By Justin Haberstroh | @JustinHaberstr1
Sports Capital Journalism Program
INGLEWOOD, Calif. — The post-game press conference for the TCU Horned Frogs was a somber scene after the 65-7 loss to Georgia, the largest margin of defeat in the history of bowl games. After the hope of a first national championship since 1938 had been shattered in SoFi Stadium, TCU head coach Sonny Dykes was disappointed that the Horned Frogs’ season had to end like that.
“I think we’re all disappointed that we didn’t play better, and we didn’t coach better, and we didn’t represent our team better than we did tonight,” Dykes said.
TCU was held to 188 total yards, 152 passing yards and 36 rushing yards. While this was TCU’s worst loss there is still lots of hope for the prolonged success of its football program.
From the start the series of mistakes and disappointments began to seem endless. The Horned Frogs appeared sloppy from the first snap, when a false start led to penalty flags and an eventual punt. A fumble led to a Georgia field goal. Then two Max Duggan interceptions on the last two possessions of the first half led directly to two Georgia touchdowns in the last 1:19 of the second quarter and a 38-7 halftime deficit, the largest in the nine-year history of the College Football Playoff National Championship game. In the second half TCU was outscored 27-0 and held to just 67 total yards.
“I don’t know what happened tonight,” Dykes said. “We ran into a really good team, and we did some very uncharacteristic things and it snowballed on us. And that hasn’t happened to us one time this year that we haven’t been able to fight our way back and figure out a way to get back in the game or win the game. We weren’t able to do it tonight.”
While TCU did lose badly in the CFP championship game, there is still much to be proud about in their season. TCU averaged 41.1 points per game before Monday night. The Horned Frogs finished the season with a record of 13-2, their most victories since the 2010 season.
Duggan was the Heisman trophy runner-up behind Caleb Williams of USC. Dykes’ national coach of the year awards included the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award from the Football Writers Association of America, plus awards from the Associated Press and the Walter Camp Football Foundation. Under Dykes, the Horned Frogs won eight more times than they did in 2021. Dykes knows that the season was a success, and everyone should be proud of what they accomplished.
“Couldn’t be more proud of our football team, though, and especially these two young men,” Dykes said, referring to Duggan and Dee Winter, “ …just for what they’ve meant to TCU football and just what kind of people they are.”
The future of TCU football looks sound. TCU has invested heavily into its athletic and football infrastructure. Since 2012 TCU has invested $400 million in upgrading and building new facilities for its athletes. This has helped pull in one of TCU’s best recruiting classes and transfer classes for next season.
When Dykes was asked about adversity and improvement, and how this game could prepare his team for next year, he said, “I think that’s the best thing that happens when you face adversity like this, you make mistakes and you learn from them. And you get better as a program. You get better as a coach. You get better as players. And the next time you handle the situation a little bit better.”