FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — TCU coach Sonny Dykes is not hearing what could be expected from his players as they keep winning games, and that is a good thing.
“There are teams that I coached in the past that have gotten got off to a fast starts where you could kind of see guys starting to feel good about themselves and lose some focus,” Dykes said. “Conference standings or bowl games or rankings ... I just haven’t heard it ever with this group. I mean, never, never once. And that sounds absurd, but I haven’t heard it.”
The undefeated Horned Frogs (7-0, 4-0 Big 12) moved up a spot to seventh in the AP Top 25 poll on Sunday, a day after defeating a ranked opponent for the fourth consecutive week. They overcame a double-digit halftime deficit to beat No. 22 Kansas State, like they also had a week before that against No. 9 Oklahoma State.
“It feels pretty good, but you know, I’m a hard dude to satisfy," bruising running back Kendre Miller said. “Keep going, keep our focus.”
The Frogs became only the second Big 12 team ever with wins over Top 25 opponents in four consecutive weeks, doubling their best previous streak. After wins over Oklahoma and Kansas, both of which have since dropped out of the rankings, they never led in regulation before beating Oklahoma State in double overtime. Kansas State went ahead 28-10 before TCU scored the game's last 28 points.
When linebacker Johnny Hodges was asked how good the Frogs are, he said they don't think like that.
“It’s nice to get some notoriety, but the stage just gets bigger. This is what we all wanted, and we’ve got a lot of work to do,” Hodges said. “I don't we've put together four quarters of a really football game yet. ... I guess we're alright."
More than alright, but that is certainly the kind of talk Dykes likes to hear from his players when so many people are starting to really take notice of the Frogs.
TCU plays three of its next four games on the road, beginning Saturday at West Virginia (3-4, 1-3), which will be three days before the release of the first College Football Playoff rankings of this season. None of the Frogs' five remaining opponents are currently ranked, though Texas just fell out of the poll and reigning Big 12 champion Baylor was ranked earlier this season.
Miller ran for 153 yards and two touchdowns against K-State for his fourth 100-yard game in the past five. He has a rushing touchdown in every game this season (10 total), and his overall streak of eight is second in school history to NFL Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson, whose streak of 15 in a row at TCU ended in 2000.
Max Duggan threw for three touchdowns, and the senior quarterback, who lost the starting job going into the season, now has a Big 12-leading 19 TDs with only one interception.
The Horned Frogs shared the Big 12 title in 2014, and made it to the conference championship game in 2017. But TCU was a combined 23-24 the past four seasons before Dykes was hired last December after a successful stretch at SMU. It was a preseason pick to finish in the bottom half of the league standings.
“You know, no one talked about us before the season. We never listen to them,” Duggan said. “I think now they will start talking about you, you do the same thing. You don't listen to them. You don’t listen any outside noise, outside factors. ... Focus on week to week, focus on the process, not worry about what other people are saying about us."
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