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3 TCU vs. 10 Kansas State: Big 12 Championship Prediction

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

What is At Stake?

The TCU Horned Frogs can clinch their first-ever college football berth with a victory over the Kansas State Wildcats. They are ranked at no.3 in the latest CFP rankings. If you recall, in 2014, the first year of the new college football playoff system, TCU was left out of the final four despite being ranked at no.3. They won a share of the Big 12 title. Still, they were dropped from being ranked no.3 to no.6. Eight years later, TCU will have another opportunity to show that they belong among college football’s elite. As for Kansas State, a win would qualify them for their first-ever New Year’s Six Bowl since 2013. TCU won the first matchup 38-28.

Kansas State Keys to Success

K-State must employ their vaunted running attack early and often if they want to avenge their October loss to TCU. Deuce Vaughn is at the forefront of what the Wildcats do best. He is ranked third in the conference with 1,295 rushing yards and seven touchdowns. They must attack TCU’s vulnerability when it comes to defending the run. The Horned Frogs defense has allowed five yards or more per carry four times this season. Forcing a turnover would also go a long way in a victory for the Wildcats. K-State’s defense is No. 1 in the conference in scoring defense and No. 2 in turnover margin.

The last time they faced TCU, the Wildcats built an 18-point lead into the second quarter. In the second half, TCU quickly erased the deficit and won 38-28. If Kansas State learned anything from the first meeting, they must minimize the opportunities TCU QB Max Duggan has on the field. Duggan torched the Wildcats for 280 yards, and three touchdown passes.

TCU Keys to Success

Here’s what TCU has shown us so far. They know how to win ugly, and they know how to win in shootouts. The Horned Frogs have played like this for most of the season. They will need to find one of those ways to win on Saturday against the Wildcats again. Quarterback Max Duggan will need another exceptional performance for TCU to keep their CFP hopes alive. He has delivered every time the Horned Frogs are in close games.

Depending on how he performs in the rematch against K-State, he may be one of the front runners to win the Heisman Trophy. He has thrown. While Kansas State’s defense may be one of the Big 12’s best in turnover margin, they can still be affected in multiple ways. In the first matchup against K-State, Duggan lit up their defense through the air, and running back Kendre Miller rushed for another 153 yards on the ground.

Final Outcome

I don’t expect this game to change drastically from what we saw in the first contest. It will come down to which team can impose their will on the other and not take their foot off the pedal. Currently, TCU is the better overall team and has multiple ways to get the job done. The Horned Frogs will win by two scores.

TCU 41, Kansas State 31

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