TCU, aiming for bounce-back season, opens vs. Duquesne

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TCU, aiming for bounce-back season, opens vs. Duquesne

Duquesne and TCU will meet in football for the first time Saturday at Fort Worth, Texas, in the season opener for both teams.

The Dukes and Horned Frogs both have much to prove.

TCU uncharacteristically struggled the past three years under Gary Patterson, compiling a record of only 18-17. The Horned Frogs have failed to win at least 10 games in three consecutive seasons for the first time in Patterson’s 21 years at the school.

“It’s really important that we come into this first game hot,” senior tight end Carter Ware said. “Come in, play a clean game, just so we can carry that momentum that we had last year and just roll through it going into conference play.”

TCU closed the 2020 season by winning five of its final six games to finish 6-4. The Horned Frogs received an invite to the Texas Bowl against Arkansas, but that game was canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the TCU program.

Duquesne, an FCS program, also has momentum on its side after posting a 4-0 record during the 2020-21 spring regular season, played at that time because COVID-19 protocols postponed the fall schedule.

The Dukes hosted the first-ever Northeast Conference championship game and lost to Sacred Heart 34-27 in overtime in a game that determined the league’s automatic bid to the FCS playoffs.

Duquesne’s players have expressed disappointment in that loss and said they will use it as motivation heading into the meeting with TCU.

“I think it had even more of a sting,” offensive tackle Jake Dixon said. “We waited 14 months to play football again (after the fall schedule was postponed).”

Duquesne opens the 2021 season against consecutive FBS opponents on the road, first at TCU, then at Ohio University on Sept. 11.

“We look at it as a great opportunity for our young men to play in those venues,” Dukes coach Jerry Schmitt said. “To play against those programs and for our fans to enjoy that atmosphere. Then to challenge ourselves and continuously push our program forward.”

TCU is adapting to new offensive coordinator Doug Meacham after Sonny Cumbie departed to Texas Tech. The Horned Frogs led the Big 12 in rushing last season but averaged less than 200 passing yards per game.

Junior quarterback Max Duggan (completed 146 of 240 attempts last year for 1,795 yards with 10 touchdowns and four interceptions) returns to lead the offense.

–Field Level Media

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