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November 5, 2012

10 Things to Think About Moving Forward

Coming off an upset at West Virginia, TCU hosts Saturday No. 2 Kansas State at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

But first, let's take a look back at a few more details from TCU's big win in Morgantown as the Frogs enter a week of prep for the Wildcats.

1. Well, Gary Patterson did it again.

That was my initial reaction to Josh Boyce's two-point conversion catch, which was so similar to his grab against Boise State last year in that the game came down to that one play but so much sweeter, for TCU fans, in that it ended the game in walk-off fashion.


It truly was an all or nothing gamble by Patterson, who, for as defensively-minded as he is, rested the game in the hands of his freshman quarterback-led offense.

And, like last year at Boise, it paid off in the most perfect of ways for TCU.

2. Speaking of Boyce, he has been the steady hand on an offense filled with inexperience, providing consistent production and leadership from a limited position like receiver. But we haven't seen him take over a game this year. He did that Saturday. It started in the first half with his 31-yard touchdown catch. Then, with less than two minutes left and TCU backed up nearly as far as it could have been, especially being down 31-24, Boyce found a way to get open and take off straight for the endzone, turning on an entirely different level of speed. And, of course, his two-point conversion catch was reminiscent of the one he came down with last year against Boise State. On that play, Casey Pachall's pass was high, while Saturday Trevone Boykin's pass was low. But in both scenarios, Boyce was able to body up the defender and create just enough separation to go make the catch. Sometimes you forget how strong Boyce actually is.

3. I wrote about this Friday, but I'll say it again: The Frogs needed that win. Bad. With Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma left on the schedule, it was a realistic possibility TCU could have been left out of a bowl for the first time since 2004. Instead, the Frogs have some unexpected momentum and, with a night game looming, an outside shot at knocking off the No. 2 team in the country Saturday, which will kick off at 6 p.m. on Fox Sports.

4. As of late Sunday night, no official word had been released on the status of Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein, who left late against Oklahoma State with an injury. However, Klein's mother told ESPN.com's Joe Schad that she expects her son to be "100 percent" for Saturday's game, according to the report. At this point, we really don't know, and we probably won't find out until later in the week, as Bill Snyder is notorious for keeping things like this under wraps.

5. File away the emergence of Derrick Kindred in the Unsurprisingly Surprising Freshman category. It's become commonplace, this year at least, for the Frogs' true freshmen to step up in a big way -- from B.J. Catalon on offense to Devonte Fields on defense to Deante' Gray on special teams. Kindred, in his first career start Saturday, collected 10 tackles and two pass breakups.

6. As expected, sophomore linebacker Marcus Mallett saw more playing time Saturday. And he made a difference, too, with seven tackles, two for loss, and a pass breakup. A bit more big-bodied than Kenny Cain and Joel Hasley, Mallett was able to break through the line of scrimmage a few times, giving the Frogs more of a rush presence at the linebacker position.

7. Stansly Maponga likely wasn't 100 percent Saturday, but there were times where he sure didn't seem like someone nursing a sore foot. He only finished with three tackles, but he was explosive, disrupting the pocket and forcing a fumble in addition to a making a tackle for a nine-yard loss. Patterson told us last week that Maponga would play, but that his impact might be limited. In some sense, it was, but it surely wasn't absent.

8. The Star-Telegram's Gil LeBreton touched on this briefly in his Sunday column, but Jason Verrett played like the best player on the field Saturday. Not only did he come up with a potential game-saving blocked field goal, he also largely shut down one of the most productive wide receivers in the country in Stedman Bailey, who before his 25-yard touchdown catch in overtime had been held to just five yards on one catch. Verrett is sort of like Elisha Olabode, in that his progression since last year's season opener at Baylor has been incredible.


Is Verrett one of the best cornerbacks in the Big 12? When he's got his legs under him (which has been an issue, at times, considering the Frogs' lack of depth on defense), you'd have to throw him in the discussion.

9. Boykin was largely inconsistent most of Saturday's game, finishing 12-for-29 passing, but he was incredibly poised late in the game.

As great of a play as it was on Boyce's part to out-run West Virginia defenders on his 94-yard score, it was probably even more impressive that Boykin was able to escape pressure, get closer to the line of scrimmage and throw the ball downfield.

10. Saturday night is already being built up as one of the biggest games at Amon G. Carter Stadium in a long time. That's because it is. The second-ranked Wildcats will be the highest-ranked team to come to AGCS since No. 2 Texas played TCU in November of 1970. Forty-two years. To add to the hype, the Wildcats have the Heisman frontrunner at quarterback.


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