#3 TCU Horned Frogs

Ryan Martin

#3 TCU Horned Frogs

TCU comes into the championship game having proved doubters wrong all season. The Horned Frogs finished last season without even being bowl game-eligible (requiring at least 6 wins on the season), boasting a 5-7 record that was good enough for 8th in the talented Big 12 Conference. The record does come with the asterisk of having a head coach that left mid-season: After 21 seasons with TCU, Gary Patterson resigned in October 2022 when told his contract would not be renewed after the season. New head coach Sonny Dykes has now turned the program around to the tune of a 13-1 record heading into the year’s final game.

Dykes has relied on senior quarterback Max Duggan to lead the Horned Frogs this year. A QB who started games since arriving to Fort Worth, Texas in 2019, Duggan posted career highs in completion percentage, yards, and touchdowns this season.

Alongside Duggan offensively is star wide receiver Quentin Johnston. The junior is expected by many NFL scouts to be the first pass catcher to come off the board in this April’s draft.

Both Duggan (225 yards, 2 touchdowns, 122.4 passer rating) and Johnston (6 catches, 163 yards, touchdown) balled out in TCU’s 51-45 upset over #2 Michigan in this year’s Fiesta Bowl. Duggan and the Horned Frogs offense got off to a 21-6 lead at halftime, but saw a back-and-forth shootout in the second half as a combined 69 points were scored between the two teams. Will TCU be able to put up those video game-like numbers tonight against one of the nation’s toughest defenses?