On this day exactly one year ago, your Kansas State Wildcats were 5-1 and looking ahead to the contest in Ft Worth the next evening as they would attempt to unseat then 6-0 TCU. Many things went wrong from K-State that next night, including injuries at key spots on both sides of the ball. In the end, K-State fell 28-38, but the Wildcats won the much more important rematch six weeks later to claim the 2022 Big 12 Championship.
Fast-forward to today, and neither Big 12 championship game participant is having the season they expected. Certainly both teams expected a bit of a let down after stellar 2022 campaigns, but both teams have struggled in unexpected ways.
K-State enters tonight’s game at 4-2 on the season, and 2-1 in Big 12 play. The Wildcats have struggled to find a true identity on both offense and defense, despite generally doing pretty well in both categories. When things are humming, the Wildcats are a top 15 team; but when things are off, K-State is still a top 50 team. And that probably shows the biggest growth of the program under Chris Klieman — in the two losses the Cats played very poorly, yet both losses were close. The program’s floor is the highest it’s been since probably the late 1990’s.
TCU enters tonight’s game at 4-3 on the season and 1-2 in Big 12 play, and has struggled on defense so far in 2023. They couldn’t quite keep up with Colorado in the track meet to open the season, but then reeled off three straight wins, including games against Big 12 foe Houston and rival SMU, before dropping their next two against WVU and Iowa State. Of course, WVU has been a surprise this season, but the loss to ISU was not good, and the Frogs gave up 27 points to an anemic Cyclone offense. But they are coming off a nice win over BYU last weekend in Ft Worth, and should have a bit of momentum on their side.
While this game doesn’t have the high stakes of the last two games, this is still an important game. K-State can stay in the race for a return to Arlington in December; TCU could get back on track and get themselves back in the conversation.
Being in Manhattan tonight should benefit the Wildcats, but the Frogs are no strangers to winning on the road in the Big 12 this season, with that win over The Fighting Holgorsens coming in Houston. K-State might be a slight favorite tonight, but the Cats will need to be humming if they want to avoid the upset and pick up their second-straight over the Frogs, and the 5th win under Klieman.
We’ve got a 6:00pm CT kickoff from Bill Snyder Family Stadium being aired on ESPN2 with Roy Philpott (Play-by-Play), Roddy Jones (Analyst), Taylor McGregor (Sidelines) on the call. You should also be able to watch the game live online at WatchESPN, if you already have the correct cable/streaming package.
If you don’t have ESPN2, or can’t access the stream, the game can be heard across the 32-station K-State Sports Network with Wyatt Thompson (play-by-play), former K-State quarterback Stan Weber (analyst), and Matt Walters (sidelines) calling the action. The game will also be on SiriusXM Satellite Radio Ch. 136 or 200; and available online at K-Statesports.com. Live stats are also available at k-statesports.com, and social media updates (@KStateFB) will also be a part of the coverage.