TCU vs. Kansas State score, takeaways: Wildcats edge Frogs in OT to win Big 12 title, will TCU stick in CFP?
Kansas State gave up a large lead but claimed its first outright Big 12 championship since 2003
ARLINGTON, Texas -- No. 10 Kansas State edged No. 4 TCU 31-28 in overtime to win the 2022 Big 12 Championship Game, marking the second defeat of a team projected for the College Football Playoff field entering conference championship weekend. The Wildcats held the Horned Frogs out of the end zone on three straight plays at the goal line in overtime to set up a game-winning field goal on their OT possession that ended TCU's perfect season.
The Big 12 championship belongs to Kansas State for the first time since 2012, and its the Frogs' first outright league crown since 2003.
TCU quarterback Max Duggan took the game to the goal line on second down for a potential go-ahead score in the opening portion of overtime. Running back Kendre Miller appeared to stretch the ball into the end zone on third down, but the play was not reviewed despite an injury timeout. Kansas State then met Miller in the backfield on fourth down, getting the Wildcats back the ball and ensuring any score would win.
TCU trailed 28-20 with less than 3 minutes remaining, but Duggan almost singlehandedly sent the game to overtime with one of the best individual drives of the college football season. Duggan had huge scrambles on third-and-15 and second-and-20, eventually running for a touchdown and completing a 2-point conversion pass to tie the game at 28 and force overtime. Duggan ran for 95 yards on the 80-yard drive (due to penalties), though his effort ultimately came up short.
Duggan finished with 251 yards passing, 110 yards rushing and two total touchdowns in the loss. Kansas State RB Deuce Vaughn led the way with 130 yards rushing, 30 yards receiving and a key touchdown. TCU wide receiver Quentin Johnston finished with 139 yards.
TCU's College Football Playoff status
The Horned Frogs all but locked up a CFP bid before kickoff of the Big 12 title game, according to CBS Sports bowls expert Jerry Palm, as one of three undefeated Power Five teams entering the weekend. Despite their loss Saturday, they remain projected earn placement in the four-team field once it is announced Sunday. TCU had a ceiling of No. 1 should it have won with Georgia and Michigan losing. However, given it was an overtime loss to a top-10 opponent in Kansas State that TCU already defeated during the regular season, the Frogs will likely enter the playoff at No. 3 ahead of Ohio State, which is projected to take the final spot.
Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn has been one of the most electric running backs in the country over the past three years. He saved one of his biggest moments for the biggest stage, however, as Vaughn broke into the open field and completely embarrassed three TCU defenders on the way for a huge touchdown.
Vaughn was unbelievable with 160 all-purpose yards for the Wildcats as Kansas State managed to clinch a 10-win season for the first time since 2012. This program was built in the image of Bill Snyder, but Chris Klieman has proven that the Wildcats can similarly be a nationally relevant program. Winning the Big 12 championship also sends Kansas State to the Sugar Bowl and gives them a massive date with a high-profile SEC program -- maybe even against perennial power Alabama.
The "Cardiac Frogs" have played with fire all season long but managed to escape unscathed -- until Saturday. TCU put together one of the most improbable comebacks of the season, powered by Duggan running for 95 yards during an 80-yard drive after accounting for penalty yardage.
However, Kansas State gave the Frogs fits during the regular season and went up 28-10 before quarterback injuries set them back. Similarly, TCU scored eight points in an impossible amount of time to send the game to overtime. Luck ultimately ran out down the stretch, and it will leave TCU sweating during the College Football Playoff reveal.
By the end of the overtime matchup, the Big 12 Championship Game became a battle of attrition. The Wildcats lost top receiver Malik Knowles and cornerback Ekow Boye-Doe. Duggan was winded by the end of the game, while the Frogs were without several key depth pieces in big spots. At the end of the game, Dykes acknowledged that not running Duggan at the goal line was influenced by his being winded. Depth often decides championships, and the Big 12 title was no different.
4Q: Kansas State 28, TCU 20
With just 7:34 remaining, Sonny Dykes opted to kick a field goal on fourth-and-4 to cut the lead to one score. However, the Frogs have struggled to get Kansas State off the field in key spots and now have to both limit points and get Kansas State off the field in short enough order to have a chance to tie the game.
Deuce is loose
4Q: Kansas State 28, TCU 17
Kansas State running back Deuce Vaughn is good for an explosive play every game -- and he just had the biggest of the day. Vaughn broke three defenders' ankles on the way to the end zone and now Kansas State holds a devastating two-score lead in crunch time.
3Q: Kansas State 21, TCU 17
The Wildcats had TCU dead to rights, but a punt may have just swung the game. The Frogs had to punt after a sack from Felix Anudike-Uzomah, but Kansas State muffed the punt and TCU recovered in plus field position. The Frogs took full advantage and set up a rushing touchdown from Kendre Miller, his 14th consecutive game with a rushing touchdown.
'Cats are back
3Q: Kansas State 21, TCU 10
If TCU hopes to win its first outright Big 12 Championship, the Frogs will have to come from behind again. After a bad call on a potential safety, Kansas State marched 62 yards down the field in just four plays. Will Howard completed passes of 26 and 25, including the strike to RJ Garcia for a touchdown through TCU's secondary. TCU had an opportunity to take momentum back, but Kansas State has stuffed them.