It’s just like we’ve been saying for weeks: It’s time the rest of the country started paying attention to the upstart Big 12 team that’s opened the season 4-0 and deserves to be ranked.
After finishing last season 5-7 and firing Gary Patterson, the Horned Frogs were hardly considered contenders in the Big 12 this season, but Sonny Dykes has clearly injected some life into the offense, and Max Duggan has emerged as one of the nation’s most productive QBs.
If you weren’t a believer before Saturday, the 27 points TCU hung on Oklahoma in the first quarter should’ve had you convinced. And if you’ve ever wondered how many big plays are needed before Brent Venables’ head explodes, well, this game certainly took a swing at providing an answer.
Taye Barber has no one anywhere near him downfield as he hauls in the 73-yard touchdown.
TCU racked up 668 yards in the 55-24 win, including four plays of 60 yards or more.
Duggan was sublime, throwing for 302 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 116 yards and two more scores. If the stat line looked familiar for Sooners fans, it should. In the playoff era, the only other Big 12 QB with 300 pass yards, 100 rush yards, three pass TDs and two on the ground in the same game was Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts in 2019. Duggan is just the eighth player in the playoff era from any conference to hit those marks against a Power 5 foe.
So, if Oklahoma can officially be scratched off the list of playoff contenders, is it time to start thinking about TCU as a possible Big 12 champ?
This is the Horned Frogs’ first 4-0 start since 2017 and they now have notable wins vs. the Sooners and SMU. They’ve put up 38 points in each of their first four games and, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, the 55 points vs. Oklahoma marked the most allowed by the Sooners since the 2019 Peach Bowl. That one came against Joe Burrow and LSU. The last time Oklahoma allowed 55 or more against an unranked foe was 2016. That one came against Patrick Mahomes. Yikes.
Still, for all the deserved attention TCU’s big win will get, it’s worth noting the Horned Frogs couldn’t deliver on their mid-game trolling. The family of Roger Maris will now need to attend every TCU game until the Horned Frogs score 62.
Who hits 62 first?
— TCU Football (@TCUFootball) October 1, 2022
Beyond TCU and Oklahoma, a few other Week 5 games offered some insight into this season’s contenders and pretenders.
The Ole Miss defense delivered a brutal blow to Kentucky‘s SEC hopes. Purdue snuffed out the early season buzz surrounding Minnesota. And Michigan slugged its way to an impressive win on the road at Iowa.
Kentucky had its chances to pull off a road win, but an early safety left Will Levis‘ finger crooked, and two late fumbles deep in Ole Miss territory proved the difference in the 22-19 Ole Miss win.
— Green Light with Chris Long (@greenlight) October 1, 2022
Minnesota was without star running back Mohamed Ibrahim, and it showed. The Golden Gophers, who’d been among the most prolific offensive teams in the country through four weeks, mustered just 47 yards on the ground in a 20-10 loss to the Boilermakers.
And Iowa’s plan to lull Michigan to sleep by playing offense failed miserably. The Hawkeyes punted on each of their first five full drives, which is usually a winning formula, but not against Blake Corum, who carried 29 times for 133 yards and a touchdown in Michigan’s 27-14 win.
The most college football thing to happen Saturday
Unfortunately, the throw that’ll likely show up most on SportsCenter this week wasn’t one to remember. Jurkovec was essentially in a full-on Neo-in-The Matrix position as he tossed the ball backward in the general direction of running back Pat Garwo III. From there, it got silly.
This was ugly. Like real ugly.
Trying to avoid the sack, BC QB Phil Jurkovec threw the ball away, but it went backwards.
BC RB Pat Garwo III tried to recover the now-fumble. Instead, though, Louisville’s YaYa Diaby hopped on it.
Third Eagles turnover of the game. pic.twitter.com/QZTmULRBYQ
— Andy Backstrom (@andybackstrom) October 1, 2022
But hey, all’s well that ends well. Malik Cunningham scored two plays later to give Louisville the lead, but the Cardinals couldn’t hold on, as Boston College earned its first ACC win of the season.
Under-the-radar game of the day
Crusaders QB Matthew Sluka threw for 300 yards and two TDs, while Jalen Coker caught 10 balls for 166 yards in the win. It marked the first time Harvard lost a game by more than one possession since its 2019 opener.
Holy Cross is now 5-0, including a road win against FBS Buffalo last month, giving the Crusaders a pretty good case as the Commonwealth’s top team. Holy Cross has head-to-head wins over Merrimack and Harvard now, and both BC and UMass are below .500 for the season. That leaves Stonehill (3-0) as the only other contender, and frankly, we just learned that Stonehill was in Massachusetts.
Big bets and bad beats
There’s no such thing as easy money, but the service academies at least offer something close. Air Force hosted Navy on Saturday in the first Commander’s Cup matchup of the season, and that means it’s time to throw some money on the under. What was the total? Doesn’t matter. Whatever the total is, bet the under. In the playoff era, the under in Commander’s Cup games is 22-2-1, and it’s hit 77% of the time.
In this case, the the total closed at 38. It’s a low number. Low enough to worry about the under? Heck, no.
OK, so you bet the under, then Air Force found the end zone on its opening drive on a 67-yard pass play. Now you’re worried, right? Ah, still no.
Of the remaining 19 drives in the game, 10 ended with punts. The others: a Navy touchdown, two field goals (including one after Navy got the ball deep in Air Force territory), a turnover on downs, two fumbles (including one in the red zone), a missed field goal and a seven-play drive that chewed up the final 3:49 of the game.
That, friends, is a recipe for another under. Final score: Air Force 13, Navy 10.
The under has now covered in nine straight games that featured two of the three service academies, and 14 of the last 15.