January 31, 2023

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Know Your Opponent: A battle with the unbeaten for the Huge 12 title

Okay-State Wildcat’s then-sophomore operating again, Duece Vaughn, makes his method down the sphere to attain a landing. KSU defeated TCU on October 30, 2021 at Invoice Snyder Stadium. (Archive picture by Madison Riebel | Collegian Media Group)

No. 10 Okay-State (9-3) (7-2)

Kansas State will enter their first Huge 12 Championship Sport since 2003. The Wildcats secured the journey with a 47-27 victory over the Jayhawks within the Sunflower Showdown. This recreation marked the third time quarterback Will Howard began a recreation this yr and led the staff to no less than 47 factors in as many video games. Current play means that the offense could have no points in opposition to TCU, however the protection could battle. For the reason that lack of security Kobe Savage due to a season-ending damage in opposition to Baylor, each West Virginia and Kansas have been capable of rating a mixed 58 factors of their video games in opposition to Okay-State. The lack of Savage will likely be even more durable to handle whereas going through a juggernaut offense in TCU.

No. 3 TCU (12-0) (9-0)

In contrast to the Wildcats, TCU has by no means performed in a Huge 12 Championship Sport. This yr the Horned Frogs haven’t solely reached the Huge 12 title recreation however have conquered the convention utterly. All through their undefeated season, TCU has proven their skill to win by taking up video games or by means of shut last-second performs. Quarterback Max Duggan has continued his historic season with the assistance of operating again Kendre Miller and his multifaceted extensive receiver core, led by Quentin Johnston. Whereas the offense has starred persistently, the protection proved themselves of their common season finale in opposition to Iowa State, holding the Cyclones to solely 14 factors. 

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Matchup to Watch: Will Howard vs. TCU Secondary

The start of Howard’s breakout yr began in his first recreation of the season in opposition to TCU. As he got here in to switch injured quarterback Adrian Martinez, he immediately sparked the offense. The 28-point first half had the Wildcats within the lead by 18 factors. They finally misplaced 38-28, however the Horned Frogs would by no means be examined by anybody fairly like Howard did. Now, with basically 5 video games below his belt, Howard has the total playbook aligned for his talent set and 0 rust to knock off. All three beginning receivers in Malik Knowles, Phillip Brooks and Kade Warner have flashed with Howard, in addition to tight finish Ben Sinnott. The TCU secondary can’t permit Howard to slice by means of them at will in the event that they need to keep undefeated.

Whereas TCU’s weak spot has been the protection, their secondary has quietly proven some consistency. The protection has collected an interception in every of the final eight video games this yr, together with one off of Howard. Security Bud Clark leads the Horned Frogs with 4 interceptions and is adopted by cornerbacks Josh Newton and Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, every with three on the season. An interception might be key whereas attempting to maintain the red-hot Wildcat offense to a cool. A single mistake might push the Horned Frogs to flipping momentum like they did within the earlier matchup. The battle between Howard and the TCU secondary will decide the circulate of the sport.

 

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Key Gamers

Okay-State

Defensive Finish Felix Anudike-Uzomah

Tight Finish Ben Sinnott

TCU

Quarterback Max Duggan

Linebacker Dee Winters

 

Prediction: Okay-State 41-38