<
>

TCU ready for roller-coaster ride after rout

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Trevone Boykin says he shut his phone off. He says he had no clue. Somehow, he missed the memo.

So the unexpected reward arrived once he hit TCU’s locker room on Saturday night, after a 42-9 beatdown of No. 15 Oklahoma State. That’s when he pulled his phone out and got the pleasant surprise:

West Virginia 41, No. 4 Baylor 27

No. 14 Kansas State 31, No. 11 Oklahoma 30

Coach Gary Patterson knew before his team kicked off. Receiver Josh Doctson overheard the scores during the fourth quarter. Guess they forgot to tell their quarterback.

He was surprised, sure, but couldn’t hide his initial reaction: “I’m pretty excited.”

The chaos that’s overtaken this Big 12 race is just fine by the No. 12-ranked Frogs. They just played No. 4 Oklahoma, No. 5 Baylor and No. 15 Oklahoma State in consecutive weeks, and they’re still standing.

Now that the perceived favorites were one loss poorer after a wild Saturday afternoon, it’s only reasonable to ask: Does TCU have the best team in the Big 12 right now?

“Oh, I don’t know,” Patterson said. “Right now, all I know is we beat Oklahoma State.”

We do know the Frogs made it look easy. Three plays after B.J. Catalon danced in for a 34-yard score, Doctson ran a slant and just kept running, scoring from 77 yards out to go up 14-0. Doctson’s 84-yard score on his next catch made it 21-3.

TCU, up 28-9 at the half, certainly could’ve coasted from there. Daxx Garman missed on all six of his second-half passes (TCU’s Derrick Kindred did pick one off), and OSU picked up two first downs and 51 yards. No threat there. But TCU kept punching, with Boykin leading 14- and 12-play touchdown drives in the third quarter. After the fourth quarter against Baylor, TCU won’t be taking anything for granted.

The highest high of that home upset of the Sooners, then the lowest low of Baylor’s 24-point rally, now the biggest blowout of a Big 12 team since TCU joined the conference. These guys have been through some stuff, and October isn't over.

“You can either look around and blame people or we can just roll up the sleeves and do it,” Patterson said. “That’s what we’ve done. That’s what we’ve always done here at TCU. You can’t last 17 years -- 14 as a head coach -- and not outlast some hard times, some close games, some heartbreaks.”

Going 4-8 last year only makes days like these sweeter for the Frogs. They’d never scored more points against OU, Baylor and OSU than they did this year. Boykin, whose career-best 410 passing yards came in three quarters of play, continues to impress.

And the road ahead isn’t so scary now. TCU goes to West Virginia on Nov. 1. It hosts K-State the following week. Those are the biggest roadblocks left -- not that Patterson will say so.

“If you’re not watching the scores, as close as every team is, my advice to anybody would be: Just try to win the game you’re playing and don’t worry about anything else,” Patterson said.

Doctson, whose 225 receiving yards against OSU came one short of TCU’s single-game record, proudly says this team is playing “as good as we look on TV.” But the news of Baylor and OU losing didn’t sway him much.

“This conference is tough, man,” he said. “We control what we can control. Do what we do.”

What the Horned Frogs are about to do is climb back into the top 10 and the College Football Playoff discussion. Six games into their roller-coaster season, there might not be a team better equipped to survive the madness.

Boykin, still coming to terms with the Big 12 shakeup he'd completely ignored, isn't ready to call his Frogs the new favorite. Not yet. But the tumultuous race ahead isn't lost on his running back.

“Well," Catalon said with a sigh and a smile, "I know it’s just starting."