AMES, Iowa (AP) — TCU is no longer unbeaten.
The Horned Frogs have only themselves — and a resurgent Iowa State defense — to blame.
Kyle Kempt threw for 202 yards and two touchdowns and 25th-ranked Iowa State upset fourth-ranked TCU 14-7 on Saturday, leaving the Big 12 without an undefeated team heading into November.
Iowa State’s win might have seriously hampered the league’s ability to get a team into the playoff after missing out a year ago. But TCU coach Gary Patterson believes the Horned Frogs still control their own destiny.
TCU (7-1, 4-1 Big 12), Oklahoma State (7-1, 4-1) and Iowa State (6-2, 4-1) are tied atop the league — and the Cowboys play in Ames in two weeks.
Oklahoma (6-1, 3-1) played Texas Tech on Saturday night.
“We’ve still got a chance to play for a Big 12 title. Does it hurt our chances for the playoff? Probably. We still played good enough defense to win,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said.
Marcel Spears intercepted a Kenny Hill pass with 1:16 left to seal it for the Cyclones.
They forced a pair of turnovers in the red zone in the second half in winning their fourth straight game, two of them over teams ranked in the top five on game day.
“We go into games thinking we’re going to try to shut teams out,” Iowa State linebacker Joel Lanning said of a defense that held the Horned Frogs scoreless.
Kempt put Iowa State ahead 14-0 at the break with touchdown passes to Matt Eaton (17 yards) and Hakeem Butler (4 yards).
TCU answered to open the second half on a 94-yard kickoff return by KaVontae Turpin. But Brian Peavy intercepted Hill in the end zone in the third quarter and brought it back 70 yards, and Willie Harvey caused Hill to fumble a ball recovered by Iowa State at its own 15-yard line with 7:11 to go.
Hill had his worst game of the season, finishing 12 of 25 passing for 135 yards and those two very costly interceptions.
The Horned Frogs also committed 11 penalties for 104 yards.
“The reality of it is, it’s hard to stay the course. But these kids are doing that,” said Iowa State coach Matt Campbell.
TCU: The Horned Frogs can still make an argument for a playoff spot — if they win out. But that’ll be a tall order with a trip to Oklahoma on tap for Nov. 11 after next week’s home game against a dangerous Texas team. “Back to the drawing board,” TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney said.
Iowa State: It’s time to stop asking if the Cyclones are for real and start asking who can stop them in the Big 12. Iowa State’s defense is allowing less than 14 points a game in league games, and it bailed out an offense that couldn’t find its footing in the second half. “They really believe in each other,” Campbell said. “The first half, the offense at times picked the defense up, and in the second half the defense picked the offense up. Good teams do that.”
TCU might tumble out of the Top 10, and Iowa State will certainly jump up a few spots. But early losses at home to Iowa and Texas will keep the Cyclones from climbing too high in the rankings.
Iowa State won despite gaining just 255 yards and converting on 3 of 13 third downs. …Darius Anderson rushed for 95 yards on 12 carries, and Kyle Hicks had 80 yards on 12 attempts. …The Cyclones converted on two of its three trips to the red zone. …Iowa State is now bowl eligible for the first time in five years. But the goal of simply making it to a bowl game no longer matters for a team that’s on pace to be one of the best in school history.
HE SAID IT
“We had a formula: not turning the ball over and beat people at their own game. We did not do that,” Patterson said.
TCU hosts Texas on Nov. 4
Iowa State travels to face West Virginia next Saturday. The Mountaineers lost at home to Oklahoma State 50-39 on Saturday.