The TCU Horned Frogs fell from the ranks of the unbeaten in an overtime clash that ended with the Kansas State Wildcats Ty Zentner kicking the game-winning field goal in the Big 12 Championship at AT&T Stadium.
Kansas State was able to win on the field goal by virtue of an epic goal line stand where they stuffed TCU RB Kendre Miller twice on the Frogs’ opening possession of OT.
Kansas State led 28-17 in the fourth quarter and the main reason the game was extended to overtime was the dynamic performance of TCU QB Max Duggan who had his “Heisman” moment with 95 yards rushing on the game-tying drive en route to almost single-handedly carrying the Horned Frogs to the Big 12 title.
While USC QB Caleb Williams has been considered the Heisman favorite, if Duggan’s heroic Saturday afternoon did not put him atop the list, it should at least warrant an invite to New York City for the festivities.
“I think since my four years I’ve been here, there have been a lot of lows in a football career and to be so close to bringing this school, this university a championship, the guys, the seniors on this team have been though a lot,” Duggan said. “I think that’s where it hurts the most is that you’ve been so down before, so low. To get so close and it falls short, I think that’s where it’s coming from.”
Duggan’s season numbers are 3,321 passing yards, 30 touchdowns, and 4 interceptions as well as 394 yards and 5 TDs on the ground.
Kansas State RB Deuce Vaughn was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player with 26 rushes for 130 yards that included a 44 yard TD run that extended the Wildcats lead to 11 points prior to TCU’s fourth quarter renaissance.
In winning the Big 12 Championship, Kansas State will play in the Sugar Bowl where their likely opponent will be the Alabama Crimson Tide.
As for TCU, they finished the regular season at No.3 in the College Football Playoff poll, so there are many experts that believe that they will remain in the playoff picture, either at No. 3 or No. 4 behind the Ohio State Buckeyes who would replace USC after the Trojans dropped their second game of the season in the Pac 12 Championship to the Utah Utes.
TCU should stay at #3 because they lost in the Conference Championship Game to a top 10 opponent at a neutral site. Ohio State should stay at #4 because they were blown out AT HOME in a rivalry game against a top 10 opponent.
TCU has ended the season at No. 3 in the CFP rankings in 2014, only to be bumped out of the playoff by Ohio State, but the circumstances and the quality of the Big 12 Conference are different in 2022.
“To go back to 2014, I think TCU has been through this,” TCU head coach Sonny Dykes said. “Lost a close game to Baylor in 2014 and didn’t have a conference championship game at the time. I really believe that was a different time in college football. I think the Big 12 is in a different place than it was then. I think they are going to see it different, but at the same time, you just don’t know. I’m concerned, obviously, but again, I’ve got faith in the committee and I believe – I know that we deserve to be in, so my guess is, we’ll be in.”
There is a precedence for TCU getting in despite the loss in the Big 12 title game. Just last season, Georgia advance to the playoff despite falling to Alabama in the SEC Championship at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and in 2020, Notre Dame lost to Clemson in the ACC Championship Game but secured a spot in the CFP semifinal game played at the Rose Bowl.
The College Football Playoff rankings will be unveiled on Sunday, Dec. 4 at 11 am CT as part of Selection Sunday.