The Wildcats are 4-1 since these teams met in an October contest that saw KSU jump out to an 18-point 1st half lead, before the TCU Defense pitched a shut out over the final 40 minutes of the game and TCU scored 28-straight points to emerge with a 10-point victory. K-State will likely turn to Will Howard as QB for the fourth consecutive game, even as it has been reported that one-time starter Adrian Martinez may be available and deployed in certain situations on Saturday. Howard’s first game action of the season was in relief of Martinez after one possession vs. TCU and the Wildcat offense has been terrific under his leadership, averaging 43.5 points per game in his four starts after the TCU game. Running Back Deuce Vaughn is the superstar of the Kansas State offense, averaging 108 rush yards per game and a threat to take over a game at any moment. Defensively, the K-State pass rush rules the day, as Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year Felix Anudike-Uzomah has menaced every offense he’s faced, while his teammates put up 4 sacks on the Frogs in October.
TCU finally put together a start-to-finish all-out dominant performance in its regular season finale against Iowa State, putting up 62 points on the Big 12’s top scoring defense which entered the game allowing just 16.5 points per game. Max Duggan added three more passing TDs to his season, giving him 29 on the campaign. Speaking of campaign, Max Duggan has quietly remained in the race for the Heisman trophy, as TCU just kicked off a campaign video this week. Duggan looks to get a full compliment of weapons available after missing Quentin Johnston, Kendre Miller, Derius Davis, and Taye Barber for some or all of the last two contests. Those weapons will look to show the ability for explosive scoring plays that helped the Frogs come back against these Wildcats earlier this season. The TCU Defense has steadily improved its consistency throughout the season, holding Doak Walker Award Finalist Bijan Robinson to 29 yards and Biletnikoff Finalist Xavier Hutchinson to 2 receptions for 11 yards. Big 12 All-Conference First Team DBs Josh Newton and Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson have developed into a lockdown duo, though will revisit one of the receiving groups that gave them the most trouble. The TCU Defensive front has been creating pressure better down the stretch of the season, with particular spotlight on Dylan Horton. The Linebacker group has been great against the run all season, as Johnny Hodges leads the team in tackles, Dee Winters leads the team in sacks, and Jamoi Hodge and Shadrach Banks have been flying around making plays all over the field.
Kansas State will likely be in the Sugar Bowl regardless of the outcome, but for the Horned Frogs the stakes are monumental. In what could be considered the most important game in recent TCU history, the Frogs can secure a bid to the College Football Playoff with its first ever Big 12 Championship Game victory.
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