Duggan, TCU rout No. 18 Oklahoma 55-24 as Gabriel gets hurt

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FORT WORTH, Texas — TCU quarterback Max Duggan outran the Oklahoma defense for a long touchdown and lofted passes to wide-open receivers for other lengthy scores.

Oklahoma’s Dillon Gabriel never got much of a chance to match him.

Duggan went 67 yards for one of his two rushing TDs and threw for three scores, leading the Horned Frogs to a 55-24 rout of the 18th-ranked Sooners on Saturday in a second consecutive loss for first-year coach Brent Venables.

“We’re not very good obviously right now,” Venables said. “We’ve got a lot to get better at. We’ve got to give them answers and we’ve got to help get them better quickly.”

Gabriel was knocked out of the game in the second quarter when he was hit in the head while sliding by TCU linebacker Jamoi Hodge, who was ejected for targeting.

Players had to be separated after Hodge’s hit while Gabriel stayed down for several minutes, surrounded by the medical staff, before the Central Florida transfer walked off the field on his own.

Gabriel remained on the sideline without his helmet, and Venables said after the game his quarterback was being evaluated for a concussion. Pittsburgh transfer Davis Beville replaced Gabriel and struggled.

There was an even longer delay in the fourth quarter when Oklahoma defensive back Damond Harmon was carted off after being immobilized on a stretcher. Harmon flashed a thumbs-up as he was put on the cart in an emotional scene that included Oklahoma linebacker Kelvin Gilliam, a childhood friend and high school teammate, appearing to fight back tears.

Venables said a surgeon on site believed Harmon’s neck was stable, and a precautionary MRI was planned. The coach said Harmon had a history of back issues.

When Lincoln Riley shocked the Sooners by leaving for Southern California, they hired their former defensive coordinator after Venables won two national titles in that role at Clemson.

His defense was no match for Duggan and company as Oklahoma lost consecutive regular-season games for just the second time since 1999. The Sooners (3-2, 0-2 Big 12) opened conference with a home loss to Kansas State.

“We’re just not playing with great cohesion right now,” Venables said. “Giving up big plays on defense and turning the ball over, or just not being efficient on offense, are recipes for disaster.”

It’s the most points Oklahoma has allowed since a 63-28 loss to LSU in the 2019 national semifinals. The Horned Frogs (4-0, 1-0) had four touchdowns of at least 62 yards, topped by Taye Barber‘s 73-yard catch during a 27-point first quarter.

TCU led 41-17 at halftime with 479 yards while finishing with 668 yards in coach Sonny Dykes‘ Big 12 debut after four seasons at crosstown rival SMU.

Kendre Miller ran 69 yards for a touchdown to put TCU up 48-17 early in the second half and finished with 136 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries. The active FBS career leader in yards per carry increased his mark by averaging 10.5 yards.

“Had a bunch of big plays on offense,” Dykes said. “That’s the formula for us right now is if we can make big plays and take care of the ball, then good things are going to happen for us.”

Duggan took off to the right and beat everyone to the sideline on the long score, then added a 35-yard run before capping the final TD drive with a 2-yard run, finishing his day in the third quarter.

“I don’t think really (it’s about) the way we won, it’s just that we won,” said Duggan, who had 302 yards passing and 116 rushing said. “It doesn’t matter how much you win by, how it looks. You get the win, that’s a big deal, especially in this league.”

Both teams had committed just one turnover apiece coming in, but Oklahoma opened with a mistake that would be a sign of things to come. The Sooners won the toss and decided to take the ball instead of deferring, but receiver Marvin Mims fumbled on the third play of the game. TCU took advantage and opened the scoring when Duggan’s 19-yard scoring pass to Savion Williams finished a 46-yard drive.

When the Sooners weren’t being penalized for defensive pass interference (three times in the first quarter), they were leaving receivers wide open in the secondary. Taye was alone on his long TD, as was Gunnar Henderson on a 62-yard score.

Jovantae Barnes had 100 yards rushing and two touchdowns for the Sooners.

THE TAKEAWAY

Oklahoma: This is the second time in three seasons the Sooners have started 0-2 in the Big 12. They rallied to win the league in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, but were never manhandled like this.

TCU: The Horned Frogs averaged 10.2 yards per play while building their big halftime lead and finished at 8.9 after coming in second nationally at 8.1 yards per play.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Oklahoma’s 31-week streak of being in the Top 25 is in jeopardy, while TCU has a good chance to get in for the first time since a one-week showing at 25th early in the 2019 season.

UP NEXT

Oklahoma: The Sooners come back to the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the Red River rivalry against Texas at the Cotton Bowl next Saturday.

TCU: The Horned Frogs will go for their first 2-0 start in the Big 12 since 2017 with a visit to resurgent Kansas next Saturday.

Texas State hires Incarnate Word coach Kinne to lead Bobcats

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Texas State hired Incarnate Word coach G.J. Kinne on Friday to lead a Sun Belt program that has had only one winning season since moving up to the Bowl Subdivision in 2012.

The 34-year-old former Tulsa quarterback has made a fast rise in coaching since ending his professional career in 2017.

After three years as an offensive analyst at SMU, Arkansas and the Philadelphia Eagles, Kinne became offensive coordinator at Hawaii in 2020. He held the same role for UCF in 2021 before landing the head coaching job at FCS Incarnate Word this season.

Incarnate Word is 10-1 and averaging 53 points and 8.3 yards per play, both FCS highs, heading into its playoff game Saturday against Furman. Kinne will remain with Incarnate Word through their playoff run.

“It’s with great honor that I’m accepting the call to be next head football coach of the Texas State Bobcats,” Kinne said. “We are going to play fast, have relentless energy, and when the going gets tough, have the mental confidence to win tight games in the second half and represent the state of Texas. Eat ‘Em Up!”

Texas State fired Jake Spavital last week after the Bobcats won just 13 games in his four seasons.

Kinne signed a five-year contract, the school said. Terms were not immediately released.

“My goal was to hire someone with demonstrated leadership experience, success as a head coach, established relationships with Texas football coaches, and success with recruiting and developing players,” said Texas State President Kelly Damphousse. “I sought a leader with a plan to capitalize on our location in the heart of the best high school football in the country.”

Florida Atlantic hires Tom Herman as football coach

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BOCA RATON, Fla. – Former Texas and Houston head coach Tom Herman will take over at Florida Atlantic as it heads into its first season in the American Athletic Conference.

The hire comes just days after FAU fired Willie Taggart, who went 15-18 in his three seasons with the Owls. Details of the contract with Herman were not immediately available.

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Tom Herman to Paradise,” FAU Director of Athletics Brian White said Thursday. “Throughout the process and the more we talked with Coach Herman, the more it became apparent to me that he was the right person to lead our football program. Beyond his knowledge of the game, which is obvious by his success over the years, he also truly cares about the young people in his program.”

FAU’s final season in Conference USA ended with a 5-7 record and an overtime loss to Western Kentucky. The Owls will be in the American next season.

Herman returns to college football after spending the 2021 season with the Chicago Bears as an offensive analyst.

Herman was 22-4 at Houston, a mark that helped him land the head coaching job at Texas where he went 32-18 with four straight bowl trips in 2017-2020. He also was an offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Ohio State during the Buckeyes’ 2014 national championship season, as well as stops at Iowa State, Rice and Texas State.

“All the pieces are in place at FAU for us to be successful,” Herman said. “There are already great young men on this team, great facilities, a great location, a great recruiting base and great leadership, all of which are important to building a successful program.”