FORT WORTH, Texas – AJ Parker’s interception return for a touchdown proved to be the difference, as K-State secured a 21-14 win over Big 12 rival TCU on Saturday in Fort Worth. FINAL STATS (PDF) | PHOTO GALLERY
K-State improved to 3-1 overall and 3-0 in Big 12 play with the victory.
With the Cats leading by seven in the third quarter, Parker picked off a Matthew Downing pass and returned it 37 yards for a score to give the Cats a 21-7 advantage.
TCU (1-2 Big 12) made it interesting in the fourth. The Horned Frogs scored the only points of the quarter on a Max Duggan touchdown run, and the hosts had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds.
Kansas State batted down a pass in the end zone on the final play of the game to secure the win.
K-State held a 14-7 lead at halftime following a pair of field goals by Blake Lynch and a rushing score by Will Howard.
Lynch’s first make was a career-long from 53 yards out.
Wyatt Hubert added a blocked field goal in the opening half to help keep the Cats in front.
Howard, getting the start for senior Skylar Thompson, who missed Saturday’s game with the shoulder injury he picked up in the first half against Texas Tech – threw for 117 yards and rushed for 86 yards and a score on the day for K-State.
The true freshman quarterback completed 8-of-19 passes with one interception and was sacked twice.
“They pressured him quite a bit. I thought he did a really nice job getting us into some good checks,” coach Chris Klieman said of Howard. “He’s going to learn and get better.
“You’re talking about a true freshman coming into TCU, and his first start is against a Gary Patterson-coached defense. It’s a pretty tall task, and I thought he did a great job.”
Duggan went 19-for-31 on completed passes for 154 yards for TCU in the defeat.
Darwin Barlow, making his first career start for the Horn Frogs, had a career high and team-best 56 yards on the ground on eight carries to go with his touchdown.
“I’m disappointed in the loss, not how some of the younger guys played,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said.
“In a game where you don’t have many choices, you have to make plays when you’re supposed to make plays and you can’t give them anything and we gave them something.
“At the end of the day we have to do a better job on all accounts.”
TCU held a 342-289 advantage in total yardage on the day.
The Wildcats, who are off to a 3-0 start in the Big 12 for the first time since 2014, will return to action on October 24 against in-state rival Kansas at Snyder Stadium in Manhattan.
Up next for TCU is a date at home with Oklahoma on Oct. 24.