No. 15 TCU got all it could handle from Kansas
No. 15 TCU suffered another big injury Saturday, but it was able to avoid another big loss.
The Frogs lost starting quarterback Trevone Boykin to a high ankle sprain in the first quarter and the offense sputtered much of the remainder of the game. TCU still did enough to get 23-17 victory against winless Kansas.
"You have certain plays so you have to change your whole game plan when (Boykin) isn't in the game," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "You go from a Heisman contender to two guys that haven't played a whole lot."
Boykin left after completing five of eight passes for 54 yards. He appeared to suffer the injury on the game's first drive, but gutted it out for a second drive. Fellow senior quarterback Bram Kohlhausen entered the game as his replacement and threw for 112 yards on 13 completions. An interception in the red zone led to Patterson making another change, this time to Fort Worth native Foster Sawyer.
"I just wanted someone taller," Patterson said. "He made a couple freshmen mistakes, but he ran the ball well and made a couple plays."
While the local product threw five straight incompletions to start his day, he connected with Shaun Nixon for a 42-yard touchdown with less than 10 minutes left in the game for TCU's lone offensive touchdown.
Sawyer finished with just the one touchdown completion, but used his legs to gain 34 yards on eight carries, including converting a few key third downs. He showed flashes of Boykin in his game thanks in part to the senior being on the field with him the rest of the game.
"For me, it would have been better for Trevone to be in the training room, but he wanted to be on the field for Foster," Patterson said. "But they talk all the time and with Cumbie in the box it's easier to have Boykin talk to him."
TCU jumped out to a 7-0 lead early in the game when KaVontae Turpin returned a punt 49 yards for his first career touchdown return.
"I haven't been there when he wakes up, but he has to wake up with a smile," Patterson said of Turpin. "He made that return a lot more difficult. If he stayed on the one side he would have had a touchdown, but he went to the other side and had to make five other guys miss."
This was the first game the Frogs hadn't scored an offensive touchdown in the first half since the first game of this new offense.
The Frogs still gained 487 yards of total offense, but converted just one of five chances in the red zone. Twice, the team went for it on fourth and short inside the Kanas 10 and couldn't convert. One red zone attempt ended when Kohlhausen threw an interception and the other was the kneel at the end of the game.
The defense stepped up at the end of the game when Ty Summers got an interception with less than three minutes left near midfield and Terrell Lathan got a sack on Kansas' final offensive play of the game.
"It was good for the defense to finally make some plays," Lathan said. "We're tired of hearing everybody kind of look over us because it's been about the defense for so long here."
Patterson said Summers may have played his way into a starting role going forward.
"The interception was big because his man beat him," Patterson said. "But Montrel Wilson has hit a bit of a wall and it's hard to play linebacker when you're 210 pounds, but Ty may be starting going forward."
Summers and Derrick Kindred led the team with eight tackles each. Aaron Curry had two sacks and three tackles for loss.
With the loss of Boykin for the game, TCU relied heavily on senior running back Aaron Green, who had a career-high 30 carries and 177 yards. That was the most yards for a TCU running back since Waymon James in 2011 and carries since Joseph Turner in 2007.
No. 15 TCU (9-1, 6-1 in Big 12) will visit No. 12 Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1 in Big 12) Saturday with that game time still to be determined. With all the injuries, Patterson isn't sure how his team will look for the Oklahoma and Baylor games, but he's confident the team will be in good shape for its at least one postseason game.