No. 15 TCU making future gains despite Big 12 elimination
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) No. 15 TCU won't repeat as Big 12 champion. Its dual-threat quarterback is still hopping around on a sore ankle and the starting senior center and star receiver are out.
Still, all is not lost for the Horned Frogs heading into their regular-season finale Friday night at home against No. 7 Baylor.
TCU (9-2, 6-2 Big 12) almost pulled off a comeback at No. 5 Oklahoma without Trevone Boykin, Joey Hunt and Josh Doctson last weekend. All are seniors the Frogs are going to be without after this season.
''I think our kids found out that ... when we're done and Trevone graduates, we were able to move the football against a really good football team,'' coach Gary Patterson said. ''Some of the guys we expect to be our future guys that make plays, stepped up.''
Boykin is still questionable for the game against Baylor (9-1, 6-1) after returning to practice this week. Once considered by some as the Heisman Trophy front-runner, and still the national leader with 402 total yards per game, Boykin hasn't played since turning his right ankle awkwardly in the first half Nov. 14 against Kansas.
''He's a special cat. He'll be the guy who makes that call,'' Patterson said.
Boykin was named Tuesday as one of the three finalists for the Davey O'Brien Award that goes to the nation's top quarterback. Doctson is one of three finalists for the Biletnikoff Award that goes to the top receiver.
Sophomore center Austin Schlottman made his first career start in Saturday's 30-29 loss at Oklahoma in place of injured four-year starter Hunt, and sophomore tackle Matt Pryor has started the last three games because of injuries.
Emanuel Porter, a 6-foot-4 sophomore receiver who missed five games, had a 14-yard TD catch in the final minute before TCU missed a 2-point conversion attempt. Freshman returner Kavonte Turpin had an 86-yard scoring catch earlier in the fourth quarter.
''It just gives you hope that next year, they know what this feels like,'' said junior defensive end Josh Carraway, who has a team-high seven sacks. said. ''They know what it feels like to play in a big game.''
The Horned Frogs had to overcome a series of injuries on defense early this season. Safety Derrick Kindred is playing hurt now, but he is the only returning starter from last season who didn't graduate, leave for the NFL or get sidelined by injury.
There are at least three senior starters out for the season who could possibly return next year, plus sophomore linebacker Sammy Douglas, who got hurt in the opener. There have been 16 players who have made their first career starts for the TCU defense.
Lately, the injuries have started to pile up on the offense, including star skill players Boykin and Doctson, along with Hunt and senior left guard Jamelle Naff.
Doctson set TCU's single-season records this year with 79 catches, and led the nation with 1,337 yards and 14 touchdowns before being ruled out of the last two regular season games. He injured his left wrist Nov. 7, tried to play briefly in the Kansas game and then was ruled out for the rest of the regular season.
''A lot of our stuff happened on defense. It happened early, so we've grown up and we've gotten better playing together, but they handled it so well,'' Patterson said. ''Defensively we've been able to do it without a bunch of people. Offensively, they went into a little shock at the Kansas game.''
AP college football site: http://collegefootball.ap.org