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No. 10 Kansas State held a 14-10 lead over No. 3 TCU at halftime in the Big 12 Championship Game on Saturday as the Horned Frogs made the short trip to Arlington, Texas, to face the Wildcats for a game with CFP implications. If TCU can rally and pull off a victory, it can clinch the program’s first trip to the College Football Playoff. TCU put together its most complete performance of the season last week with a dominant 62-14 victory over Iowa State, more than doubling the highest total ISU’s touted defense had allowed this season.
Kansas State has three losses, but the Wildcats have been rolling since they lost to TCU 38-28 in October. K-State crushed Big 12 preseason favorites Oklahoma State and Baylor by a combined 79-3, and it was a late Adrian Martinez fumble away from taking down Texas. In their season finale, the Wildcats went up 23-7 against Kansas and hung on for a 47-27 victory behind 229 all-purpose yards from running back Deuce Vaughn.
Neither TCU nor Kansas State have won an outright conference championship since the league moved to a round-robin schedule in 2012. The Wildcats split the 2012 crown with Oklahoma, while TCU shared the 2014 title with Baylor. This is Kansas State’s first trip to the Big 12 Championship Game since it returned in 2017, making it the sixth straight year a team has made its debut.
LIVE updates: Follow the action as TCU faces Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship Game
Date: Saturday, Dec. 3 | Time: Noon ET
Location: AT&T Stadium — Arlington, Texas
TV: ABC | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Playoff implications: Eight years ago, TCU ranked No. 3 in the penultimate College Football Playoff Rankings, but was ultimately left out after sharing a Big 12 championship with Baylor. This time around, the Frogs rank No. 3 and have a conference championship game to put an emphatic exclamation point on their playoff case. TCU is one of three undefeated programs remaining in America after playing in the nation’s deepest conference. However, with Ohio State within striking distance, the Horned Frogs need to win to guarantee a trip to the playoff.
Second take: The Frogs and Wildcats battled earlier this season in Fort Worth with TCU emerging a 38-28 victor. Kansas State took a 28-10 lead in the second quarter, but TCU running back Kendre Miller took over in the second half with a pair of rushing scores and the defense held K-State running back Deuce Vaughn to 83 yards on the ground. Miller and receiver Quentin Johnston have been banged up, but both are expected to play.
Quarterback battle: Kansas State started Adrian Martinez against TCU in October, but was forced to play second-string Will Howard and third-string Jake Rubley due to nagging quarterback issues. Howard helped lead a massive run against the Horned Frogs as TCU struggled to adjust from defending a running quarterback to a passing quarterback. Now, he will be the starting quarterback at AT&T Stadium. TCU has settled on Max Duggan, who has emerged as a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender. Duggan has 34 total touchdowns to only three interceptions and is completing a career-high 67% of his passes.
Kansas State outplayed TCU for most of its first matchup in Fort Worth before quarterback injuries, but the Frogs have improved mightily over the past month. TCU posted 62 points with ease despite missing key pieces against Iowa State, and it certainly has kept the earlier matchup against K-State at the front of its mind. In a rematch, take the better team to emerge on top — that’s TCU. Prediction: TCU -2.5
Which college football picks can you make with confidence during Championship Week, and which big favorites will get a scare? Visit SportsLine to see which teams will win and cover the spread — all from a proven computer model that has returned almost $2,500 in profit over the past six-plus seasons — and find out.
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