Deja Vu: No. 8 TCU football comes from behind at the half to beat No. 17 Kansas State


Esau Rodriguez

QB Max Duggan slides after in for a 14-yard gain and a first down against the No. 17 Kansas State Wildcats. Oct. 22, 2022. (Esau Rodriguez/Staff Photographer)

By Micah Pearce, Staff Writer

Two weeks in a row TCU was down by 11 at halftime to ranked opponents. Two weeks in a row they came back to win. This week they toppled No. 17 Kansas State 38-28.

Last week it took the Frogs two overtimes to complete their comeback win against Oklahoma State.

This week it was K-State who fell victim to the dominance of the No. 8 Frogs in the second half after scoring 0 points in the last 30 minutes of play.

Kansas State’s starting quarterback went to the locker room after their first drive and Will Howard took over the duties. In his first drive he passed back-to-back 28-yard receptions to Philip Brooks and Kade Warner, respectively.

The latter put the Wildcats in the end zone. They also scored via a 1-yard carry after TCU stopped their 37-yard reception 1 yard short of the end zone. They completed another touchdown pass to Sammy Wheeler before scoring on their next drive via running back Deuce Vaughn’s 47-yard carry.

TCU gave up 28 points in the first half after Howard put on a clinic. He threw for 185 passing yards and two passing touchdowns.

The quarterback change was something the defense had to adjust to.

“We know [Adrian] Martinez, he’s so good with his legs,” said linebacker Johnny Hodges. “When Howard came in he started throwing some great passes and I was like ‘Here we go.'”

The team stayed calm and collected at halftime despite the offensive change and the 11-point deficit.

“There was no sense of panic,” said head coach Sonny Dykes. “There was a little bit of frustration, but I didn’t sense any kind of panic.”

The defensive adjustments paid off when safety Bud Clark intercepted the second pass of his career in as many game. His first-career interception was a momentum shifter against Oklahoma State. The interception kept the Frogs within one score of the Cowboys, which they would go on to tie up.

This time, Clark’s interception came after the Frogs took the lead, but it prevented the Wildcats from scoring before the end of the third quarter.

Safeties Bud Clark and Namdi Obiazor celebrate. Clark had an interception in the game, Obiazor’s was overturned. Oct. 22, 2022. (Esau Rodriguez/Staff Photographer) (Esau Rodriguez)

Before facing TCU, K-State hadn’t thrown an interception this season. They gave up two on Saturday.

The interception also fired up the crowd of 47,881 that filled Amon G. Carter Stadium. It was another sellout and another student attendance record, which has now been broken in back-to-back weeks.

6,512 students filled the bleachers, which is more than half of TCU’s enrollment.

“There was an electricity in the stadium tonight,” said Dykes. “Our players fed off the energy of the crowd and we started playing with a lot of confidence.”

There’s something about being down by 11 at halftime to lights a fire under the Horned Frogs. They shutout the K-State offense and found holes in their defense throughout the second half.

Kansas State punted in their first drive of the game before scoring a touchdown in their next 4 possessions. The punted in their last possession of the half.

At the half, the two teams had almost identical rushing numbers with the Frogs carrying for 113 yards and the Wildcats carrying for 111. By the end of the game, TCU had out-rushed K-State 215-158.

The Frogs also out-passed their opponent 280-232 after falling behind at half 192-153.

The offense found their groove in the second half, but the defense really shined, including a stop on a 4th-down conversion attempt in the 4th quarter.

“We made a bunch of plays in the second half, defensively,” said Dykes. “That [play] was probably as big as any of them.”

The Kansas State kicker helped the Frogs defense out, as well. He missed a field goal that would have extended their lead over the Frogs to seven at the beginning of the second half. He missed another field goal attempt later in the 4th quarter that would have decreased TCU’s lead over them to a margin of seven.

Offensively, tight end Jared Wiley notched two career highs with 74 yards on five receptions and a touchdown. The Wildcat defense didn’t look like they wanted any part of covering Wiley until the ball was in his hands.

Quarterback Max Duggan said Wiley was an important part of the offense because of his ability to catch-and-run and also block for his teammates.

“He’s got a special talent,” said Duggan. “It’s a matchup nightmare for a lot of people… they kind of forget about him and let him loose.”

TCU tight end Jared Wiley receives a pass from quarter back Max Duggan en route to career highs in receptions (5) and yard (74). Oct. 22, 2022. (Esau Rodriguez/Staff Photographer.) (Esau Rodriguez)

Duggan threw for 280 yards with no interceptions. His most important pass of the game was to wide receiver Quentin Johnston, who roped in a 55-yard touchdown pass. In a mix of four players, two Frogs covered by two Wildcat defenders, it was Johnston who ended up with the ball.

He back-pedaled into the end zone having scored the go-ahead touchdown. It put TCU up 31-28 after kicker Griffin Kell’s extra point went through the uprights.

Running back Kendre Miller also carried the load of the TCU offense, ending the night with 153 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. He has now had 100 rushing yards in four games this season, adding up to eight in his career.

There was some worry about TCU’s performance against an undefeated Kansas State team who was coming off a bye-week. TCU’s bye was early in the season, but Dykes said the team was prepared to keep moving along.

“We could use some time off, but we’re playing good right now,” said Dykes. “When you’re playing good the last thing in the world you want is a bye.”

The win over No. 17 Kansas State put them at 4 wins in a row over ranked opponents.

The Frogs will travel to Morgantown to play 3-4 West Virginia who is coming off a 48-10 loss against Texas Tech. Kickoff time is set for 11 a.m. and will air on ESPN.

Duggan and Wiley shared the same idea when it comes to their schedule.

“Celebrate tonight, enjoy tonight and get over it,” said Duggan.

“You have to approach every game the same,” said Wiley. “Every game is the biggest game for us.”