TCU’s unbeaten run came to an end in the Big 12 championship game as Kansas State avenged its regular-season loss and beat the Horned Frogs in overtime 31-28.
TCU got the ball first in overtime and moved to the 1-yard line. Kendre Miller was stuffed on third and fourth down as TCU was forced to turn the ball over.
Kansas State then won on a 31-yard field goal by Ty Zenter to deliver TCU (13-1) and coach Sonny Dykes their first loss and possibly putting a Horned Frogs trip to the College Football Playoffs in jeopardy.
TCU again showed its never-quit mentality, rallying in the second half.
With TCU driving to potentially retake the lead down 21-17, a banged up Duggan underthrew a fade route to Quentin Johnston that was intercepted in the end zone.
The Wildcats then took a 28-17 lead with 11:27 remaining on a long Deuce Vaughn scoring run. At that point it seemed like the game was over but if we’ve learned anything about the 2022 Horned Frogs, they are never out.
After a Griffin Kell field goal and timely defensive stop, Duggan made up for an early interception by willing TCU to the game-tying score.
On second-and-20, Duggan scrambled for 40 yards to get the Horned Frogs inside the 10-yard line. On the very next play, a clearly exhausted Duggan rumbled into the endzone from eight yards out with 1:51 remaining to make it 28-26.
TCU tied it at 28 as Duggan hit a wide open Jared Wiley on the ensuing two-point conversion. TCU’s defense stepped up as Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson forced an incompletion on third down to get the Horned Frogs the ball back with 38 seconds to go.
Duggan’s heroic effort came up just short. He threw for 251 yards and rushed for 110 more as TCU came up just short of a Big 12 championship.
Now the Horned Frogs will have to await their College Football Playoff spot, which will be announced at 11 a.m. Sunday on ESPN.
Deuce runs wild
The Wildcats needed a big game from their All-American caliber running back and Deuce Vaughn responded against a TCU defense that had been playing its best football late in the season. Vaughn’s 130 rushing yards are the most TCU has allowed all season and his touchdown run ended up being the breaking point for TCU.
Vaughn’s touchdown run was a thing of beauty as he lined up a TCU safety in the open field and made a quick juke to drop the defender and roll 44 yards for a touchdown. Vaughn also had an acrobatic 18-yard reception that set up another Kansas State touchdown.
With the game tied, Vaughn picked up a third down with a nice reception to keep the chains moving. Vaughn finished with 130 yards on 26 carries.
A healthy Johnston
Sonny Dykes said that star receiver Quentin Johnston looked the healthiest he has in month after being able to sit out the Iowa State win last week. Johnston proved that it wasn’t just coach talk as he came back with a monster game. Johnston’s first catch of the game went for over 50 yards and set up TCU’s first touchdown.
Johnston had a costly fumble near the end of the first half, but it didn’t result in Kansas State points. He made up for it by picking up 51 yards near the end of the third quarter to get TCU in scoring range. Johnston got the Horned Frogs even closer after drawing a defensive pass interference in the endzone.
Johnston finished with four receptions for 139 yards.
Miscues plague TCU in first half
After taking the lead late in the first quarter, Kansas State took control of the game as they capitalized on a few errors by the Horned Frogs. TCU missed a 55-yard field goal that would’ve made it 10-0 and Kansas State responded with a six-play, 63-yard drive to tie the game at 7 with jut 15 seconds left before the second quarter.
The Wildcats touchdown was a controversial as tight end Ben Sinnott false started, but he was not penalized. Sinnott ended up catching the touchdown pass. It shouldn’t have come to that as safety Mark Perry had a Will Howard pass come right to him for an interception just a few plays before the touchdown. The Wildcats would take a 14-7 after an easy three-play drive capped off by a Will Howard touchdown run.
TCU was clearly reeling at that point and it was made worse when Max Duggan missed a wide open Taye Barber for a potential touchdown. The pressure from the K-State defensive line forced the ball high. The defense would get the offense the ball back with roughly four minutes until halftime and Duggan connected with Quentin Johnston for another chunk play, but the star receiver gave it right back to Kansas State on a fumble.
TCU caught a break when a long Kansas State completion was overturned by review. TCU took advantage and finally got back on the scoreboard with a 42-yard field goal from Griffin Kell to cut the deficit to 14-10. The Horned Frogs were outplayed after their opening possession, but were able to hang around despite the mistakes.
TCU throws first punch
The Horned Frogs’ first offensive possession was a work of art as TCU went 92 yards in 13 plays to take a 7-0 lead. Max Duggan completed a 53-yard strike to Quentin Johnston up the sideline to start the drive and get the offense across the 50.
As the field began to shrink, TCU became more methodical as the offense had to convert twice on third down and another on fourth down. Duggan made impressive throws to Geor’Quarius Spivey and Jared Wiley to move the chains. He also lowered his shoulder to pick up another first down to set TCU up at the K-State 1-yard line.
Duggan then threw a short touchdown pass to Taye Barber to get on the scoreboard after taking nearly seven minutes off the clock.