‘One more to play for a championship’: TCU enters Big 12 title game undefeated


Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, Max Duggan and fourth-ranked TCU can now look forward to the Big 12 championship game as it is next. There’s still a lot to play for after a big statement to end an undefeated regular season.

“Every game, we have a lot of doubters,” said Hodges-Tomlinson, the fourth-year cornerback. “We know what kind of team we have. We showed it consistently 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, moving them closer to making the four-team College Football Playoff.

Get past No. 15 Kansas State in the Big 12 championship game next Saturday, and there will be no question for TCU.

“It means we have one more to play for a championship,” said Duggan, who threw three TDs to different receivers. “It’s the next game and I don’t think we’re going to have to make any bigger deals than we need to. … Same mentality.”

Highlights: No. 4 TCU vs. Iowa State

Highlights: No.  4 TCU vs.  Iowa State

See all the keys to the Horned Frogs’ dominating victory.

The Frogs (12-0, 9-0 Big 12, No. 4 CFP), in coach Sonny Dykes’ first season, are one of three remaining undefeated teams.

A week after scoring nine points in the final 2 minutes, 7 seconds at Baylor and getting the game-ending field goal as timeouts and the clock expired, TCU led 17-0 with results in each of their three matches against. the top defense in the Big 12.

“It’s good to finally play a game like this. It’s been a while,” Dykes said.

Iowa State (4-8, 1-8) had given up 16.5 points per game, most were 31 and only two teams scored more than 24.

“Hats off to TCU. I mean, honestly, one of the best teams we’ve played in the last five or 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 their Big 12 opener on Oct. 1, led 24-0 late in the first quarter. Millard Bradford’s 36-yard interception return for his first defensive touchdown this season. Josh Newton added another with his 57-yard pick and score after halftime.

It was Iowa State’s most lopsided loss since 55-3 in the regular-season finale at TCU in 2014, the inaugural season of the four-team playoff and when there was no Big title game 12.

One-loss TCU entered this game ranked No. 3, but fell to the final No. 6 CFP ranking the next day. It was one spot below Baylor, the only team to beat the Frogs. Ohio State was fourth after a 59-0 victory in the Big Ten title game.

Texas was the last Big 12 team with an undefeated regular season, in 2009, when it won the conference championship game but lost in the BCS National Championship Game. Oklahoma went undefeated in the Big 12 in 2016 after starting 1-2 in non-conference games.

MILLER IN THE ZONE (END).

Miller’s 25-yard TD run in the first quarter marked his 13th straight game with a rushing touchdown, the longest active streak in the nation. The school record is 15 in a row set in 2000 by LaDainian Tomlinson, the cornerback’s uncle. He added a 1-yard score, his 16th of the season, on fourth down late in the first half for a 34-7 lead.

WITHOUT Q

While standout wide receiver Quentin Johnston was held out by a nagging ankle injury, Duggan completed 17 of 24 passes for 212 yards, with 10 different players making those catches. Dykes said Johnston went through warmups without any problems and was available, but TCU wanted to try to keep him as healthy as possible next week.

THE TAKE AWAY

Iowa State: The Cyclones had allowed a combined 24 points in the first quarter of their previous 11 games. … It’s their first losing record since 3-9 in Campbell’s debut in 2016 after taking over a team coming off six straight losing seasons.

“I feel like this team has battled, scratched and ripped in every way,” Campbell said. “Our tank was around the E.”

TCU: The last time the Frogs went this far into a season undefeated was in 2010, then in the Mountain West, when they finished 13-0 and ranked No. 2 nationally after winning the Rose Bowl.

IMPLICATIONS OF THE SURVEY

With No. 2 Ohio State’s 45-23 home loss to No. 3 Michigan, the Horned Frogs should move up one spot in the new AP poll on Sunday. That could also be the case with Tuesday’s new CFP rankings.

Report from The Associated Press.

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