Sep 16, 2023; Orlando, Florida, USA; UCF Knights quarterback Timmy McClain (9) warms up before the game against the Villanova Wildcats at FBC Mortgage Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

UCF brings top offense into Big 12 debut with Kansas State

Coming off its first loss of the season on a 61-yard field goal on the final play, Kansas State returns home Saturday to Manhattan, Kan., for its Big 12 opener against conference newcomer UCF.

The Wildcats (2-1) are still stinging from the defeat at Missouri, which dropped them from 15th in the AP Top 25 poll to third among unranked teams.

“It’s been a tough couple of days around here,” Kansas State coach Chris Klieman said. “The message to the guys is, ‘We can’t let Missouri beat us twice.’”

Especially against UCF (3-0), which will bring plenty of offensive firepower. The Knights compiled 600 yards of total offense while limiting Villanova to just 228 yards, 190 of those in the second half, in a 48-14 victory in Orlando, Fla.

Timmy McClain threw for 321 yards on 20-for-28 accuracy, with a pair of touchdowns. Kobe Hudson set a career high with 147 yards on six catches, a week after his previous best yardage (134) at Boise State.

UCF leads the nation in total offense at 617.7 yards per game. Defensively, the Knights are one of just 10 teams from the Power 5 and one of two in the Big 12 to hold opponents to 16 points or fewer in every game this season.

“Offensively, I thought we did some good things,” UCF coach Gus Malzahn said. “It was really good for Timmy to be out there. He hadn’t started a game in two years, and I thought he was really good. There were a couple things early I know he’d like to have back, but there’s nothing like experiencing it.

“I’m really happy with our team, the way they came out and responded and put these guys away early. Now it’s time for the real season with the Big 12.”

No matter who his team is facing, Klieman said the message is fairly simple.

“We have to come up with a good game plan, no matter who is lining up at quarterback, running back or linebacker,” he said. “The show goes on. We’ll have to continue to battle the adversity we’re facing.”

Among the Wildcats’ concerns is the health of starting quarterback Will Howard, who was clearly hobbled in the second half against Missouri. He didn’t practice Monday, was limited on Tuesday, and will be listed as questionable for Saturday’s game.

Running back Treshaun Ward is doubtful with an undisclosed injury, and Kansas State will be without sixth-year linebacker Daniel Green, who was lost for the season with a pectoral injury.

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2023; Columbia, Missouri, USA; Missouri Tigers quarterback Brady Cook (12) scores a touchdown against Kansas State Wildcats defensive end Brendan Mott (38) during the first half at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Missouri stuns No. 15 K-State with last-second, 61-yard FG

Harrison Mevis kicked an SEC-record, 61-yard field goal as time expired as host Missouri defeated No. 15 Kansas State 30-27 Saturday in Columbia, Mo.

The previous record for an SEC field goal was 60 yards, which three kickers accomplished. The Missouri record is a 62-yarder by Tom Whelihan in 1986.

The Tigers went 38 yards in 1:25 to set up the game-winning kick.

Brady Cook connected with Luther Burden for two touchdowns, including a go-ahead score midway through the fourth quarter. Cook finished with a career-high 356 passing yards for Missouri (3-0).

It was the 99th meeting between the former conference rivals, but the first one in Columbia since 2010.

Will Howard was 25-of-39 passing for 270 yards, with three touchdowns and one interception for Kansas State (2-1).

K-State tied the score at 17-all early in the second half on a 46-yard field goal by Chris Tennant. After forcing Missouri’s fourth straight punt, Howard found Ben Sinnott for a 3-yard touchdown late in the third quarter. The Wildcats scored twice previously on the drive but were flagged before Sinnott’s grab.

Mevis cut the deficit to 24-20 with a 25-yard field goal.

Cook then found Burden in the flat and Burden raced untouched into the end zone for his second touchdown of the day and a 27-24 Mizzou lead with 8:24 left in the game. Tennant tied the score with a 26-yard field goal with 5:25 left.

The first half was back and forth. K-State marched down the field on an 11-play, 75-yard opening drive, capped by a 10-yard pass from Howard to Phillip Brooks. Mizzou responded with a 47-yard touchdown pass from Cook to Burden, who got wide open behind the K-State secondary.

On the next K-State drive, Howard threw an interception for the third straight game. The Tigers responded with a Mevis 30-yard field goal for a 10-7 lead. It was the first time this season that K-State has trailed.

Mevis missed a 53-yard attempt early in the second quarter with a chance to extend the lead. On the ensuing drive, Howard found Sinnott on a 3-yard touchdown pass to give K-State a 14-10 lead.

