Missed ex­tra point, other mis­cues cost Kansas State in loss at TCU

The Wichita Eagle (Sunday) - - Sports - BY KELLIS ROBINETT

It was the type of game that fea­tured a dou­ble fum­ble, a punt from within field-goal range, a missed ex­tra point and as many turnovers as touch­downs.

TCU de­feated Kansas State 14-13 on Satur­day at Amon G. Carter Sta­dium in a matchup that was, per­haps, the op­po­site of an in­stant clas­sic.

The Horned Frogs made just enough big plays to sur­vive against the Wild­cats, who were done in by a sput­ter­ing of­fense and mis­take-prone spe­cial teams.

K-State had an op­por­tu­nity to win the game in the fi­nal mo­ments, when it started its fi­nal drive at its own 4 with 3 min­utes, but were un­able to take ad­van­tage. Alex Del­ton led the Wild­cats across mid­field with a 31-yard pass to Zach Reuter. But TCU forced Del­ton into an in­ten­tional ground­ing penalty on the fi­nal play. K-State went on turn the ball over on downs.

With the win, TCU (4-5, 2-4 Big 12) got a much needed vic­tory that will keep its bowl hopes alive. With the loss, KS­tate (3-6, 1-5) en­ters its next game against Kansas on a los­ing streak.

The most im­pres­sive play of the day was a 67-yard touch­down pass from TCU quar­ter­back Mike Collins to re­ceiver Jalen Reagor. That put the Horned Frogs ahead 14-7 mid­way through the third quar­ter and put con­sid­er­able pres­sure on the Wild­cats to an­swer.

In a low scor­ing, sloppy game, a K-State re­but­tal was any­thing but given. The Wild­cats did an­swer back, though,

in the fourth quar­ter on a quar­ter­back sneak from Alex Del­ton.

The touch­down came on fourth and inches and pulled K-State to within 14-13, but it failed to tie the game when Blake Lynch missed the ex­tra point wide left fol­low­ing a ques­tion­able hold from Colby Moore in which the ball was placed on the ground with the laces pointed in in­stead of out.

Spe­cial teams were a prob­lem for K-State all af­ter­noon. Moore also failed to cor­ral a snap on a short field-goal at­tempt in the sec­ond quar­ter, which led to an in­ter­cep­tion. And Isa­iah Zu­ber lost a fum­ble while try­ing to re­turn a punt in the first quar­ter.

K-State, a team that has for years taken ad­van­tage of ex­cel­lent spe­cial teams to win close games, was flawed in that area here.

You could tell it was go­ing to be a strange game from the be­gin­ning.

K-State and TCU both strug­gled to get much of any­thing go­ing on of­fense and fin­ished the first half tied at 7-7.

The game started promis­ingly enough for the Wild­cats, as they forced the Horned Frogs into a three-and-out on their open­ing drive. But that quickly be­came a neg­a­tive when Isa­iah Zu­ber dropped the en­su­ing punt and TCU took over in ex­cel­lent field po­si­tion.

TCU run­ning back Dar­ius An­der­son took ad­van­tage mo­ments later with a four-yard touch­down run.

It was a sign of things to come. Sus­tained drives were rare. The best scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for both teams oc­curred af­ter mis­cues from the op­pos­ing side.

But the Wild­cats did man­age one scor­ing drive mid­way through the first quar­ter. Alex Del­ton took over for Sky­lar Thomp­son af­ter the start­ing quar­ter­back ex­ited the game with an in­jury, and led K-State 72 yards in 10 plays to the score.

He capped the drive with a 21-yard pass to fresh­man re­ceiver Ma­lik Knowles, who made an ex­cel­lent catch in the back of the end zone. The first touch­down catch of his col­lege ca­reer was a beauty.

K-State could use more young play­mak­ers like Knowles, es­pe­cially with Zu­ber, the lead­ing re­ceiver on the team, cu­ri­ously no longer in­volved with the of­fense. Wy­keen Gill also stepped up to make some im­por­tant catches.

But there were few other high­lights.

The Wild­cats fin­ished the first half with 146 yards on 37 plays and the Horned Frogs man­aged 137 on 33.

K-State threat­ened to take the lead in the sec­ond quar­ter when Blake Lynch lined up to at­tempt a short field goal, but the Wild­cats came up empty when Colby Moore mis­han­dled the snap and ended up throw­ing an in­ter­cep­tion on an im­promptu fake.

Del­ton fin­ished with 155 yards and a touch­down pass­ing. Alex Barnes had 102 yards on the ground. It wasn’t enough.

In a bat­tle of two frag­ile teams des­per­ately try­ing to turn around dis­ap­point­ing sea­sons, TCU came out on top.

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