Heading into Saturday’s contest against TCU, the Kansas State Wildcats had all the momentum in the world. Fresh off a thumping of Texas Tech on their home field last week the Wildcats with two straight home games on the horizon looked like they had an excellent chance to become bowl-eligible against the Horned Frogs who were struggling to move the ball on Offense over the last few weeks.
However, like K-State, Gary Patterson’s squad was very proud and determined and knew that two wins of their own would make them eligible for a bowl game riding the strength of the number one-ranked Defense in the Big 12. Yet despite Kansas State’s Offensive success and TCU’s stingy Defense, in the end it was a Field Goal that decided this game as Jack Cantele knocked home a 41-yarder with three seconds left that resulted in a 33-31 Kansas State victory and that ever-important sixth win before a Fan Appreciation Day crowd of 52,697 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
Following a Blake Slaughter interception of TCU Quarterback Casey Pachall that set the Wildcats up on the Horned Frogs’ 41-yard line, K-State needed five plays to score as Quarterback Daniel Sams scampered the final 11 yards for a 7-0 lead. After a TCU punt, K-State needed only one play to find the end zone on its next drive as Quarterback Jake Waters connected with Wide Receiver Tyler Lockett on a 74-yard bomb and the Cats appeared to be in control 14-0 after the first quarter.
Despite the two big plays, K-State’s Offense struggled to move the ball the rest of the half and on numerous occasions it allowed TCU to have good field position. The Horned Frogs got on the board with a three play-38-yard drive that was capped off by B.J. Catalon’s 15-yard run to cut the lead to 14-7. Cantele answered that score with a 31-yard Field Goal to send the Cats into the halftime locker room with a 17-7 advantage. Patterson, a former Wildcat player who was a Graduate Assistant Coach on K-State’s first-ever bowl team in 1982 saw his squad grab the lead with two touchdowns in the first seven minutes 16 seconds of the third quarter….the first on Josh Doctson’s one-yard touchdown pass from Quarterback Trevone Boykin and the other on Boykin’s seven-yard run for a 21-17 lead.
K-State needed just three plays to grab the lead back on a 79-yard Waters touchdown pass to Wide Receiver Tramaine Thompson and the Cats led 24-21. TCU answered with a three-play drive of its own capped off by a 54-yard touchdown pass from Pachall to David Porter to give the Horned Frogs a 28-24 advantage. Cantele then moved K-State back ahead 30-28 with Field Goals of 34 and 23 yards respectively. The stage was now set for a dramatic finish as TCU grabbed the lead back on an improbable 56-yard Field Goal by Jaden Oberkrom with 2:13 remaining. With two timeouts, K-State began their game-winning drive at their own 32 yard line. Waters found Curry Sexton for 28 yards to the TCU 40-yard line with a second down pass. Then facing third and 10 after two incompletions Waters connected with Lockett for 12 yards to the Horned Frogs 28-yard line. After a sack and a penalty, K-State faced third and 14 at the TCU 32-yard line when Waters found Lockett for eight yards to the 24 yard line. Cantele then kicked the winning Field Goal with three seconds left on the clock and K-State managed to overcome an excessive celebration penalty to stop TCU on the ensuing kickoff and hang on for the win.
Sams was the leading ground gainer for K-State rushing for 109 of the Wildcats’ 411 yards of Total Offense. Waters claimed the day through the air with 234 yards passing including the two scores and Lockett was tops among the receivers with 123 yards. Despite turning the ball over for the first time since the West Virginia game, K-State also managed to force two mistakes by TCU to keep the turnover battle even. The Wildcat Defense suffered a major blow in the first half when Safety Ty Zimmerman left the game with an apparent leg injury. He did not return and watched the second half from the sidelines on crutches.
Kansas State (6-4, 4-3) will play its final home game of the season next Saturday when they host Oklahoma for Senior Day. The Sooners were 48-10 winners over Iowa State earlier Saturday. K-State has not defeated Oklahoma in Manhattan since a 42-35 victory on October 26, 1996. The Wildcats were victorious last season over the Sooners in Norman 24-19. Kickoff next Saturday is set for 11 a.m.
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