TCU Is In For ‘TopGun’ Dogfight, While Max Duggan Can Finish His Own Hollywood Script

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The stage is set, with Los Angeles ready to host Georgia and TCU this week as both teams prepare to play for a national championship. The matchup is perfect for Hollywood, with ultimate underdog TCU looking to shock the world and defeat the Bulldogs. The story has been written for Stetson Bennett, while Max Duggan is looking to finish his own magical script.

This is a story of two quarterbacks who were overlooked at one point in their careers at each school. We all know the story of Stetson Bennett and his journey from walk-on to the leading role in Georgia’s run towards a consecutive title. The former JUCO QB made his way back to Athens, looking for redemption, when most coaches were happy to have him running the scout team.

Stetson Bennett #13 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

It’s been well-documented over the past few years that Bennett is the unlikely hero that handles his business on a weekly basis, trying to stay away from the spotlight. But for a guy who took a chance on himself in his return to Georgia and fight for the starting job, I can only imagine what type of Netflix movie will be made about the 25-year old.

The Hollywood stories don’t just revolve around Stetson Bennett.

The Past Few Years For Max Duggan Have Been A Test

But, if script-writers are looking for something fresh, with an underdog theme, look no further than Max Duggan and TCU.

This story involving Duggan has a number of plot twists that would give ‘The Crown’ a run for its money. Having to undergo heart surgery during his sophomore season, Duggan is lucky to still be playing football.

After undergoing an evaluation during a Covid-19 screening in 2020, it was discovered that the TCU quarterback was born with “Wolf-Parkinson-White Syndrome’. The situation required him to undergo surgery, which Duggan recently recalled to Texas Monthly.

“It put catheters through my neck and groin. I had a nine-hour procedure. And then two days later, I had a blood clot from the surgery, so I had to go into emergency surgery right after that. It kind of just puts a stop in your life.”

TCU football underdog at Texas.
TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan (15) carries the football. (Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Not only did Duggan return to the field, it only took one game for the TCU quarterback to get his groove back. Now, it wasn’t as serious as heart surgery, but Duggan played the 2021 season with a broken foot, not letting folks outside the football building know about the injury. It took pain shots and pure grit for Duggan to play through the 2021 season. He held off surgery so that he could help his team win football games.

So when 2022 came around, Duggan’s legacy at TCU had already been cemented. Even if a lot of it was behind the scenes. He would head to New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist, while preparing for a shot at a title.

Against The Odds, TCU Playing For National Championship

If we’re being honest with each other, not many folks thought TCU would be siting in this spot even two months ago. The run towards the bright lights of LA have brought a number of almost scripted moments. Who could forget the final 90 seconds of the Baylor game. The one where Max Duggan led his team down the field to setup the game-winning field goal?

Remember the fourteen-point comeback win against Oklahoma State, capping it off in overtime? This season has produced countless chapters of success, with a Big-12 championship game loss thrown into the mix. There were the doubters, constantly claiming the Horned Frogs weren’t good enough to play with the big boys of the Big Ten or SEC. Every week felt like a tryout for national respect, which it clearly was.

But TCU has found a way to push through the mud and silence the critics, even in the loss to Kansas State. Yes, the undefeated record came to an end, but Sonny Dykes and his team had done enough to earn a playoff spot. Not only did they take advantage of the Fiesta Bowl opportunity, TCU showed the college football world they belonged after beating Michigan.

Two Miracles Were Needed For TCU, Now It’s A Dogfight

Ok, if you haven’t seen the new Top-Gun movie, just stop right here. But if you have, then you certainly remember the ending. Maverick’s crew needed two miracles to happen if they were going to destroy their target. He pulled off the first one, while Rooster (His Wingman) pulled off the second, but they knew it would be a dogfight to get back to the carrier.

Head coach Sonny Dykes of the TCU Horned Frogs. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

That’s exactly what this Hollywood script looks like for TCU. Getting to the semifinals was the first miracle, while beating Michigan last weekend was the second. Now, with a national title on the line, the Horned Frogs are in for a dogfight (No Pun Intended) against Georgia.

We’ve seen this TCU team pull off a few gutsy wins this season. But if they want to beat Georgia, it’s going to take that chaotic 3-3-5 defense led by Dee Winters and QB Max Duggan to walk this team into battle.

The time has come for TCU, the lights won’t get any brighter than this. We’ve got a week to break down how Sonny Dykes is going to try and stop Stetson Bennett, along with the Georgia defense. Not all movies have a fairytale ending.

Good thing the producers aren’t finished with the script.

Written by Trey Wallace

Wallace started covering the SEC in 2012, as the conference landscape was beginning to change. Prior to his time in Knoxville, Wallace worked in Nashville for The Read Optional, where he first produced content that garnered national attention. His passion for sports is evident in his work and has led him to break some of college football’s biggest stories. His social media reach and natural podcast proficiency continue to make Wallace one of SEC’s most trusted sources.

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