Ty Zentner kicked the winning 31-yard field goal in overtime following a massive goal-line stand by the Kansas State defense as the No. 10 Wildcats posted a dramatic 31-28 upset of No. 3 TCU in the Big 12 championship game on Saturday afternoon at Arlington, Texas.
Kansas State twice stopped TCU’s Kendre Miller on runs from the 1-yard line on the Horned Frogs’ overtime possession. The Wildcats took over and Zentner’s decisive boot put a major dent in TCU’s College Football Playoff aspirations.
TCU (12-1) will learn its fate Sunday when the CFP committee reveals which four schools will be part of the playoff.
Will Howard passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another and Deuce Vaughn rushed for 130 yards, including a 44-yard scoring run, for the Wildcats (10-3).
RJ Garcia II and Ben Sinnott caught touchdown passes for Kansas State, and Julius Brents snuffed out a Horned Frogs’ drive with a fourth-quarter interception. Howard completed 18 of 32 passes for 199 yards.
TCU star Max Duggan was 18-of-36 passing for 251 yards, one touchdown and one interception and rushed for 110 yards and one score. Miller rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown, Taye Barber caught a scoring pass and Quentin Johnston had four receptions for 139 yards.
Horned Frogs coach Sonny Dykes insisted afterward that his team should be part of the playoffs.
“We’ve been to able to figure out ways to win games like this all year and today we weren’t able to do it,” Dykes said. “I think we’re certainly deserving. I think the league is one of the best leagues in the country to go undefeated through the league. Certainly, we ought to get in. I don’t think we should get punished for coming to the Big 12 championship game.
“We were (No.) 3 last week. My hope would be that we would stay 3 and go tee it up and see how we do.”
The Horned Frogs trailed 28-17 in the fourth quarter before moving within eight on Griffin Kell’s 42-yard field goal with 7:34 left. Duggan later put the Horned Frogs on his shoulders on an 80-yard drive to knot the score with 1:51 left.
Duggan had runs of 15, 13, 19 and 40 yards as the ball reached the Kansas State 8. He then ran 8 yards for the score and tossed a tying two-point conversion pass to Jared Wiley.
But in the overtime, the Wildcats made the big stops and earned a 10-win season.
“Rise up. We talked out it all week long,” Wildcats coach Chris Klieman told ABC. “When people doubt you, rise up. We were destined to be here and our kids rose up today. (TCU is) an awesome football team. I hope they get a chance to play (in the playoffs). They’re worthy of it.”
Earlier, Kansas State held a 21-10 advantage on Howard’s 25-yard touchdown pass to Garcia with 12:19 left in the third quarter.
Miller scored on a 6-yard run as TCU moved within four with 9:09 left in the period.
The Horned Frogs were at the Wildcats’ 8 when the fourth quarter started but Duggan’s third-down pass was intercepted in the end zone by Brents. Kansas State then moved 80 yards in six plays with Vaughn breaking loose on a 44-yard scamper to give the Wildcats a 28-17 lead with 11:27 remaining.
Howard passed for a score to Sinnott and rushed for another as Kansas State held a 14-10 halftime lead.
TCU’s first-half points came on Duggan’s 1-yard scoring pass to Barber and Kell’s 42-yard field goal.
–Field Level Media