‘He’s a really athletic quarterback.’ TCU’s Duggan dazzles with TD run in loss at K-State

TCU true freshman quarterback Max Duggan had the play of the game against Kansas State on Saturday. Or so it seemed at the time.

Duggan put together a spectacular 46-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, bouncing off defenders and memorably stiff-arming Wildcats cornerback AJ Parker on his way to the end zone.

The run tied the game at 17-17 and shifted momentum TCU’s way. In the end, though, Duggan’s signature run became a footnote as K-State rallied for a late score and a 24-17 victory.

Still, that play won’t soon be forgotten and showed why Duggan remains the starting quarterback despite TCU’s passing game struggles.

“That was a heckuva play by Max,” senior offensive lineman David Bolisomi said. “He broke at least two tackles, stiff-armed the safety.”

Added senior cornerback Julius Lewis: “Max plays hard and Max practices hard. He comes ready to work every day, so I’m really proud of him.”

Duggan finished with a career-high 115 yards rushing on 13 carries, the first TCU quarterback to rush for 100 yards since Trevone Boykin ran for 124 yards and two TDs at K-State in 2015. Along with his 46-yard scoring run, he also had rushes of 12, 18 and 24 yards.

Duggan’s play earned praise from the Kansas State locker room afterward.

“He’s really good on his feet,” said Wildcats defensive tackle Jordan Mittie, the son of former TCU women’s basketball coach Jeff Mittie (who is now coaching K-State’s women’s team).

“A lot of people think of him just as a thrower, but he’s a really athletic quarterback. He definitely gave us plenty of issues, but y’know I did think we made some adjustments to at least slow him down a little more.”

K-State coach Chris Klieman was impressed too. He went into the game expecting TCU fifth-year senior Alex Delton to be the bigger running threat from the QB position.

“I give Duggan a ton of credit,” Klieman said. “He had shown that [running ability] on film but he’s a tough kid. He’s only a freshman. I thought he played exceptionally well. But all those things said, I think our pass defense is what really won us the football game. Pass rush and pass defense.”

Yes, TCU’s passing game struggled once again.

Duggan finished 16-of-29 passing for 132 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He had just 33 yards passing in the first half and didn’t top the 100-yard mark until TCU’s second to last possession.

Duggan was sacked twice by the Wildcats, including a 9-yard loss on the second to last final possession that severely diminished any hope of the Frogs rallying back to force overtime.

“We’ve got to get to where we throw the ball better,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said.

TCU is averaging just 202 yards passing a game, which is 96th in the country. It’s the fewest yards since TCU threw for 201.1 yards back in 2008.

Asked specifically what has to improve, Patterson said: “I don’t know. We’ve got to look at it and see what we’ve got to do.”

TCU (3-3) faces Texas next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. at Amon G. Carter Stadium in Fort Worth.

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