Kansas State finally climbed out of the Big 12 cellar with a 24-17 win over TCU. As Jon Morse noted in the BotC post-game recap, it took some fourth quarter heroics from quarterback Skylar Thompson who engineered an 11-play, 95-yard drive to seal the win for the Wildcats.
Chris Klieman’s first Big 12 win was more of an escape than a triumph. For much of the game, TCU dominated in every area except the scoreboard. Indeed the Frogs had nearly twice as much yardage as the Wildcats, including more than double Kansas State’s totals on the ground. TCU also had more first downs, greater time of possession and less than half the penalty yards of their opponents.
Still, when it really mattered, and with his back against the wall, Thompson showed up just as he has in the waning moments of seemingly lost games in the past. Pinned back at the 5-yard line, he pulled off three huge runs: a 61-yard effort that put fans in mind of Jesse Ertz, a short run to convert on a key fourth down, and finally, a scamper into the end zone for the winning score.
That this was the best the offense has looked for more than a month was not lost on anyone, and least of all on Klieman himself who noted afterwards, “[w]e made some plays that we haven’t made in the past.”
The defense was mostly absent, with two notable exceptions. First, Wyatt Hubert was lights out in the final drive, producing first a sack that killed the momentum TCU was building on the final drive and then a big hit that effectively ended the game. Second, and this cannot be overstated, punter Devin Anctil once again proved he’s the best (and most consistent) player on the team. He averaged 49 yards a punt and twice put the ball inside the 20. He also managed so much hang time on his final punt that TCU was left with hardly any time for last-second shenanigans.
Enjoy this win, because next week is going to be a bloodbath.
The Wildcats made more progress at the ITA Central Regionals in Norman, as three players advanced. Maria Linares, Margot Decker, and Rosanna Maffei all won their matches to advance to the Round of 16 in the singles tournament. Anna Turco, Ioanna Gheorghita, and Karine-Marion Job lost their matches, however.
Kansas State was less fortunate in the doubles event. Decker and Turco had advanced to the next round on the first day, but in the Round of 32, the pair lost a tough match 6-8 to end the Wildcats’ run in doubles.
Play continues today in Norman.
In the Women’s White 6K Race at the Under Armour Pre-Nationals Invitational in Terre Haute, Indiana, Kansas State freshman Jaybe Shufelberger finished 36th with a time of 22:04.7. This was her first top 50 finish in purple. Three other Wildcats, Cayli Hume, Anna Keeley, and Hannah Stewart, all finished in the top 100, and the team finished in 22nd place overall.
On the men’s side, there was a bit of disappointment as only Cooper Schroeder finished inside the top 100 of the Men’s Blue 8K. He finished 75th with a time of 24:37.8.
Up next, the cross-country team will appear at the Big 12 Championships in Waco, Texas on November 2.