Missouri regained the lead quickly on a 1-yard sneak by Cook, as the Tigers tried a fourth-down conversion for the first time this season to take a 17-14 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2023; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats quarterback Will Howard (18) crosses the goal line for a touchdown during the second quarter against the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

No. 15 K-State not overlooking Kimani Vidal, streaking Troy

Kansas State may be ranked No. 15 in the country. It may be the defending Big 12 Conference champion. But the Wildcats say they will not look past Troy when the Trojans come to Manhattan, Kan. on Saturday.

The Wildcats (1-0) and Trojans (1-0) square off for just the second time in history after K-State beat Troy 41-5 in 2003. Recent history has Kansas State on alert for a letdown.

Twice in the past three years, K-State has lost to a non-Power Five opponent in Manhattan. In 2020, the Wildcats lost to Arkansas State 35-31 in the season opener. In 2022, after two convincing wins over South Dakota and Missouri to open the season, the Wildcats hosted Tulane and lost to the Green Wave 17-10.

“It’s the same thing we talk about every week: You’ve got to prepare Monday through Friday to give yourself a chance to be successful on Saturday,” K-State coach Chris Klieman said about preparing his team to not let it happen again. “Any team can beat you — I don’t care what level they’re at — if you don’t have your A-game. That’s not just physically, that’s mentally, that’s emotionally.

“Troy is a really good team, a veteran team that has won an awful lot of ballgames and will be a great challenge for us.”

Both teams are coming off impressive offensive showings against FCS foes in their first games, though K-State also shined on defense. The Wildcats defeated Southeast Missouri State 45-0, while Troy outlasted Stephen F. Austin 48-30.

Wildcats senior quarterback Will Howard was 18-of-26 for a career-high 297 yards and two touchdowns. He also became the sixth player in Big 12 history to throw, rush and catch a touchdown pass in the same game, and he did it all in the first half. Howard moved into 10th place in school history for career passing touchdowns with 26.

K-State used a balanced attack, with three players reaching the 100-yard plateau. Receiver RJ Garcia II (119 yards) and tight end Ben Sinnott (100) were the leading receivers, while DJ Giddens had 128 yards on the ground.

The defense was exceptional too, holding SEMO to 6 rushing yards on 26 carries.

But Troy will present much tougher competition. The Trojans have the second-longest active winning streak (12 games) in all of FBS, behind only Georgia (18).

Running back Kimani Vidal totaled 302 yards (248 rushing, 54 receiving) on 27 touches against Stephen F. Austin in the Trojans’ Week 1 win. He is coming off an impressive 2022 season where he rushed 231 times for 1,132 yards and 10 touchdowns.

Whether he will be able to do that against Kansas State will go a long way toward determining whether Troy will have a chance against the Wildcats.

“It’s a tremendous road environment,” Troy head coach John Sumrall said. “They bring the crowd noise. The student section is right behind you. Our guys have to be ready to play in a hostile environment.

“I told our guys, ‘If you can’t get excited for this, then I can’t help you get excited.’”

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2023; Manhattan, Kansas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats running back DJ Giddens (31) is tacked by Southeast Missouri State Redhawks defensive lineman LaWilliam Holmes (91) and linebacker Jacob Morrissey (44) during the second quarter at Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

No. 16 Kansas State destroys Southeast Missouri State, 45-0

Will Howard accounted for four touchdowns in the first half as No. 16 Kansas State defeated Southeast Missouri State 45-0 in Manhattan, Kan., on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.

Howard had two passing touchdowns to go along with a rushing and receiving score by halftime. He became the sixth player in Big 12 history to have a passing, rushing and receiving TD in a game.

Howard played just two series in the second half and finished 18-of-26 passing for 297 yards with the two touchdowns and an interception.

Kansas State scored four second-quarter touchdowns to open up a 35-0 halftime lead before cruising in the second half. SEMO hadn’t been shut out in 41 games.

The Wildcats got a 51-yard field goal from Chris Tennant in the third quarter before Avery Johnson took over for Howard. Johnson scored his first collegiate touchdown on a 7-yard run up the middle to open the fourth.

Kansas State held the Redhawks to a three-and-out on their first drive, then responded with a nine-play, 67-yard march, capped by a 33-yard touchdown pass from Howard to Jadon Jackson. The Wildcats extended the lead to 14-0 early in the second quarter when Howard raced untouched around the left end for a 1-yard touchdown.

