TCU football: Top quarterbacks remain sidelined

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It has been 25 days since TCU football announced projected starting quarterback Max Duggan would take some time away from football. During regular COVID-19 testing, team physicians discovered an irregularity in Duggan’s heart. The irregularity was previously unknown to him and his family.

Duggan was quickly given the medical attention needed and seems to be on the road to recovery, and he isn’t the only TCU quarterback sitting out.

Duggan had over 2,500 yards of total offense as a freshman, throwing for 15 touchdowns and rushing for another six. Big things were expected out of the Council Bluffs native. As a freshman, he led the Horned Frogs to a 5-7 record in 2019. A win over Texas and a loss by a total of eight points to two top-10 opponents left plenty of optimism heading into 2020. With Duggan out, the reigns to the TCU offense must fall to someone else.

The frontrunner for the position is Matthew Downing, a former walk-on and Georgia transfer. Downing hasn’t played since 2018 in which he threw 8/10 for 88 yards. According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Downing has been sidelined for the past ten days with no reason given. Coach Gary Patterson does expect Downing to return soon.

TCU has been criticized in recent days for the state of their quarterback position. Patterson has continued to preach calmness, even with recent setbacks due to positive COVID-19 tests. During his regular scheduled teleconference, Patterson said to “calm down” and “take a step back.”

Needless to say, a TCU football program once looked at as a darkhorse in its conference hit a roadblock. The season opener was canceled, and positive COVID tests put a halt on team workouts, which set the team back. The battle for QB1 has yet to be decided in Fort Worth, and with the season opener fast approaching things need to change, and fast.

Iowa has been battling one of the worst COVID outbreaks in the country. With TCU set to kick off Sept. 26 against Iowa State, there is still plenty of time to get the season under control. Iowa State was previously ranked No. 23 in the nation but lost its season opener to Louisiana from the Sun Belt in part of a 3-0 performance over the Big 12 on Saturday.

Once looked at as one of the toughest games on the TCU schedule, Iowa State comes to Fort Worth at 0-1. With Matt Downing set to return in the coming days, it’s not too late to change the fortune for this Horned Frogs squad.