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FINAL: TCU 26, K-State 6

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K-State’s defense turned in a game effort, but the offense never got anything going.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Kansas State Scott Sewell-USA TODAY Sports

In a game where kickoff was delayed three hours by storms, then delayed again in the fourth quarter, Texas Christian prevailed over K-State, 26-6.

TCU used short fields to put 10 points on the board in the first quarter. The Frogs’ two scoring drives covered 72 total yards. Meanwhile, K-State gained 25 net yards on four first-quarter drives and punted each time.

It looked like the rout, such as it may have been, was on. But early in the second quarter, Alex Delton found Byron Pringle down the sideline for a 33-yard gain and suddenly K-State had the ball at TCU’s seven-yard line. After a false start and a fumbled snap, Delton found Pringle again in the end zone for an apparent score. But Pringle was called for offensive pass interference. On the next play, Delton lost the ball on a blindside hit and TCU recovered.

TCU tacked on another field goal then forced another K-State three-and-out. But the Frogs fumbled on the next drive and K-State was in business at TCU’s 24-yard line. The Wildcats gained only three yards before Matt McCrane knocked home a 38-yard field goal.

The teams traded possessions before halftime without success. TCU took a 13-3 lead into the locker room.

TCU already had more than enough points, as it turned out, but the Frogs opened the second half with a backbreaking 13-play, 75-yard drive to score another touchdown. It was 20-3 and the Wildcats looked dead in the water.

Alex Delton scampered 36 yards on the first play of the next drive to give the Wildcats a spark. But the Wildcats went no further and settled for a 51-yard field goal attempt. McCrane connected again and it was 20-6.

The rest of the game was pretty much academic at that point. K-State was close enough that a turnover or a big play could have put them back in the game. But playing with a backup quarterback against Gary Patterson’s defense made that a longshot.

As though the teams and fans hadn’t suffered enough, the game was delayed again in the fourth quarter. The teams headed to the locker room for nearly an hour. When the game resumed, K-State punted to TCU and the Frogs went 65 yards in eight plays to tally one final score.

  1. What did we really expect?

TCU is a top-10 team that has already won in Stillwater, and pretty easily at that. Kenny Hill still doesn’t look like what you’d expect from a five-star recruit, but he’s doing enough to win games, and TCU runs the ball effectively.

Meanwhile, K-State was playing with a one-dimensional backup quarterback against perhaps the Big 12’s best defense. I had some quibbles with a few of the play calls, particularly going pistol formation and handing off straight ahead on fourth down and one yard to go, but TCU’s defense poses questions that don’t have good answers with the personnel at K-State’s disposal today.

The game was frustrating because the defense played well enough to keep K-State within theoretical striking distance. But every time K-State made a solid play on offense, they failed to capitalize because they couldn’t follow it up with another successful play. Or they turned the ball over. That’s the type of inconsistent execution you get with inexperienced personnel.

2. K-State’s defense did its job.

The Wildcats held TCU to 98 rushing yards. As a reminder, the Frogs average 220 rushing yards per game this year. As I wrote in the preview, they needed to limit TCU’s run game and put the game on Hill’s shoulders.

They did, but Hill was up to the task. He completed 27-37 pass attempts for 297 yards (8.0 yards/attempt). He didn’t have a passing touchdown, but the aerial attack kept the chains moving and set up TCU’s scoring opportunities.

3. That said, it doesn’t look good.

I was playing basketball in the living room with my son today. He rebounds and I go to where I shoot from. He throws me the pass. But he’s five. Sometimes the throw is not in a position where I can get to it. Maybe this is an allegory for the game today, or maybe I’m just telling irrelevant stories.

Texas put in a game effort before losing to Oklahoma today, 29-24. The Longhorns are better than we probably expected before last week. But losing that game in Austin hurt, more because our next two opponents were top-10 teams than because it said anything about how good K-State is this year.

And while I still maintain that there isn’t much that’s really broken, the losses are mounting and Oklahoma looms next week. Let’s hope we find something before the Sooners arrive, or that OU is flat after a big win.

And if we see another half of inept offensive football, then at least give Skylar Thompson a try. We really don’t have anything to lose at this point.