Near the midway point of the second quarter, Howard found RJ Garcia II crossing the field behind the Southeast Missouri State secondary, and Garcia squeezed into the front corner of the end zone for a 21-0 lead.

After four seasons at Florida State, Treshaun Ward scored his first touchdown for the Wildcats on a 3-yard push up the middle with 5:35 left in the first half. KSU capped its first-half scoring with a trick play. Ward took a handoff on first-and-goal from the 8-yard line, jogged to the right and then threw the ball back to Howard, who raced untouched into the end zone.

Geno Hess, the Redhawks’ leading rusher last season with 142.5 yards per game, was held to minus-4 yards on 10 carries on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

Dec 3, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA;  Kansas State Wildcats head coach Chris Klieman holds up the Big 12 Championship trophy after the game against the TCU Horned Frogs at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

K-State coach Chris Klieman signs eight-year deal

Kansas State football coach Chris Klieman signed an eight-year, $44 million contract extension that ties him to the Wildcats through the 2030 season, athletic director Gene Taylor announced on Monday.

Klieman, who owns a 30-20 record in four seasons in Manhattan, Kan., after replacing Bill Snyder, will make an average of $5.5 million per year. His previous contract was due to end after the 2026 season; he will receive an average pay raise of almost $1.5 million per year.

Taylor said in a statement, “Chris has done an unbelievable job building a program in four years that not only has won a Big 12 Championship, but even more importantly, one that players have taken great pride in and helped sustain a championship culture.

“He is a tremendous fit for K-State and Manhattan, and we want to continue to ride the momentum that he and his staff have fostered. We are excited that Chris will be the leader of our football program for many years to come.”

Last year, Klieman guided the Wildcats to their first Big 12 title since 2012. Kansas State ended the year 10-4, as it earned an overtime win over TCU in the Big 12 championship game before losing to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

The Wildcats have produced a minimum of eight victories in every full season under Klieman (they were 4-6 during the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign). They wound up ranked No. 14 after their 45-20 Sugar Bowl setback against the Crimson Tide.

Klieman possesses the best record of any coach in Kansas State history through his initial four seasons.

Klieman said in a statement, in part, “What we have been able to accomplish in our first four years here is due to the culture that our players and staff have been able to create. I am excited to continue to lead this football program and put a product on the field each year that can compete at the highest level.”

Klieman, 55, joined Kansas State following a five-year run as head coach of North Dakota State, where he led the Bisons to four FCS national championships and a 69-6 mark.

–Field Level Media

Dec 3, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA;  Kansas State Wildcats head coach Chris Klieman looks on during the second half against the TCU Horned Frogs at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: K-State locks up coach Chris Klieman for 8 years

Kansas State football coach Chris Klieman is finalizing a $44 million contract extension that would keep him with the Wildcats through the 2030 season, ESPN and the Wichita Eagle reported on Sunday.

Klieman, who has a 30-20 record in four seasons with the Wildcats after taking over from Bill Snyder, would earn an average of $5.5 million per year, with the deal taking effect on July 1. Klieman’s current contract ends after the 2026 season, and the average pay raise would come out to almost $1.5 million per year.

Klieman is coming off a season in which he led Kansas State to its first Big 12 championship since 2012. The Wildcats finished the year 10-4, highlighted by an overtime victory over TCU in the Big 12 title game before falling to Alabama in the Sugar Bowl.

The Wildcats have won at least eight games in every full season since Klieman took over (they went 4-6 during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season) and they finished last year ranked No. 14 after their 45-20 Sugar Bowl loss to Alabama. Klieman owns the best first-four-season record of any coach in Kansas State history.

Klieman came to the Wildcats after a five-year stint as head coach of North Dakota State, where he directed the Bisons to four FCS national championships and a 69-6 record.

–Field Level Media

Dec 3, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; Kansas State Wildcats defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah (91) in action during the game between the TCU Horned Frogs and the Kansas State Wildcats at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas State star DE Felix Anudike-Uzomah declares for NFL draft

Kansas State star defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah announced Thursday that he is entering the 2023 NFL Draft.

Anudike-Uzomah was named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year this season after recording 11 tackles for loss, including 8.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles.

Anudike-Uzomah made his announcement on Twitter, saying “Thank you Wildcat nation for all your support throughout my college career.”

He also thanked coaches and teammates for their contributions to his career, which included second-team All-American honors by four entities after this season.

“You guys have seen me at my lowest and highest,” he wrote. “You all have taught me so much about the game, life, and brotherhood, and I will cherish that forever. Playing beside y’all has been one of the greatest joys of my life.

