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The inside story of TCU's miraculous, game-winning touchdown pass

LUBBOCK, Texas -- With TCU's title hopes on the line, an uncovered Aaron Green burst into the open, waving his arm at Trevone Boykin. TCU’s star quarterback didn't see him.

Instead Boykin fired the ball in the direction of Josh Doctson, who leaped into the air, only to watch helplessly as the pigskin floated toward the ground after bouncing off his left hand.

Out of nowhere, here came Green, who had continued running toward the back of Texas Tech’s end zone.

“He catches it and I’m like, ‘Am I dreaming?’” Doctson recalled.

You weren’t the only one, Josh.

The unbelievable fourth-down touchdown secured the winning points with 23 seconds remaining in TCU’s 55-52 win over Texas Tech at Jones AT&T Stadium on Saturday. The Horned Frogs improved to 4-0 and 1-0 in Big 12 play in surviving Texas Tech (3-1, 0-1), which looked much different from the team that finished 4-8 a year ago.

The Horned Frogs’ College Football Playoff dreams remained intact, thanks to an implausible touchdown on their final offensive snap of the game. Boykin didn’t see Green in part because of his unwavering confidence in Doctson, who finished with 18 receptions for 267 yards and three touchdowns.

“I put the ball in the air because I knew he could outjump everybody,” Boykin said. “Once the ball got tipped, I’m like, man, I thought it was over.”

It wasn’t.

“[TCU co-offensive coordinators] Coach [Sonny] Cumbie and Coach [Doug] Meacham always preach, 'follow the ball' because you never know when the ball could be fumbled or something like that,” Green said. “There was a chance he might not catch it because the ball was behind him and a little high.”

Doctson, like Boykin, had given up all hope once the ball skipped off his fingers.

“It went off my hands and my heart sunk,” Doctson said. “I know the concept of that play. And I’m the only one over there. I turn around and here comes Aaron Green -- he’s not supposed to be over there, he makes the play.”

The play, which Boykin joked is called “Pray," is a play that will be long remembered, particularly if the Horned Frogs make a lengthy run at a second straight Big 12 title.

“I didn’t even know what happened,” TCU safety Derrick Kindred said with a huge grin. “I closed my eyes, then heard everybody cheering.”

It was one play, but in a matter of seconds we got a glimpse of the never-quit mentality that has helped TCU overcome a rash of injuries to keep on putting check marks in the win column early this season.

“It’s just playing with maximum effort,” Doctson said. “That’s what TCU is all about.”