No. 3 TCU (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) may not have looked pretty in the first half of a regular-season finale victory against Iowa State (2-10, 0-9 Big 12), but the Horned Frogs put together a strong closing argument that may be too much for any other playoff contender on the outside looking in may be able to overcome. TCU should not be rewarded for beating Iowa State, but a 55-3 victory over the Cyclones to wrap up at least a share of the Big 12 championship may be just what the doctor ordered to stay in a favorable spot in the playoff chase.
TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin passed for 460 yards and four touchdowns. If that was not good enough, Boykin added a 55-yard touchdown catch to open the game’s scoring and rushed for 44 yards to lead the offensive attack before being given a rest in the fourth quarter. Josh Doctson was the leading receiver with 151 yards and a touchdown, and Aaron Glenn led things on the ground with 104 yards and a touchdown. On defense, Derrick Kindred had a pick-six and the Horned Frogs held Iowa State to fewer than 250 yards of offense while the offense put together over 700 yards of total offense. It was every bit the dominating performance TCU needed to continue to keep pace in the playoff race coming down the final stretch.
The challenge has been issued. First, Baylor must put away Kansas State at home in order to continue the TCU-Baylor debate. With a win against Kansas State, Baylor will split the big 12 championship with TCU. With a head-to-head victory, the Big 12 would recognize Baylor as its conference championship, but whether that matters to the committee or not is anyone’s guess. Baylor may need a convincing victory over Kansas State to sway enough votes their way when the playoff field is set by the committee Sunday.
Whatever the case may be, TCU has put together one of the best seasons in school history, and that is a tremendous credit to the job done by head coach Gary Patterson. In just its third year in the Big 12, TCU continued with its foundation of defense and adapted the offense to have an impact in the conference. It took some time for the recruiting and talent to catch up to build a true Big 12 contender, but Patterson made the changes he and his staff needed to be put in this position.
Patterson may also have won some karma points in the process. Up 55-3 in the fourth quarter and with a chance to add another touchdown, TCU took a knee inside the red zone on fourth down with just over four minutes to play. The case had been made for TCU, and Patterson did not want to run up the score for the sake of extra style points.