“With that being said I would like to forgo my senior season and declare for the 2023 NFL draft.”

Anudike-Uzomah finishes his career ranked sixth in school history with 20.5 sacks. He is tied for fourth with eight forced fumbles and had 100 tackles in 31 career games.

–Field Level Media

Dec 2, 2022; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Utah Utes quarterback Cameron Rising (7) throws the ball against the Southern California Trojans in the first half of the Pac-12 Championship at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Utah, Penn State to Rose Bowl as full bowl game schedule revealed

Utah and Penn State will square off in the Rose Bowl and Alabama will face Big 12 champion Kansas State in the Sugar Bowl as part of this season’s slate of 41 bowl games, which were finalized Sunday.

Teams were invited to their respective bowls after the College Football Playoff selection committee named Georgia, Michigan, TCU and Ohio State to the four-team playoff. No. 1 Georgia and No. 4 Ohio State will play in the Peach Bowl in one semifinal and No. 2 Michigan will meet No. 3 TCU in the Fiesta Bowl for the other.

As for the other New Year’s Six bowls, ACC champion Clemson drew SEC at-large Tennessee in the Orange Bowl, and No. 16 Tulane, the highest-ranked team from the Group of Five conferences, will go to the Cotton Bowl and play Southern California.

No. 8 Utah won the Pac-12 title game in a 47-24 rout of USC, allowing the Utes to punch their ticket to the Rose Bowl for the second straight season. Last week, the Rose Bowl had floated the idea of taking the Nittany Lions over Ohio State to avoid the same matchup in consecutive years, but that was rendered moot when the Buckeyes made the playoff field.

Alabama was ranked No. 5 in Sunday’s final CFP rankings, the first team out of the playoff. Kansas State moved up a spot to No. 9 after edging TCU 31-28 in overtime Saturday to win the Big 12 title.

Eighty-two of the 131 FBS teams will play in a bowl game, starting Dec. 16 when Miami (Ohio) and UAB kick off the Bahamas Bowl, and Troy and UTSA — which snuck into the final CFP rankings at Nos. 24 and 25, respectively — play in the Cure Bowl in Orlando, Fla.

The full bowl schedule is below:

Friday, Dec. 16
Bahamas Bowl: Miami (Ohio) vs. UAB
Cure Bowl: No. 24 Troy vs. No. 25 UTSA

Saturday, Dec. 17
Fenway Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Louisville
New Mexico Bowl: SMU vs. BYU
LA Bowl: Washington State vs. Fresno State
LendingTree Bowl: Rice vs. Southern Miss
Las Vegas Bowl: Florida vs. No. 14 Oregon State
Frisco Bowl: North Texas vs. Boise State

Monday, Dec. 19
Myrtle Beach Bowl: Marshall vs. UConn

Tuesday, Dec. 20
Idaho Potato Bowl: Eastern Michigan vs. San Jose State
Boca Raton Bowl: Liberty vs. Toledo

Wednesday, Dec. 21
New Orleans Bowl: Western Kentucky vs. South Alabama

Thursday, Dec. 22
Armed Forces Bowl: Baylor vs. Air Force

Friday, Dec. 23
Independence Bowl: Louisiana vs. Houston
Gasparilla Bowl: Wake Forest vs. Missouri

Saturday, Dec. 24
Hawaii Bowl: Middle Tennessee vs. San Diego State

Monday, Dec. 26
Quick Lane Bowl: New Mexico State vs. Bowling Green

Tuesday, Dec. 27
Camellia Bowl: Georgia Southern vs. Buffalo
First Responder Bowl: Memphis vs. Utah State
Birmingham Bowl: Coastal Carolina vs. East Carolina
Guaranteed Rate Bowl: Wisconsin vs. Oklahoma State

Wednesday, Dec. 28
Military Bowl: UCF vs. Duke
Liberty Bowl: Kansas vs. Arkansas
Holiday Bowl: North Carolina vs. Oregon
Texas Bowl: Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss

Thursday, Dec. 29
Pinstripe Bowl: Syracuse vs. Minnesota
Cheez-It Bowl: Oklahoma vs. No. 13 Florida State
Alamo Bowl: No. 20 Texas vs. No. 12 Washington

Friday, Dec. 30
Duke’s Mayo Bowl: Maryland vs. No. 23 NC State
Sun Bowl: Pitt vs. No. 18 UCLA
Gator Bowl: No. 21 Notre Dame vs. No. 19 South Carolina
Arizona Bowl: Ohio vs. Wyoming
Orange Bowl: No. 6 Tennessee vs. No. 7 Clemson

