Mountaineers prepare for QB run game and TCU’s elusive Duggan

Gold and Blue Nation

TCU quarterback Max Duggan (15) scores a touchdown on a run against Texas during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — WVU has faced several dual threat quarterbacks this season, but it hasn’t lined up against one quite like TCU’s Max Duggan. 

The Horned Frogs’ sophomore quarterback will enter Saturday’s contest as the top rushing QB in the Big 12 Conference. He averages 69 yards per game on the ground, good for fourth in the league in rushing behind Iowa State’s Breece Hall, West Virginia’s Leddie Brown and Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard. 

He’s playing his most dangerous football of the season right now. Last week in TCU’s win over Texas Tech, the sophomore Duggan logged a career-high 154 rushing yards and ran for three scores, including an 81-yarder. 

Those who are close to the TCU football program think Duggan possesses immense talent. Horned Frogs play-by-play announcer Brian Estridge thinks the Iowa native could become one of the all-time greats. 

“[Texas Tech head coach] Matt Wells said he’s the best running quarterback in the Big 12. With all of that said, he’s been really efficient throwing the football up until last week as well,” Estridge said this week in an interview for Mountaineer GameDay. “TCU has had some good quarterbacks over the years — Trevone Boykin and Andy Dalton come to mind as the most recent guys — when it’s all said and done, I think Max Duggan will be the best to come through here. I think he has that kind of potential, he has that kind of moxie, that kind of savvy about him, that when I think it’s all said and done, he’ll be that guy.” 

WVU coach Neal Brown’s staff is once again preparing for the quarterback run game. The Mountaineers lined up against a dual threat QB last week in Texas’ Sam Ehlinger, and while they had success early in the season containing Baylor’s Charlie Brewer, they didn’t have as much luck with Texas Tech’s Henry Colombi. 

Brown said this week that there’s a reason why so many Big 12 teams rely on mobile signal callers — they’re a challenge to prepare for on defense. 

“You’ve got to prepare for quarterback run game, whether it’s designed runs where they’re calling it, whether it’s in the pass game where he pulls the ball down and scrambles. You’ve got to put yourself in those situations in practice,” Brown said. “It makes it more difficult, though. You have to put at least one more hat in the box, whether it’s your nickel or your safety, you’ve got to get another guy in the box to help account for him.” 

The Mountaineers got the best of Duggan last year in a 20-17 win in the season finale. In that game, Duggan only completed 15 of his 36 passing attempts for 144 yards and threw two interceptions. He was also limited to 23 rushing yards. 

West Virginia and TCU will clash Saturday at noon at Milan Puskar Stadium. 

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