As with its two losses this season, a few plays here or there and TCU could have blown its 20-0 lead at San Diego State two weeks ago and lost.
If so, all eyes would have been on punt returner Skye Dawson, who took a couple hard shots on returns and whose fumble gave the Aztecs the ball on the TCU 15-yard line.
San Diego State scored its first points of the game three plays later, and suddenly the Aztecs were back in the game.
Freshman Brandon Carter, who has returned four punts for 68 yards, including a long of 43 yards, could be an option down the stretch. TCU coach Gary Patterson was noncommittal when asked about switching from Dawson to Carter during Tuesday's media luncheon, but he voiced his displeasure with Dawson, who had a fumble in the third quarter against SMU that he recovered.
"Right now, I may catch punts," Patterson said. "I promise you this much, I'm fair-catching them, though."
Patterson mentioned a special fraternity of recent TCU return specialists including Jeremy Kerley, Cory Rodgers and Brian Bonner and lamented the missing element so far in 2011.
"We've been so good at that position. We have the kind of people on this team that that could be a big strength," he said. "But you can't put the ball on the ground. You've got to know when to fair-catch."
Boyce on pace
Receiver Josh Boyce is living up to high expectations. The sophomore is on pace to break TCU single-season records for receptions and receiving yards. He has 37 receptions for 580 yards through six games, putting him within striking distance of Cory Rodgers' 2004 record of 61 receptions, and Reggie Harrell's 2003 record of 1,012 yards. Boyce has five touchdowns catches and has a chance to pass Jeremy Kerley's record of 10 set last season.
Forrest's UNM roots
TCU defensive end Ross Forrest has a few deep roots in the New Mexico football program. His dad, Mike, was a standout linebacker for the Lobos in the late 1970s and his cousin Bubba Forrest is a starting senior safety for the Lobos. Ross, a junior from Odessa Permian, says his dad does not waver in his loyalties.
"He's TCU all the way," Forrest said recently. "I know it means something to my dad and to get to play against my family is neat."
Pachall added to list
TCU quarterback Casey Pachall was added to the Manning Award watch list. The award goes to the nation's top quarterback. Through six games, Pachall is on pace to set TCU single-season records for completions, attempts, passing yards, touchdown passes and completion percentage. The sophomore has 15 touchdown passes and four interceptions.