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In front of 12,000 fans, TCU football falls short to Iowa State in season opener, 37-34

The official attendance was 11,852.
Credit: AP
TCU wide receiver Taye Barber (4) is unable to catch a pass as Iowa State defensive backs Anthony Johnson Jr. (26) and Greg Eisworth II (12) defend during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020 in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

FORT WORTH, Texas — After multiple setbacks, TCU football kicked off the 2020 season at Amon G. Carter Stadium on Saturday in front of a crowd of 11,852 people.

Clad in purple, spectators were greeted with health and safety reminders.

Credit: Arnold Payne - WFAA-TV

WFAA Sports photographer Arnold Payne captured these images of fans arriving for the game.

Credit: Arnold Payne - WFAA-TV
Credit: Arnold Payne - WFAA-TV

Fans wore masks and maintained social distancing in the stands.

Credit: Arnold Payne - WFAA-TV
Credit: Arnold Payne - WFAA-TV

TCU and Iowa State struggled offensively to start -- scoreless through the first 20 minutes -- but both Big 12 teams eventually found their stride... literally.

Iowa State rushed for 213 yards on 28 attempts (7.6 yards per rush), while TCU threw for 400 yards.

For the Horned Frogs, it was a dual effort from quarterbacks Matt Downing and Max Duggan.

Downing, the Georgia Bulldog transfer, started the game and completed TCU's first touchdown of 2020 to true freshman receiver Quentin Johnson for 37 yards.

Johnson has big shoes to fill replacing former TCU superstar Jalen Reagor (now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles), but Johnson wore the #1 jersey well on Saturday with two catches for 50 yards and the touchdown in his college debut.

Downing struggled for much of the first half, though. The sophomore finished 11-21 for 159 yards and the one touchdown.

The Frogs trailed the Cyclones 16-7 at halftime.

Duggan, the incumbent starting QB, replaced Downing in the second half and immediately provided a jolt to the TCU offense.

The sophomore racked up 241 yards passing in just one half of football and completed 16 of 19 passes for three touchdowns and one interception.

Duggan completed all three touchdowns in the final 15 minutes and 23 seconds, including the final play of the game -- a 31-yard pass to Blair Conwright.

TCU elected not to kick the extra point since the game was over and impossible to win.

Cyclones prevailed 37-34.

The last-second touchdown did not impact the outcome for TCU or Iowa State, but it had some *additional* implications too.

Iowa State was favored by 2.5 points most of the week before closing at 3.5 points at some sportsbooks. 

Depending on what side of the wager they were on, the last-second TCU touchdown made a lot of folks happy or sad.

And the decision not to kick the extra point made even more folks happy or sad. 

TCU could not stop Iowa State's rushing attack and the Frogs rally fell short.

It's the first home opening loss for TCU since 2013 vs. LSU.

Next up for TCU: at Texas on Sat., Oct. 3 in Austin. Gametime TBD.