Iowa State Cyclones

Iowa State football: 5 things to know about TCU

Horned Frogs haven't named a starting QB for Saturday

TCU quarterback Max Duggan (15) carries during an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday
TCU quarterback Max Duggan (15) carries during an NCAA college football game against Oklahoma in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019. (Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press)

AMES — Iowa State (0-1) begins its Big 12 football schedule this Saturday at TCU (0-0). The game kicks off at 12:30 p.m. on FS1.

Here are five things to know about the Horned Frogs.

1. Question at quarterback

When TCU went through its preseason COVID-19 testing, it found something in sophomore quarterback Max Duggan’s heart.

The Council Bluffs native had a procedure to correct the defect he’s had since birth immediately.

 

Coach Gary Patterson said at the time that Duggan would be out indefinitely.

During the weekly Big 12 teleconference on Monday, Patterson revealed that Duggan has been practicing for the last two weeks.

Duggan hasn’t had the time that Georgia transfer Matthew Downing and junior college transfer Stephon Brown have had to prepare, but Patterson left the door open for Duggan to play against Iowa State on Saturday.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“I don’t know who we’ll start,” Patterson said. “Downing’s been the guy that’s really slung the ball really well. Now we have three quarterbacks and all of them have a part in a package in the game plan.”

Duggan was 17 of 25 for 219 yards, two touchdowns and no picks in a 49-24 loss to the Cyclones last year.

2. TCU’s season opener

TCU, like many teams, has had game after game rescheduled in the early part of the season because of COVID-19. The nonconference game it finally settled on, against SMU, didn’t happen because of an outbreak within the TCU team.

Because of the postponement, TCU will open its season by hosting Iowa State on Saturday.

“We wanted to have an early ballgame because then you can fix the things you weren’t good at,” Patterson said. “Hopefully with the extra time we’ve had, we’ve been able to fix some of those things as well as possible. The area of most growth for teams is usually between their first and second game because you learn so much about yourself. We don’t have that so we have had to try and fix it ourselves.”

3. Safety net

TCU had the two best safeties in the nation last season, according to Pro Football Focus, and the Horned Frogs return both.

Trevon Moehrig was the No. 1-ranked safety last season. He was second on the team in tackles with 62 but he really shined in coverage. The junior had 11 pass breakups and four interceptions. Moehrig allowed just two catches all season.

His counterpart, sophomore Ar’Darius Washington, led TCU in interceptions with five and he was third on the team in tackles with 46. Washington was the Big 12’s freshman defensive player of the year.

4. Social awareness

Many coaches around college football found themselves in hot water this summer for using racial slurs, discriminating against Black players or being socially unaware.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz, Clemson’s Dabo Swinney, Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy and TCU’s Gary Patterson all fall in that boat and all still have head coaching jobs after current and former players called them out.

TCU linebacker Dylan Jordan wrote on Twitter in early August that Patterson used the n-word when asking Jordan to stop using the n-word in the team meeting room.

 

Patterson immediately sent an apology saying, in part, “I apologize for the use of a word that, in any context, is unacceptable. I have always encouraged our players to do better and be better and I must live by the same standards. Our players, past and present, have always been the strength of our program. These men are and will always be my motivation and driving force.”

Jordan is still a member of TCU’s team.

5. Legacy on special teams

J.D. Spielman, the son of Minnesota Vikings general manger Rick Spielman and the nephew of former NFL linebacker Chris Spielman, transferred to TCU from Nebraska in the offseason.

J.D. Spielman is an undersized, versatile offensive and special teams weapon at 5-foot-9. Even though he’s small, he’s able to make plays — earning All-Big Ten honors in all three seasons he was at Nebraska.

“He has a chance to be our starting punt returner. He’s a good specialist. Then we have Taye Barber and Derius Davis that are also at his position. But he gives us a lot more flexibility to go to different personnel groupings. I can tell you this much, he loves playing the game.”

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

While his playmaking is impressive, Patterson, a known musician, has been impressed with Spielman’s off-field endeavors.

“I don’t know if you’ve listened to his music, but he records music and we’ve played a couple of his songs at practice on our playlist,” said Patterson, who is putting together an album of his own. “He really does a great job at that. He’s been a great addition to TCU. It’s been fun for us to have him.”

l Comments: benv43@gmail.com

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.