FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — TCU quarterback Mike Collins knew he had a good play even after the dropped the snap.
The sophomore transfer from Penn threw a 67-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Reagor in the third quarter and the Horned Frogs held on for a 14-13 win over Kansas State on Saturday after the Wildcats missed a potential game-tying extra point in the fourth.
“I knew it was going to be a good play pre-snap,” Collins said after his second start. “Then fumbled the snap and picked it up, and knew he was going to be open. So give him a chance, and he made a great play.”
The Horned Frogs (4-5, 2-4 Big 12) avoided the first four-game losing streak in 18 seasons under coach Gary Patterson, and improved their chances of becoming bowl eligible for the 16th time in that stretch.
The missed PAT, a muffed punt and a botched field goal attempt put Kansas State (3-6, 1-5) in the position of having to win its three remaining games to qualify for a bowl.
“A loss is a loss,” coach Bill Snyder said. “A close ballgame like that may hurt a bit more.”
The Wildcats lost quarterback Skylar Thompson to an injury in the first quarter, but backup Alex Delton answered each TCU touchdown.
Reagor fought off cornerback AJ Parker on the deep throw from Collins, turned and ran into the end zone to break a 7-7 tie midway through the third quarter. Jonathan Song kicked what turned out to be an important extra point.
On the touchdown pass, Collins threw into a 23-mph wind.
“There were some gusts, but nothing I could control, except get the ball downfield and giving our guys a chance,” said Collins, who was 17 of 33 for 218 yards with the decisive score.
Reagor has a four-game touchdown streak. In tight coverage against Kansas State, he caught only three of 11 passes thrown his way, but for a game-high 92 yards.
“I expect double coverage,” Reagor said. “When I get a chance, I have to make a play.”
Delton found Malik Knowles for a 27-yard touchdown on his first series late in the first quarter, and scored on a 1-yard plunge early in the fourth before sophomore Blake Lynch hooked the PAT attempt to the left with 9:16 remaining.
“Of course I feel horrible for him,” Snyder said. “He’s one of the young guys. He didn’t lose the ballgame for us. There were a bunch of us that made mistakes that contributed.”
Jarrison Stewart’s 31-yard catch set up a 4-yard run by Darius Anderson for a 7-0 TCU lead after Isaiah Zuber muffed a punt and Jawuan Johnson recovered at the Kansas State 43-yard line.
Patterson said the south wind caused Zuber to have to run toward punter David Andrew.
“The wind was bad today,” Patterson said. “When we punted against the wind, we kept our defense in because we didn’t want anybody to run it back.”
Delton, who hadn’t played in four games, kept Kansas State’s first scoring drive alive by drawing the Frogs offsides on fourth-and-1 on his first snap. Seven plays later, Delton threw to an outstretched Knowles in the back of the end zone.
Alex Barnes, the Big 12’s second-leading rusher, gained 76 of his 102 yards in the second half for the Wildcats. Delton was 15 of 25 for 155 yards, and had 36 rushing yards in 23 attempts.
Kansas State: The Wildcats dominated the second quarter, but missed a chance for a 26-yard field goal when holder Colby Moore couldn’t handle the snap and threw a pass into the end zone that TCU’s Markell Simmons intercepted.
TCU: The road to Patterson’s 16th bowl bid could come down to the final two weeks, if the Horned Frogs don’t win at West Virginia. The Horned Frogs get Baylor at home before going to Oklahoma State.
ANOTHER YEAR WITHOUT?
Bowl misses have been rare for Snyder and Patterson. Snyder’s teams have been to 19 bowls in his first 26 seasons, missing only in his first four years (1989-1992), in 2004-05 and in 2009 after a three-year coaching hiatus. TCU’s last season without a bowl was 2013, and Patterson’s only other miss with the Frogs was in 2004.
Kansas State: Rival Kansas at home next Saturday.
TCU: At No. 12 West Virginia next Saturday.
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