TCU dropped its first game of the season, a 31-28 overtime thriller to No. 10 Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. But it was not for lack of effort from TCU quarterback Max Duggan, who finished 18-of-36 passing for 251 yards with one touchdown against one interception while rushing for another 110 yards and one touchdown on 15 carries.
The Heisman Trophy hopeful helped the Horned Frogs storm back from an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit, leading back-to-back scoring drives to force overtime, including an eight-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the final five minutes. On the game-tying touchdown drive, Duggan rushed for 95 yards and a touchdown and connected with Jared Wiley for the two-point conversion.
But the Horned Frogs came up empty in overtime as running back Kendre Miller was stuffed on back-to-back runs from the 1-yard line after Duggan came just inches shy of scoring his second rushing touchdown of the night. Kansas State kicker Ty Zentner then connected on a 31-yard field goal to seal the win for the Wildcats.
Duggan was emotional when he met with the media after the game to discuss the Horned Frogs’ first loss of the season, the uncertainty surrounding their College Football Playoff hopes, his desire to bring TCU a championship, and more. Here is everything the TCU quarterback had to say in his postgame press conference.
On their first loss of the season coming in such a hard-fought game, and what the reaction was like in the locker room after the game:
“Yeah, I think guys are upset. You know, there’s a lot of emotion in the locker room. Sorry. But I think Coach Dykes talked about, you know, we still have – wherever we go, we still have a game to play. So, it’s going to hurt. Let it fuel you. But we got to get back to work.”
On what was going through his head during the game-tying touchdown drive in the fourth quarter:
“Yeah, it was just, we knew what they were going to be in. We were down by eight at that point, I think. You know, the time is kind of getting low or going down, so it was just trying to make a play, trying to give us a shot to maybe go into overtime, maybe get the ball back, go win it, things of that sort. So, just trying to make a play. Obviously, I was a little tired, but I think everybody else was. And I wasn’t going to come out. I wasn’t going to pout. I wasn’t going to make it try to impact us because there was guys on our side that were giving everything they’ve got.”
On what the feeling was like not having a moment to catch his breath before the game-tying two-point conversion attempt:
“Yeah, you just go back to preparation. You know, you don’t let any of the emotion take over. I think the O-line did a phenomenal job of getting me right, continuing to talk to me, and just playing that play. You know, I think it just comes down to preparation, and we’ve ran it so many times. And be in the moment, be where your two feet are.”
On his emotions and thoughts about wanting to get into the College Football Playoff but no longer having the ability to control their own destiny:
“Yeah, we got beat today, and now it’s out of our hands. That was something that we wanted to do was to be in control. Big congrats to Kansas State, they earned it today. They won that game. They deserved it. They played well today. But yeah, now it’s out of our hands, so all we can do is kind of watch.”
On how he is feeling physically after the game:
“Yeah, I’m alright. I’ll be alright. I’ll be fine.”
On if he feels that TCU should be in the Playoff:
“I don’t even know right now. You know, I think if we got in, we would give one heck of a fight, and I think our competitiveness would take over, things of that sort. But I’m just, yeah, I don’t know. I wanted that one really bad.”
On what it would mean to get to bring TCU to the Playoff after everything that he and the program have been through in the past four years:
“Yeah, just a lot of pride, I think, for our fanbase, for our team, if we were able to do that, you know. There’s nothing more that I wanted to bring this school than a championship. You know, today, we fell short. I didn’t make enough plays to help us offensively to kind of put us in that spot. But, you know, there’s nothing more that I want than to get this school a championship.”
On if he thought he had scored on second down in overtime where he was called just short, and if he wanted to try to score himself on the fourth-down play:
“They didn’t call me in, so I didn’t score. And at that point, I don’t really care. I could be standing on the sideline. I just wanted to make sure we won.”
On if his emotion pouring out in the postgame press conference is a product of the anxiety and uncertainty with TCU’s Playoff hopes:
“I think just since my four years that I’ve been here, it’s been a lot of lows, at least in a football career. And then just to be so close to bringing this school, this university, a championship – you know, the seniors on this team, the guys that have been through a lot. I think that’s where it’s the most is that you’re just… you’ve been so down before, so low, to get so close and fall short, I think that’s where it’s coming from.”
On how to bounce back from this loss and regroup as both an individual and as a team:
“Yeah, you know, it’s going to hurt, but no one is going to feel sorry for us. And I wouldn’t expect anyone to feel sorry for us. So, once we find out where we’re going, we’re going to erase this. You know, it’s going to hurt for a couple days, but we gotta erase it because no one else is going to care. No one cares that we got beat today.”
On what people watching TCU play for the first time today should have taken away from watching the effort that he and his teammates gave:
“I think the love that we’ve got for each other, the love that we’ve got for this university, for this school, to be proud of the team that’s out there on the field. You know, I know we came short, but this team competes. They fight. They fight for each other. They fight for this university. And there’s nothing more that we wanted for each other and for this school, and we fell short, so we’re sorry for that.”
On if he follows the rankings to see where they are ranked and who they are battling with:
“Yeah, I don’t really care, especially at this moment. Wherever they tell us we’re playing, that’s where we’ll go play.”