Gary Patterson is a great football coach, solid person and no sucker.
When TCU's all-time winningest coach announced that star junior quarterback Casey Pachall was entering rehab a few weeks ago and could come back next year, he was basically telling Frog followers that he was hedging his bets for the 2013 season.
Redshirt Freshman Trevone Boykin only had one day of practice at quarterback the previous week before the Iowa State game (he had been practicing at running back due to several injuries at the position before Pachall's DWI earlier that Thursday morning). Boykin's first collegiate start was decent—actually pretty good under the circumstances—but the Frogs lost to the Cyclones at newly renovated Amon G. Carter Stadium.
The renovation of TCU's quarterback situation started to unfold right after Patterson's announcement. Boykin was terrific in a blowout victory at Baylor, though the Bears defense is horrific.
The next week, Boykin really put his stamp on the starter's job back at home against Texas Tech, engineering a 10-point comeback in the final four minutes of regulation before TCU lost in triple overtime 56-53.
The Frogs and Boykin were banged up at Oklahoma State last week for a second straight loss, so perhaps the quarterback jury (Patterson) was still deliberating before today.
Now there is no doubt. Boykin delivered another fabulous last-minute comeback today at West Virginia, in a dramatic 39-38 double-overtime victory. Casey Pachall's fate has been signed, sealed and delivered. Barring injury, Trevone Boykin will be TCU's starting quarterback in 2013 and beyond.
Before the Mountaineers game, Patterson said Boykin will be a great college quarterback when he stops trying to play like Joe Namath (in other words, like the dropback gunner Pachall). Those words were prophetic because Boykin was subpar against a porous West Virginia defense until he started using his legs in the fourth quarter.
TCU trailed 24-21 after Boykin forced a third-quarter pass from the pocket that was intercepted inside the West Virginia 10-yard line.
The rest of the game, however, belonged to the athletic Boykin and junior wideout Josh Boyce. Boykin got things rolling on the last play of the third quarter. On a 4th-and-5 play at the West Virginia 35, Boykin took off running for the first down, punctuating the 11-yard run by punishing defenders.
On the very next play, as the fourth quarter started, Boykin scrambled for eight more yards. This set up a short field goal for freshman Jaden Oberkrom, which tied the game, 24-24.
Boykin used his legs again on the next drive on a 15-yard run. But the Frogs offense then stalled, and the momentum of the game once again shifted. West Virginia recaptured the lead 31-24 when Tavon Austin scored on a punt return with under four minutes to play.
But with less than two minutes remaining, Boykin came through again on a play that few quarterbacks can make. Trevone pulled a Houdini act near his own goal line, escaping pressure and throwing off-balance downfield to Captain Josh. It was Green Grass and High Tides forever for Boyce, who turned on the afterburners for a 94-yard touchdown reception, tying the game at 31. It was Boyce's school record 22nd touchdown catch.
The first overtime remained tied after a pair of missed field goals. However, West Virginia seized the lead on the first play of the second overtime when Geno Smith hit Stedman Bailey for a 25-yard touchdown.
The Frogs retaliated immediately. Having succumbed to a trick play in overtime two weeks ago, TCU was ready to turn the tables. On a Frogs fleaflicker, receiver Brandon Carter threw to a wide open Corey Fuller and cut West Virginia's lead to one point.
Patterson trusted his new quarterback and gambled on a two-point conversion attempt to avoid the first three-game losing streak of his coaching career. Boyce was covered tightly and Boykin had to throw the ball low but Boyce cradled the ball an inch above the ground for the winning deuce. After a long review upheld the score, TCU left West Virginia with a heart-pounding 39-38 victory.
There was a school of thought among some Frog boosters that Patterson might as well throw Pachall to the wolves in the 2013 opener against LSU and make his final quarterback decision after that. But Jerry World in Arlington will see a quarterback who may not have NFL potential, but does possess the heart and the head to win.
The Trevone Boykin era has begun at TCU and should not be interrupted.