TCU upsets No. 9 Texas, 33-31, leaving Oklahoma State as the lone undefeated Big 12 team

TCU’s dominance over Texas continued on Saturday, and the Big 12’s national contenders are dropping like flies.

The Horned Frogs went into Austin and pulled off a 33-31 upset over the ninth-ranked Longhorns. The winning touchdown was scored when TCU quarterback Max Duggan went untouched on a draw play from 26 yards out, giving his team a 33-29 lead with 4:01 to go.

But the bigger play came on the ensuing drive. The Texas offense quickly marched deep into TCU territory, but Garret Wallow made a tremendous play when Keaontay Ingram dove for the goal line on first-and-goal from the 1-yard line. Ingram extended the ball in an effort to break the plane of the end zone, and Wallow, TCU’s all-conference linebacker, swatted it away and forced a fumble. TCU pounced on the loose ball to regain possession with 2:32 remaining.

From there, the TCU offense got a pivotal first down to take time off the clock. With just a few seconds remaining, TCU kept its offense on the field on fourth down to run out the clock and take a safety to seal the victory — the sixth in its last seven games against Texas.

It was an ugly game, too. The teams combined for a whopping 26 penalties for 201 yards in the latest example of Texas underperforming as a significant favorite against Big 12 competition. Per ESPN, Texas, as a ranked team, has six losses against unranked opponents since 2017, Tom Herman's first season as head coach.

TCU quarterback Max Duggan (15) scores a touchdown on a run against Texas during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
TCU quarterback Max Duggan (15) scores a touchdown on a run against Texas during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Despite the swarm of penalties, this was a pretty back-and-forth game early on. A 45-yard Texas touchdown pass from Sam Ehlinger to Brennan Eagles tied the score at 14 apiece early in the second quarter.

TCU would respond with a field goal, and then tack on one more field goal off of an Ehlinger interception shortly thereafter and take a 20-14 lead into halftime.

In the second half, neither team could pull away. TCU’s biggest lead was 23-14 early in the third, but Ehlinger kept his team close. He threw four touchdown passes on the afternoon, and his seven-yard strike to Malcolm Epps gave Texas a 29-26 lead with 9:56 to play.

The teams traded punts on the ensuing two drives, opening the door for Duggan to give his team the lead. Duggan did not start TCU’s opener after a heart condition was uncovered during the team’s COVID-19 testing. He underwent a procedure and is working his way back to full strength after missing much of the preseason.

He certainly looked back to his usual self on the winning touchdown. Duggan, who led all players with 79 rushing yards, exploded up the middle on a QB draw and scored from 26 yards out. It gave his team the lead for good.

Tough start to the season for the Big 12

The loss for Texas, plus West Virginia’s win over Baylor, means there is just one undefeated team remaining in the Big 12: Oklahoma State. The Cowboys have not exactly been impressive to this point in the season, especially the Week 1 victory over Tulsa. But now Mike Gundy’s group is remarkably in the driver’s seat early on in the 2020 season.

Oklahoma and Texas were considered the two best teams in the conference entering the season, but both have now lost to unranked Big 12 counterparts. For Oklahoma, it was a huge blown lead in a home loss to a depleted Kansas State team last week. Texas nearly suffered its first loss last week, but managed to force overtime and beat Texas Tech, 63-56.

It’s been only three weeks of Big 12 play, and the league looks completely wide open. And if teams like Oklahoma and Texas want to keep any semblance of a chance of reaching the College Football Playoff, they cannot afford any more slip-ups.

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