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Iowa State quarterbacks Hunter Dekkers and Rocco Becht each tossed interceptions that turned into TCU touchdowns. Two special teams gaffes from the Cyclones — giving up a big return and sailing a snap over the punter’s head — set up 10 more points for the Horned Frogs.
And most of the above happened before halftime.
Astonishingly error-prone ISU once again could not get out of its own way Saturday, instead giving fourth-ranked and unbeaten TCU ample assistance in rolling to a 62-14 regular season-closing rout at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth.
“In my opinion (TCU) in the last five years, may be the most complete team that I've seen or we've competed against in the Big 12, but we knew that coming in,” Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell said on the Cyclone Radio Network after his team’s most lopsided defeat in his seven-year tenure in Ames. “As I told our kids last night, all the things that we have lacked — consistency, taking care of the football, if we don't do those things they will make you pay, and (that) reality, from the start of the game to the end of the game, is true.”
Dekkers went 12 of 24 for 106 yards and a touchdown to tight end DeShawn Hanika before suffering a shoulder injury on a third-down conversion run early in the third quarter. Becht replaced Dekkers and drove the Cyclones (4-8, 1-8) inside the TCU 10-yard line but a bad snap proved costly and freshman kicker Jace Gilbert eventually missed a 35-yard field goal try. A Sean Shaw fumble and Becht’s interception returned for a touchdown followed in rapid succession and the Horned Frogs (12-0, 9-0) made an emphatic statement that they firmly belong in the College Football Playoff — as long as they win next week’s Big 12 title game.
TCU quarterback and Council Bluffs Lewis Central grad Max Duggan completed 17 of 24 passes for 212 yards and three touchdowns. He also beat the Cyclones for the first time in his four seasons as a starter.
“You tip your hat to them,” Campbell said. “Very veteran football team. Great quarterback.”
The Cyclones stabilized themselves briefly early in the second quarter when Dekkers connected with Hanika on a 15-yard touchdown pass, but TCU’s Emari Demarcado returned the subsequent kickoff 62 yards to set up a field goal. Then a bad snap on an ISU punt attempt set up the Horned Frogs’ 22-yard touchdown drive that made the score 34-7 at halftime.
So it was one of those Saturdays again for ISU. Deon Silas tacked on a 19-yard touchdown run late for the Cyclones, who saw a season marked by six one-score setbacks end in their biggest blowout loss since a 56-3 drubbing at TCU in 2014.
“There’s a lot of work to be done,” Campbell said of the upcoming offseason. “And quite honestly, there’s the talent in this locker room to get those things done, but it’s gonna take a lot of time, it’s gonna take a lot of work, a lot of effort and a lot of leadership.”