As recently as Nov. 2 last season, the newest star quarterback in the Big 12 was catching 11 passes in a game against West Virginia. A loss to West Virginia no less.
By Saturday, though, the question had to be asked of TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin:
How did this guy have to fight for the starting job in a competition that wasn't settled until days before the opener? And, more than that, how did Boykin have to fight simply to remain listed as a quarterback on the roster.
In a 37-33 upset of Oklahoma, Boykin established himself as a bona fide star quarterback in the Big 12. The Horned Frogs already matched last year’s win total and enter a game with Baylor next week as surprising Big 12 contenders.
None of this would be possible if TCU didn’t find a way to put Boykin front and center at quarterback.
Against Oklahoma, Boykin completed 20-of-38 passes for 318 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He also rushed for 77 yards giving him a career-high 395 yards of total offense in a breakout win for TCU.
Hard to believe this was the same quarterback who was all but written off when Matt Joeckel arrived as a transfer from Texas A&M.
Instead of a pair of new coordinators opting for Joeckel, Sonny Cumbie and Doug Meachem had what they needed in Boykin. Keep in mind, Joeckel seemed like an ideal fit for the spread Cumbie, a former Texas Tech assistant, and Meachem, a former Houston aide, wanted to install.
TCU is running the spread just fine under Boykin. The Horned Frogs moved up and down the field against Samford, Minnesota and SMU, but a top-five Oklahoma would be a new challenge.
In the first half, TCU was just as effective against the Sooners as any team on the schedule. Boykin made plays on the move and squeezed passes into tight spaces as TCU built a 14-0 lead.
"Boykin scrambled around to make a play even when we had the right pressure on him, he made the plays,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops told the media. “He made quite a few of those in the first half in a similar way and not as many in the second half.”
Perhaps it was a streaky game, but it was clear Boykin has helped TCU look more and more like a Big 12 program. Sporadic absences from former starting quarterback Casey Pachall didn’t help, but TCU was ill-prepared for the new league on the offensive side of the ball.
TCU ranked eighth in the league in the Big 12 in yards per play in each of its first two seasons in the conference. The Horned Frogs rank fifth now, but they are one of seven teams averaging better than six yards per snap.
TCU is also excelling in the hurry-up, averaging 82 plays per game. The Horned Frogs averaged 68.5 a year ago.
And more than that, TCU is playing with plenty of confidence heading into a game with another league frontrunner in Baylor.
“It’s off the charts right now,” Boykin said. “Especially after this game and even going into this game we knew we could win. Nobody mattered expect the 53 guys in the locker room that believed.”