Kansas State will likely take the lead in the BCS standings with win over the TCU Horned Frogs
By KEVIN LONNQUIST
Big 12 Insider
FORT WORTH – Even if each Kansas State player learned Alabama lost during Saturday’s game at TCU, no one acted like it was a big deal.
In order to be the presumed No. 1 team in the BCS, the Wildcats had to win to put themselves there. By no means was No. 2 Kansas State proficient in its 23-10 victory Saturday at Amon Carter Stadium. Far from it.
But defensively, they put a vice grip on the Horned Frogs and by Sunday night they could be become the hunted. When Alabama was stunned at home by Texas A&M, 29-24, it gave the 10-0 Wildcats a clear shot with a favorable schedule.
And yet when coach Bill Snyder was asked about the idea of being the No. 1 team in the country, he said nonchalantly,
“I have no thoughts about it whatsoever,’’ Snyder said. “I’m just going to ask the guys as I always do to try and get better at practice on Monday.’’
While it isn’t the consumable answer you want to hear, you understand why Kansas State is the way it is. To a man, every Kansas State player said he was more concerned about what they could do including correcting mistakes and making sure they continue to work as a family.
Yes, it’s sure vanilla. But yes, it’s sure working. It goes back what Snyder preaches about maintaining the intrinsic values he has established. You really don’t know what that means until you see it in person.
It starts the way the Wildcats go through their pre-game ritual with the orderly entrance to the field. Snyder shakes the hand of every player as the warm-ups begin. The game runs itself where everything has its place and every player has and understands his role.
It continues in the postgame when the Wildcats shake the hands of fans who were leaning over rail in the end zone. It looks like the weekly family reunion.
You see it when every player leaves the locker room dressed in coat and tie. Snyder returned to restore a businesslike approach but foster a family atmosphere.
Now, the Wildcats are two wins away from most likely playing for the BCS national championship. Of course, that depends on what the computers think of Oregon and perhaps Notre Dame.
This is setting up perfectly for the Wildcats. They travel to Baylor on Saturday, enjoy a bye week during the Thanksgiving weekend and then return home to play Texas in the regular season finale in Manhattan on Dec. 1.
“Yes we control our own destiny,’’ linebacker Jarell Childs said. “If we move to No. 1, we move to No. 1. But after today, there’s still a lot to correct.’’
Kansas State had four possessions that started either started at midfield or in TCU territory and netted nine points on three field goals.
But over the course of three months, you’re not going to be excellent every week. In these games where it becomes a struggle, the little things make the difference. The discipline and lack of self-induced mistakes will win every time.
Plus, the Kansas State defense just owned TCU. Redshirt quarterback Trevone Boykin had to constantly scramble, wound up leaving the game for a time in the second quarter with a right shoulder injury and just hope a pass wouldn’t get batted back in his face.
While Kansas State totaled 260 yards, TCU amassed a good chunk of its 274 well after this was decided.
Quarterback Collin Klein, who appeared to be fine after leaving last week’s game against Oklahoma State with what looked like a concussion, wasn’t sharp with an early interception and throwing for a meager 145 yards. But he made the plays needed including the 34-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter that eventually put this game away.
TCU coach Gary Patterson recognized his team had to be as physical as Kansas State.
As he said earlier in the week, the Wildcats eventually make you play to the point where you say, ‘no mas’. The Horned Frogs could not match what the Wildcats delivered.
By Dec. 2, we’ll find out if the Big 12’s non-descript yet steady team will be playing in Miami on Jan. 7 for the national title.
“There is a very fine line,’’ Patterson said, “And that is a team that can play for a national championship.’’
TCU/KANSAS STATE GAME NOTES
*The Horned Frogs’ three-game winning streak against top-five ranked opponents came to an end
*Kansas State is off to its second 10-0 start in school history. The 1998 team started 11-0.
*TCU dropped to 13-9 against ranked teams under head coach Gary Patterson.
*KSU QB Collin Klein’s 34-yard TD run gives him 52 in his career, fourth in Big 12 history.
*Kansas State’s 260 yards allowed and 12 first downs were the lowest totals by a Big 12 opponent against TCU this season.
*Kansas State was held to its lowest point total of the season. Its previous low was in a 24-19 win at Oklahoma.
*TCU’s fourth-quarter touchdown were the first points Kansas State allowed off a turnover this season. The Wildcats now have outscored their opponents in that category, 114-7.
*The attendance of 47,292 was the fourth-largest crowd in TCU history.
*TCU had its fourth sellout in five home games this season. The Horned Frogs have sold out 12 of their last 13 home games and 14 of the past 19.
*The Horned Frogs scored in their 252nd consecutive game. It’s the third-longest active streak in the nation and eighth in NCAA history. TCU hasn’t been blanked since a 32-0 loss at Texas at Nov. 16, 1991. Kansas State has scored in 200 consecutive games, eighth-longest in the nation.
*TCU did not score first for the first time in its last four contests. The last time a Horned Frog opponent had scored first was in TCU’s 49-21 win at Baylor (Oct. 13).
*Stansly Maponga recorded two of TCU’s three sacks and recovered his first fumble of the season. Chucky Hunter had TCU’s other sack.
*Devonte Fields recorded his first career interception to go with a tackle for loss among three stops.