Saturday, Dec. 31
Sugar Bowl: No. 5 Alabama vs. No. 9 Kansas State
Music City Bowl: Iowa vs. Kentucky
Fiesta Bowl: No. 3 TCU vs. No. 2 Michigan (CFP semifinal)
Peach Bowl: No. 4 Ohio State vs. No. 1 Georgia (CFP semifinal)

Monday, Jan. 2
ReliaQuest Bowl: Mississippi State vs. Illinois
Cotton Bowl: No. 16 Tulane vs. No. 10 USC
Citrus Bowl: No. 17 LSU vs. Purdue
Rose Bowl: No. 11 Penn State vs. No. 8 Utah

Monday, Jan. 9
College Football Playoff national championship game: TCU-Michigan winner vs. Ohio State-Georgia winner

–Field Level Media

Dec 3, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; Kansas State Wildcats punter Ty Zentner (8) reacts after kicking  the game-winning field goal in overtime to defeat the TCU Horned Frogs at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Ty Zentner, goal-line stand help No. 10 Kansas St. jolt No. 3 TCU

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

Nov 26, 2022; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan (15) points at his receiver after thrown a touchdown pass against the Iowa State Cyclones during second half at Amon G. Carter Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raymond Carlin III-USA TODAY Sports

No. 3 TCU looks to prove doubters wrong, takes on No. 10 Kansas State

TCU may sit No. 3 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, but the Horned Frogs view Saturday’s Big 12 Championship against No. 10 Kansas State at Arlington, Texas, as a must-win affair.

A loss to the Wildcats could open the door for No. 5 Ohio State to possibly slide ahead of TCU (12-0) and claim one of the four spots.

But fretting about losing isn’t of interest to Horned Frogs star quarterback Max Duggan, who is aiming to maintain perspective despite how much is at stake.

“It’s the next game, but I don’t think we need to make it bigger than it needs to be,” Duggan said. “It’s a football game, we have to prepare the same way and we’re going to go into it with the same mindset. … The lights aren’t going to be brighter and nothing is going to be different.”

Coach Sonny Dykes feels TCU’s resume is solid and that there should be no debate that his team is one of the best four in the nation. The Horned Frogs have started 12-0 for just the third time in program history and have scored more than 40 points on six occasions.

“As I’ve said all along, I think this is different,” Dykes said. “I think college football is different. I think this committee is different, and I think the Big 12 is viewed differently (than the past).

“It’s a gauntlet. I think the people that really study the game know how good this team is. To go through this thing undefeated and win these road games shows that we have a good football team.”

Duggan, a rising Heisman Trophy candidate, has passed for 3,070 yards and 29 touchdowns against just three interceptions. Only Trevone Boykin (33 in 2014, 31 in 2015) has thrown more touchdowns in a single season in TCU history.

Running back Kendre Miller is also enjoying a big season. He has rushed for 1,260 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Kansas State (9-3) has won three consecutive games and put a major scare into the Horned Frogs when they met Oct. 22 in Fort Worth, Texas.

The Wildcats led by 18 points in the second quarter before TCU scored the game’s final 28 points to record a 38-28 victory.

That scare is certainly on the minds of the Horned Frogs, while Kansas State is now playing its best football of the season.

The Wildcats have averaged 40.2 points over their last five games, scoring 47 or more in three of those contests.

Kansas State coach Chris Klieman is well aware few people think his club can win the championship game.

“Our guys have really risen up,” Klieman said. “Especially when people have doubted them, they’ve risen to the top and I can’t say enough about our team leaders and about our captains because they control that locker room and this player-led team has taken ownership in it.”

Running back Deuce Vaughn is stamping his name as one of the top running backs in Wildcats’ history. He has rushed for 1,295 yards and is just the third player in program history to record multiple 1,000-yard seasons — joining College Hall of Famer Darren Sproles (three straight from 2002-04) and Daniel Thomas (2009-10).

Vaughn ranks second in school history with 3,341 career rushing yards, trailing Sproles (4,979).

With Adrian Martinez (leg) questionable at best, Will Howard will again be the starting quarterback for Kansas State.

Howard has thrown 13 touchdown passes against two interceptions in five appearances this season and he’s ready for the challenge.

“The job isn’t finished,” Howard said. “We have one more and we have to finish it out. This is a very big game coming up, obviously, but we’re going to be ready.”

–Field Level Media