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Big 12 Preview Series: TCU has the Defense, but Duggan’s Absence Creates Questions

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(photo via gofrogs.com)

WVSN’s Big 12 Preview Series will give a snapshot of all nine of WVU football’s Big 12 opponents throughout this week. The schedule for this week is:

Monday: Baylor and Iowa State
Tuesday: Kansas and Kansas State
Wednesday: Oklahoma and Oklahoma State
Thursday: TCU and  Texas
Friday: Texas Tech

For one of the few times in his coaching career, Gary Patterson led TCU to a losing 5-7 (3-6 Big 12) record in 2019.

The Horned Frogs were competitive last season but went 1-6 in games decided by seven or fewer points. With the returners TCU was bringing back in 2020, it looked like they would easily be able to improve on their record.

Defensively, TCU brings back the Big 12’s leading tackler from 2019, linebacker Garret Wallow, as well as the safety tandem of Ar’Darius Washington and Trevon Moehrig, who combined for nine interceptions and 13 pass breakups last season. Wallow led the conference with 125 tackles while also recording 18 tackles for loss. During Big 12 Football Media Day on Big 12 Now, Wallow said he expects teams to play him differently this season.

“It’s just all hard work and preparation,” Wallow said of continuing his success. “Constantly just working and trying to be the best person that I can be and be the best player I can be. I can’t control how other teams see me, I can only control how I perform on Saturdays.”

With a stout defense returning, the question marks for TCU are on offense in 2020. Quarterback Max Duggan was a finalist for the Big 12’s Offensive Freshman of the Year last season, but it is not certain if he will play this year after it was discovered he has a heart condition over the offseason. TCU also lost its leading receiver, Jalen Reagor, and leading rusher, Darius Anderson, after 2019.

Former Georgia walk-on Matthew Downing is expected to start at quarterback for the Horned Frogs, but with no college experience, it is all up in the air. TCU might not even be able to play a game before Big 12 play starts as its season opener against SMU scheduled for Sept. 12 was postponed.

Five Key Departures:

QB Max Duggan

  • Out indefinitely with a heart condition
  • Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year finalist in 2019
  • 2,077 passing yards, 53.4% completion, 15 TD, 10 INT
  • 555 rushing yards, 6 TD

WR Jalen Reagor

  • 2nd Team All-Big 12 WR in 2019
  • 2nd Team All-Big 12 KR/PR in 2019
  • 43 rec., 611 yards, 5 TD
  • 2 kick return TD

CB Jeff Gladney

  • 1st Team All-Big 12 in 2019
  • 31 tackles, 1 INT, 14 PBU

DT Ross Blacklock

  • 1st Team All-Big 12 in 2019
  • Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year finalist in 2019
  • 40 tackles, 9 TFL, 3.5 sacks

LG Cordel Iwuagwu

  • Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2019
  • 33 career starts

Top Five Returners:

LB Garret Wallow

  • 1st Team All-Big 12 in 2019
  • Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year finalist in 2019
  • Preseason All-Big 12 in 2020
  • 125 tackles, 18 TFL, 3.5 sacks

S Ar’Darius Washington

  • Big 12 Defensive Freshman of the Year in 2019
  • 46 tackles, 5 INT, 2 PBU

S Trevon Moehrig

  • 1st Team All-Big 12 in 2019
  • Preseason All-Big 12 in 2020
  • 62 tackles, 4 INT, 11 PBU

DT Corey Bethley

  • Big 12 Honorable Mention in 2019
  • 20 tackles, 4 TFL, 2.5 sacks

TE Pro Wells

  • 2nd Team All-Big 12 in 2019
  • 17 rec., 196 yards, 5 TD

Schedule:

  • Sept. 11 vs SMU (postponed)
  • Sept. 26 vs Iowa State
  • Oct. 3 at Texas
  • Oct. 10 vs Kansas State
  • Oct. 24 vs Oklahoma
  • Oct. 31 at Baylor
  • Nov. 7 vs Texas Tech
  • Nov. 14 at WVU
  • Nov. 28 at Kansas
  • Dec. 5 vs Oklahoma State
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Cody spent the last two years getting his master's degree in journalism from WVU. He graduated from Slippery Rock University in 2018 with a degree in digital media production. He was born and raised in Mercer, Pennsylvania.

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