Cantele sends Kansas State to 33-31 win over TCU

Kansas State’s Jack Cantele had never tried a game-winning field

goal, not as a kid growing up in Wichita or as the star kicker at

Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School.

In his words, he’d been waiting his whole life for the

opportunity.

So when the sophomore drilled a 41-yarder with 3 seconds

remaining Saturday, his fourth field goal of the game, he leaped

into the air in a wild celebration. The kick gave the Wildcats a

33-31 victory over TCU and made them bowl eligible for the fourth

straight season.

”There was no doubt it was going in. It was one of the best

kicks I’ve ever kicked,” said Cantele, whose older brother Anthony

also kicked for Kansas State.

”I didn’t know how to react,” Cantele said. ”Someone hit me

from behind and I fell to the ground, and I just started beating

the crap out of the ground. I didn’t know what else to do.”

Kansas State (6-4, 4-3 Big 12) was flagged for excessive

celebration when several players ran off the bench. But the 15-yard

penalty didn’t matter. TCU (4-7, 2-6) couldn’t do anything with the

ensuing kickoff as Kansas State wrapped up its fourth straight

win.

”The bottom line is we didn’t play nearly as well as I’d like

us to play,” Kansas State coach Bill Snyder said, ”but we played

well enough to win.”

Just barely, though. The Wildcats squandered a 17-7 halftime

lead, and then watched as the Horned Frogs’ Jaden Oberkrom hit a

56-yard field goal to give TCU a 31-30 lead with 2:13 left.

Kansas State took over and Jake Waters deftly marched his team

down field, hitting Tyler Lockett for 12 yards to convert a third

down, and then hitting him again for 8 more yards. That was enough

to get Cantele within range of the go-ahead field goal.

”It was just a great ballgame,” TCU coach Gary Patterson

said.

Not such a great return to his alma mater. Patterson grew up in

tiny Rozel, Kan., and played for the Wildcats from 1980-81. He said

he hadn’t been back in years.

The stinging defeat left his team ineligible for a bowl game for

the first time since 2004.

”This is only the second time in 16 years that we haven’t been

to a bowl game,” Patterson said. ”We’ve got two weeks and we’ve

got an opportunity to play a Baylor team at home. It won’t be a

bowl game, so the Baylor game will have to be our bowl game.”

The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead when Daniel Sams,

alternating with Waters at quarterback, scooted 11 yards for a

touchdown. A few minutes later, Waters hit Lockett – who had beaten

All-American cornerback Jason Verrett – with a 74-yard touchdown

pass.

TCU finally got going when B.J. Catalon left Kansas State safety

Dante Barnett grasping for air on a 15-yard TD run. But the

Wildcats answered Cantele’s field-goal for a 17-7 halftime

lead.

The Horned Frogs pulled ahead in the second half when Trevone

Boykin hit Josh Dotson in the back of the end zone from a yard out.

After a fumble by Sams, Boykin carried around the left side on

fourth-and-1 from the Kansas State 7 for a touchdown and a 21-17

lead.

In a game of wild momentum swings, Kansas State quickly took it

back.

On third-and-14 from the Wildcats’ 21-yard line, Waters took

advantage of time in the pocket to hit Tramaine Thompson in broken

coverage. He out-ran safety Elisha Olabode to the end zone for a

24-21 lead – the 79-yard scoring strike the longest for Kansas

State since 2005.

Back came the Horned Frogs, who went after backup safety Dylan

Schellenberg, pressed into duty after an injury to Ty Zimmerman.

David Porter ran past Schellenberg and caught Pachall’s 51-yard

touchdown pass to give TCU a 28-24 lead late in the third

quarter.

Cantele added a field goal to pull within a point, and then

Kansas State took advantage of a bizarre penalty to take the lead

in the fourth quarter. The Horned Frogs were whistled for having

two players wearing No. 2 on the field during a punt, giving Kansas

State a fourth-and-1, which they converted for a first down. The

drive ended with Cantele kicking a 23-yard field goal for a 30-28

lead.

”It’s the first time where that’s ever happened,” Patterson

said of the penalty.

The Horned Frogs marched to the Kansas State 39 on their ensuing

possession, but defensive end Alauna Finau got his hand on

Pachall’s pass on third-and-5. Patterson decided to send Oberkrom

onto the field rather than punt, and his 56-yard field goal had a

few yards to spare.

It turned out, though, that the Horned Frogs left too much time

on the clock.

”After the field goal, I had a lot of faith in our defense,”

Pachall said. ”But we really shouldn’t have put them in that

situation and put all of the pressure on them.”