TCU finishes undefeated regular season with rout of Iowa State
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Tre Tomlinson, Max Duggan and fourth-ranked TCU can now look forward to the Big 12 championship game since that is next. There is even much more to play for after quite a statement to finish an undefeated regular season
“Coming into every game, we have lot of doubters,” Tomlinson said. “We know what type of team we have. We showcased it constantly and we’re an undefeated team.”
Kendre Miller ran for two touchdowns as the Horned Frogs completed the first undefeated regular season by a Big 12 team since 2009 with a 62-14 victory over Iowa State on Saturday, getting them closer to making the four-team College Football Playoff.
Win the Big 12 championship next Saturday, and there will be no question about that.
“It means we’ve got one more to play for a championship,” said Max Duggan, who threw three TDs to different receivers. “It’s the next game and I don’t think we’re supposed to make any bigger deal than we need to. ... Same mindset.”
The Frogs (12-0, 9-0 Big 12, No. 4 CFP), in coach Sonny Dykes’ first season, are one of only three undefeated teams remaining.
A week after having to score nine points in the final 2 minutes, 7 seconds at Baylor, and getting the game-ending field goal when out of timeouts and the clock running, TCU led 17-0 with scores on each of its three drives against the Big 12′s top defense.
“It’s good to finally kind of play a game like that. It’s been a while,” Dykes said.
Iowa State (4-8, 1-8) had given up 16.5 points a game, the most being 31 and with only two teams scoring more than 24.
“Hats off to TCU. I mean, quite honestly, one of the best teams we’ve played in the last five, six years,” Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said. “Just a complete team.”
The Frogs, who hadn’t won a game by more than 10 points since its Big 12 opener Oct. 1, led 24-0 at the end of the first quarter on Millard Bradford’s 36-yard interception return for their first defensive touchdown this season. Josh Newton added another one with his 57-yard pick and score after halftime.
It was the most-lopsided loss for Iowa State since 55-3 in the regular-season finale at TCU in 2014, the inaugural season for the four-team playoff and when there was no Big 12 title game.
One-loss TCU went into that game No. 3, but dropped to sixth in the final CFP rankings the next day. That was one spot below one-loss Baylor, the only team to beat the Frogs. Ohio State was fourth after a 59-0 win in the Big Ten title game.
Texas was the last Big 12 team with an undefeated regular season, in 2009, when they won the conference championship game but lost in the BCS National Championship Game. Oklahoma was undefeated in Big 12 games in 2016 after starting 1-2 in non-conference games.
MILLER IN THE (END) ZONE
Miller’s 25-yard TD run in the first quarter marked his 13th consecutive game with a rushing touchdown, the nation’s longest active streak. He added a 1-yard score, his 16th of the season, on fourth down at the end of the first half for a 34-7 lead.
While standout receiver Quentin Johnston was held out because of a lingering ankle injury, Duggan completed 17 of 24 passes for 212 yards — with 10 different players making those catches. Dykes said Johnston went through warmups with no problem and was available, but that TCU wanted to try to keep him as healthy as possible going into next week.
Iowa State: The Cyclones had allowed 24 points combined in the first quarter of their previous 11 games. ... It is their first losing record since 3-9 in Campbell’s debut in 2016 after taking over a team coming off six consecutive losing seasons.
“I feel like this team has fought, scratched and clawed every way,” Campbell said. “Our tank was on about E.”
TCU: The last time the Frogs got this deep into a season undefeated was 2010, then in Mountain West, when they finished 13-0 and with a No. 2 national ranking after winning the Rose Bowl.
With No. 2 Ohio State’s 45-23 point home loss to No. 3 Michigan, the Horned Frogs should move up a spot in the new AP poll Sunday. That could also be the case in the new CFP rankings Tuesday.
Iowa State: The Cyclones play their 2023 season opener at home vs. Northern Iowa on Sept. 2
TCU: The Frogs only have to go about 20 miles from campus to play the Big 12 championship game at AT&T Stadium.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap_top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/mrxhe6f2