FORT WORTH, Texas (KSNT) – With a week off to prepare, K-State football traveled to No. 8 TCU for a battle of the unbeatens in the Big 12.

Despite jumping to a 28-10 lead, the Wildcats couldn’t overcome multiple injuries and fall to TCU, 38-28. The loss is the first in conference play for K-State this season.

Times looked grim for the Wildcats to start the game. After a 19-yard run for a first down on the first play from quarterback Adrian Martinez, the offense stalled and punted. To make matters worse, Martinez got banged up on the possession and headed to the locker room.

Three minutes later, TCU wide receiver Derius Davis broke free for a 65-yard touchdown, giving the Horned Frogs a 7-0 lead.

With Martinez out, backup quarterback Will Howard stepped in to lead the offense. Howard spent the last two years on-and-off the field in replacement of quarterback Skylar Thompson, but has been staying on the sideline this season to preserve his redshirt.

Howard lit a fire in the offense. In just four plays, the Wildcats went 74 yards for a touchdown. Howard ran for a 14-yard first down, hit wide receiver Phillip Brooks for a 28-yard gain and finished the drive with a 28-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Kade Warner.

With the score tied at 7-7, the Horned Frogs got into Wildcat territory and kicked a 43-yard field goal to take a 10-7 lead.

Howard didn’t miss a beat. The backup quarterback completed passes for 12 yards, 25 yards and 37 yards to set up first-and-goal at the one. Howard then punched in a quarterback sneak to give K-State its first lead of the game, 14-10.

The Wildcat defense forced a punt, and Howard continued to impress. Pass completions of 26 and 20 yards set up first-and-goal for the offense. Howard found wide receiver Sammy Wheeler in the back of the endzone for a touchdown, putting the Wildcats up 21-10.

Next, Deuce Vaughn broke free for a 47-yard touchdown, giving the Wildcats a 28-10 lead.

With seconds to go in the half, the Horned Frogs got back in the Wildcat end zone to shorten K-State’s lead to 28-17 heading into the locker room.

Out of halftime, TCU carried momentum down the field and scored on a 13-play drive. On fourth-and-one from the two-yard-line, the Horned Frogs scored to shrink K-State’s lead to 28-24.

Howard returned at quarterback for the ‘Cats and got the team into field goal range. Kicker Chris Tennant missed wide-right from 44 yards out. TCU responded with a 54-yard touchdown pass to take its first lead since early in the first quarter, going up 31-28.

After Will Howard got banged up in the last possession, Rubley came in to take over the offense. In his first throw of the game, Rubley threw an interception, letting the Horned Frogs start their possession at the K-State 30-yard-line.

The ‘Cats caught a break, as the Wildcat defense stood strong on fourth-and-one to get the ball back.

The Horned Frogs returned the favor, stopping K-State on fourth down in Wildcat territory. That resulted in another touchdown for TCU, putting the Horned Frogs up 38-28.

K-State got it back and drove deep into Horned Frog territory, but they couldn’t capitalize as Tennant missed his second field goal of the game.

K-State got the ball back once more, but Howard threw an interception right away.

An injury riddled K-State team just couldn’t pull off the win in Fort Worth.

Howard finished with 225 yards, two passing touchdowns, a rushing touchdown and an interception. Deuce Vaughn carried the ball 12 times for 83 yards and a score.

The Wildcats fall to 5-2. K-State plays No. 11 Oklahoma State at home next week.