FORT WORTH, Texas – The Kansas State Wildcats fell short on the road against the TCU Horned Frogs on Saturday, falling 14-13 in front of 40,486 fans at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
K-State (3-6, 1-5 Big 12) held the Horned Frogs to 275 yards in the game, including just 13 first downs, the fewest first downs by an opponent in a loss since 2017 against Vanderbilt. The K-State defense forced TCU into four three-and-outs on Saturday, tying a season high, previously set against South Dakota.
The Wildcat offense totaled 301 yards, including 162 passing yards, as junior quarterback Alex Delton found the end zone both on the ground and through the air. Delton’s first quarter touchdown strike to freshman Malik Knowles was Knowles’ first of his career.
TCU (4-5, 2-4 Big 12) improves its all-time series lead against the Wildcats to 7-5, earning their fourth victory against the Wildcats since joining the Big 12. TCU benefitted from a 76-yard touchdown by sophomore wide receiver Jalen Reagor in the third quarter, which proved to be the game-winner for the Horned Frogs.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Horned Frogs got the first opportunity to put points on the board on Saturday, capitalizing following a K-State special teams turnover in the first quarter, resulting in a 4-yard touchdown rush by Darius Anderson.
Despite giving up the early lead, the Wildcats marched back later in the first quarter, as K-State scored on a 10-play, 72-yard drive that was capped off by an acrobatic catch from Knowles in the back of the end zone. The touchdown marked the first of Knowles’ career as the Wildcats tied the game at 7-7 with 4:05 left in the first quarter.
To start the second quarter, TCU faced a fourth and short in K-State’s territory. The Horned Frogs opted to go for it, being shut down to force a turnover on downs. The K-State defensive stop proved to be important as the Wildcats held TCU off the scoreboard for the remainder of the half, as the score was knotted 7-7 at halftime.
It wasn’t until midway through the third quarter that either team scored again, as TCU took the advantage on a 67-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Mike Collins to Reagor, as the Horned Frogs regained the lead at 14-7 with 5:26 left in the third quarter.
In the fourth quarter the Wildcats fought back to bring the score to 14-13 with 9:16 left in the game, when K-State pushed the ball down the field for a 12-play drive that started at midfield. The drive was finished off on a quarterback sneak by Delton, who punched it in from 1-yard out on fourth down.
On their next offensive possession and pinned back in their own territory, the Wildcats converted on a series of influential plays, including a 31-yard completion from Delton to senior wide receiver Zach Reuter. On the following play, Delton was hurried and forced into throwing the football away, resulting in a flag for intentional grounding.
Needing to secure a first down after the penalty, K-State failed to convert on fourth and long, giving the ball back to TCU with 1:25 left on the clock. The Frogs were able to kneel the ball, subsequently ending the game at 14-13.
OFFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Alex Delton – After coming in for an injured Skylar Thompson in the first quarter, Delton completed 15 of 25 passes for 155 yards and a touchdown, garnering a 125.3 quarterback rating. In addition, Delton carried the ball 23 times for 71 yards and a score.
DEFENSIVE PLAYERS OF THE GAME
Jahron McPherson – The redshirt sophomore defensive back played a crucial role in the K-State pass defense on Saturday, where he forced two pass break ups against the TCU passing offense. The two pass breakups marked a new career high for McPherson.
Wyatt Hubert – Recording four tackles including two tackles for loss, Hubert made his presence felt in the backfield on Saturday. In addition to his four tackles, Hubert forced several quarterback hurries.
STAT OF THE GAME
13 – The K-State defense held the Horned Frogs to just 13 first downs in the game, the fewest since allowing 11 first downs against Vanderbilt a season ago. The 13 first downs are also the second time this season the Wildcats have held their opponent to under 15 first downs in the game.