbacks, the offense seemed to struggle to gain any traction in the first half. Senior quarterback Alex Delton led the team to a field-goal, but couldn’t move the offense much in any of his other drives. Meanwhile, freshman quarterback Max Duggan managed to score the only touchdown for TCU with a one-yard quarterback keeper late in the first quarter.
Duggan would lead another drive in the final seconds of the half to get another field goal, giving the Horned Frogs a 16-3 lead at halftime.
The offense had a spark by Delton, who rushed for 54 yards to get the Horned Frogs in position to score. Yet, he couldn’t connect with his receivers and settled for two back-to-back field goals, putting TCU 22-7.
While the offense struggled, the Horned Frogs defense had their way with the Golden Lions offense of UAPB. Yet, as the third quarter wore on, the TCU special teams muffed a punt and coughed up the ball to UAPB. Taking advantage of the best field position they had all night, the Golden Lions scored on a one-yard rushing touchdown by senior running back Keshawn Williams and UAPB finally got on the board.
TCU though would respond when Duggan stepped back into the starting role and hit Jalen Reagor for a 37-yard touchdown pass to put the Horned Frogs up 29-7 as the third quarter ended. TCU would hold on to win and extend their streak of home opening wins to 18.
Duggan was the top passer, going 16 for 23 and throwing for 165 yards and a touchdown. He also added a rushing touchdown as well. Delton was the leading rusher, carrying the ball seven times for 67 yards. Darwin Barlow rushed eight times for 45 yards and scored a late touchdown.
Overall, the defense was the highlight of the team, clamping down on the Golden Lions and really never gave them any room to operate. UAPB only really had one series where they were good and that was because of getting good field position of a muffed punt. The highlight was safety Trevon Moehrig, who picked the ball off and returned it 57 yards. The defense had a total of two turnovers for the game.
The real issues were the stagnant offense that really didn’t get out of its way from the start. The fact that you didn’t have set starting quarterback didn’t help, but the receivers also made their mistakes too. Yet, if you had to pick a quarterback, you had to go with Duggan. He was the quarterback on all three touchdown drives and the offense runs much better with him at the helm.
TCU will now look to take the momentum of winning at home and take it on the road as they travel to face off against Purdue University. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. CST.
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