By STEPHEN HAWKINS AP Sports Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — AJ Parker returned an interception 37 yards to give Kansas State another non-offensive touchdown, true freshman quarterback Will Howard ran for a score and the Wildcats improved to 3-0 in the Big 12 with a 21-14 win at TCU on Saturday.
The interception return by Parker in the third quarter that made it 21-7 was the 119th non-offensive TD since 1999 for Kansas State (3-1, 3-0 Big 12). That is the most by any FBS team in that stretch — going into Saturday, Alabama and Virginia Tech were tied for the second-most with 108.
TCU (1-2, 1-2) had one last chance, an untimed play when the Wildcats were penalized for roughing the passer after a desperation pass by Max Duggan came up well short as time expired. The penalty put the ball at the K-State 39, and Duggan’s heave into a crowd in the end zone was knocked to the ground.
K-State had only 289 total yards, with Howard 8-of-19 passing for 117 yards with an interception and 86 yards rushing, though 80 came on one carry. With a chance to seal the game on a third-and-1 with just over a minute left, Howard tripped while by himself for no gain near midfield, leading to a punt that set up TCU’s final drive.
Howard started in place of senior Skylar Thompson, who didn’t even make the trip to Fort Worth a week after getting injured in the first half against Texas Tech. Howard played the second half of that game while Thompson was on the sideline out of uniform and with his arm in a sling.
Duggan was 19-of-31 passing for 154 yards, and also had a 3-yard TD run on fourth-and-goal with 3:39 left. Darwin Barlow, one of TCU’s freshmen running backs, had a 7-yard TD.
Blake Lynch kicked field goals of 25 and 53 yards, the shorter kick coming after the 80-yard run on the opening drive by Howard, whose 4-yard TD run gave the Wildcats a 14-7 halftime lead after the 2-point conversion.
The Wildcats could easily get into the Top 25 on Sunday for the first time this season. They were the first team out of this week’s poll.
Kansas State: The Wildcats have rebounded from that season-opening home loss against Arkansas State to start 3-0 in the Big 12 for the first time since 2014.
TCU: The Horned Frogs have lost four home games in a row. They were coming off their seventh win in nine years against Texas, but have lost both home games after having their only nonconference game called off because of a COVID-19 outbreak among a cluster of players and staff.
Kansas St.: At home for the Sunflower State showdown against Kansas on Oct. 24.
TCU: At home to play Oklahoma on Oct. 24.
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