No. 10 K-State outlasts No. 3 TCU in OT to win Big 12 Championship

Published: Dec. 3, 2022 at 3:06 PM CST
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DALLAS, Tex. (WIBW) - The No. 10 Kansas State Wildcats captured its first Big 12 championship since 2012 on Saturday in dramatic fashion by defeating No. 3 TCU 31-28 in overtime.

This was K-State’s first trip to the Big 12 Championship Game since it returned in 2017.

The Frogs and Wildcats battled earlier this season on October 22 in Fort Worth with TCU pulling out a 38-28 victory. Kansas State built a 28-10 lead in the second quarter before TCU made a furious comeback after K-State’s top two quarterbacks left the game due to injury.

In Saturday’s championship game at AT&T Stadium, the No. 3 Horned Frogs jumped out to an early 7-0 lead on an impressive 13-play, 92-yard drive on their first possession.

However, K-State showed their mettle and quarterback Will Howard led them on two first-half scoring drives to give them a 14-7 lead. Howard connected with tight end Ben Sinnott on a 6-yard touchdown pass on 4th & 1 late in the first quarter and found the endzone again in the second quarter on a one-yard run.

TCU made a 42-yard field goal right before halftime to cut K-State’s lead to 14-10.

The Horned Frogs were able to keep the momentum going into the second half. They recovered a fumble on a K-State muffed punt which setup a three play, 30-yard touchdown drive to cut the Wildcats lead to 21-17 with just over 9 minutes left in the third quarter.

Going into the final quarter, K-State maintained a 21-17 lead, although TCU had driven down into the redzone and were on the verge of scoring to possibly take the lead.

On the first play of the fourth quarter, Kansas State defensive back Julius Brents picked off TCU quarterback Max Duggan in the endzone on 3rd & 7, giving the Wildcats a game-tilting takeaway in the redzone.

K-State would cash in on the ensuing drive on a Deuce Vaughn 44-yard touchdown run to put them ahead 28-17 with 11:27 left to play.

TCU would convert another 42-yard field goal to make it a one possession game, with the score at 28-20 with 7:34 remaining in the fourth.

The Horned Frogs forced K-State to punt and got the ball back on their own 20, down by eight points, with 4:47 left and a berth in the College Football Playoff on the line. Max Duggan would provide some late-game heroics with his feet throughout the drive with runs of 13,19, 40, and capping the possession on an eight-yard rushing touchdown. They tied the game on a two-point conversion to knot the game at 28 with under two minutes to play.

With K-State’s offense back on the field with a chance to win the game and a Big 12 championship, they got to midfield but had to settle for a punt with 38 seconds to go. TCU would kneel to send the game into overtime.

The Wildcats won the overtime coin toss and chose to defend first. Their decision paid off as their defense held TCU scoreless on a goal-line stand. K-State got possession and would win the game with a touchdown or a field goal. Kansas State kicker and Topeka native Ty Zentner put a 31-yard field goal through the uprights to give K-State a 31-28 win in an instant classic.

Kansas State is now headed for its first Allstate Sugar Bowl in program history. They figure to play either No. 6 Alabama, who doesn’t play on Saturday, unless No. 14 LSU knocks off No. 1 Georgia in the SEC title game.

This year’s Sugar Bowl will matchup the top non-playoff teams from the Big 12 and SEC, and, if it’s Alabama versus K-State, it would be the schools’ first-ever meeting on the gridiron.

The matchup for the 89th annual Allstate Sugar Bowl will officially be announced on Sunday, December 4 at 1:30 p.m. on ESPN’s College Football Playoff Selection Show.