MANHATTAN, Kan. — Jack Cantele kicked a 41-yard field goal, his fourth of the game, with 3 seconds remaining to give Kansas State a thrilling 33-31 victory over TCU on Saturday.
The Horned Frogs had taken the lead on a 56-yard field goal by Jaden Oberkrom with 2:13 left, but the Wildcats (6-4, 4-3) quickly marched down field. Jake Waters hit Tyler Lockett for 12 yards to convert a third down, and hit him again for 8 more yards to get within field-goal range.
Cantele trotted onto the field, lined up and sent the kick through the uprights, leaping into the air as several Wildcats poured onto the field to celebrate.
They were penalized for excessive celebration, but the 15-yard mark-off didn’t matter. TCU (4-7, 2-6) couldn’t do anything with the kickoff as Kansas State wrapped its fourth straight win.
The victory made the Wildcats bowl-eligible for the fourth consecutive year, while also ending the Horned Frogs’ run of eight consecutive bowl games.
It was a rough way to return to Manhattan for TCU coach Gary Patterson, who played linebacker for the Wildcats in the early 1980s. He said it was his first trip back in 30 years.
The teams traded punts through a breezy opening quarter until Blake Slaughter picked off Casey Pachall. With a short field, Daniel Sams scooted 11 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
Kansas State didn’t waste much time adding onto it.
After holding the Horned Frogs to three-and-out, Waters entered the game and threw deep down the sideline on the first play of the series. Lockett had put a move on All-American cornerback Jason Verrett and ran open in front of the TCU bench, hauling in the pass for a 74-yard TD reception.
TCU finally got going when B.J. Catalon left Kansas State safety Dante Barnett grasping for air on a 15-yard touchdown run. But the Wildcats answered with a 51-yard drive, and they settled for Cantele’s field goal and a 17-7 halftime lead after mismanaging the time in the final minute.
The mistake proved costly when the Horned Frogs pulled ahead in the third quarter.
Boykin hit Dotson in the back of the end zone from a yard out, and then took advantage of a short field caused by Sams’ fumble to carry 7 yards to the left side on fourth-and-1 for the score.
In a game of wild momentum swings, Kansas State quickly took it back.
On third-and-14 from the Wildcats’ 21-yard line, Waters took advantage of time in the pocket to hit Tramaine Thompson in broken coverage. He out-ran safety Elisha Olabode to the end zone for a 24-21 lead — the 79-yard scoring strike the longest for Kansas State since 2005.
Back came the Horned Frogs, who went after backup safety Dylan Schellenberg, pressed into duty after an injury to Ty Zimmerman. David Porter ran past Schellenberg and caught Pachall’s 51-yard touchdown pass to give TCU a 28-24 lead late in the third quarter.
Cantele added a field goal to pull within a point, and then Kansas State took advantage of a bizarre penalty to take the lead in the fourth quarter. The Horned Frogs were whistled for having two players wearing No. 2 on the field during a punt, giving Kansas State enough penalty yards for a first down. The drive ended with Cantele kicking a 23-yard field goal for a 30-28 lead.
The Horned Frogs marched to the Kansas State 39 on their ensuing possession, but defensive end Alauna Finau got his hand on Pachall’s pass on third-and-5. Patterson decided to send Oberkrom onto the field rather than punt, and his 56-yard field goal had a few yards to spare.
It turned out, though, that the Horned Frogs left too much time on the clock.