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Five Things TCU Must Do to Win 2023 CFP National Championship

Max Duggan
(AP Photo/Richard W. Rodriguez, File)

Five Things TCU Must Do to Win 2023 CFP National Championship

The Cinderella run is coming to its conclusion. The TCU Horned Frogs, led by coach Sonny Dykes and Heisman finalist Max Duggan, are in the 2023 CFP National Championship.

This has been one of the hottest teams in all of college football this year, and they have one more game to stamp their place in history. But in order to do so, they must go against the defending champs, the Georgia Bulldogs.

Here are five key things TCU must do to dethrone the champions and take home the title. 

1. Come out hot

When this TCU offense is on, they are as dangerous as anyone in the country. Led by Duggan and their standout (albeit slightly overrated) wide receiver Quentin Johnston, the Horned Frogs have the 13th-best total offense in the country.

If they want to have a chance in this game, they must come out of the gates swinging, similar to the Michigan game. TCU scored the first 14 points of the Fiesta Bowl, putting the Wolverines behind the proverbial 8-ball. TCU must do the same to the Bulldogs to have a chance. 

2. Establish the run early

You’d imagine that this TCU team would have a tough time against this Georgia rush defense, led by potential No. 1 overall pick, Jalen Carter. In their game against Michigan, who boasted the Big Ten’s best run defense, the Horned Frogs ran the ball to the tune of 263 yards.

The Bulldogs have the second-best rush defense in the nation, allowing an even 80 yards a game. The Georgia defensive backs are aggressive, and if they shut down these TCU wideouts, they must rely on the ground game to make up some yardage. 

3. Have to create turnovers

TCU is pretty good at forcing turnovers. The Horned Frogs had a turnover in all but one game this season, which was the season opener against Colorado. In two of their last three games, they have forced three turnovers. The Frogs are plus-nine in turnover differential, whereas the Bulldogs are minus-one on the season. A key interception here or a pivotal fumble recovery there can swing the tides of this game. 

4. Win in the red zone

I’d argue the biggest play of the TCU-Michigan game was the fourth-down stop at the two-yard line in the first quarter, which swung the momentum for the Frogs, and they never looked back. TCU held Michigan to field goals twice in the red zone after long drives, and with how explosive this Georgia offense can be, the red zone just might be a deciding factor in this Monday’s matchup. 

5. Make Stetson Bennett uncomfortable

One of the biggest question marks entering the TCU-Michigan game was how TCU would be able to pressure J.J. McCarthy considering how the talent of Wolverines’ offensive line. Well, TCU answered the bell to the tune of three sacks on the night.

Stetson Bennett has shown a slight ability to make plays when the pocket collapses, but if TCU wants to have a chance to win, one of the biggest keys to victory will be getting in the face of Bennett. 

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