BOISE, Idaho -- TCU coach Gary Patterson told quarterback Casey Pachall early last week that Saturday's showdown with Boise State was a game where legends are made.
The sophomore, starting the 10th game of his career, took it to heart and etched his legacy into Horned Frogs lore in stunning fashion.
Pachall found true freshman receiver Brandon Carter in the end zone with 1:05 left in the game and then converted a 2-point conversion pass to Josh Boyce to give TCU a breathtaking 36-35 win over fifth-ranked Boise State before 34,146 in attendance at Bronco Stadium.
The Broncos (8-1, 3-1 in the Mountain West) had a chance for the win with one second remaining, but a 39-yard field-goal attempt sailed wide right. The Frogs (8-2, 5-0) sit in the driver's seat for the MWC title, which they've won the past two seasons. The Frogs finish the season with home games against Colorado State and UNLV.
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It was Boise State's first home conference loss since 1998 and its first loss at home since a bowl-game loss in 2005.
The late heroics almost didn't happen. Boise State looked like a winning team running out the clock deep in TCU territory when Jonathan Anderson forced a fumble on running back Drew Wright with 2:26 remaining.
Ross Forrest recovered, giving Pachall and the offense the ball at the TCU 27.
Pachall completed 5 of 7 passes on the drive, including a 14-yard gain on a third-and-6 to Antoine Hicks and a 21-yard pass to Jonathan Jones, who came into the game with just six catches for 41 yards this season.
After an incompletion, Carter outjumped the defender for the touchdown, setting up the 2-point pass to Boyce.
"I told them at the start of the drive we won't win overtime here," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "When we go down and score then we're going for two."
TCU had to call a second timeout before the 2-point attempt after some confusion, giving Patterson a chance to rethink going for it. He didn't change, and Boyce outmuscled the defender for the pass to give the Frogs the lead.
"I told them we're not going to win this if it keeps going," Patterson said. "The only way we're going to be able to do it is steal it."
Pachall threw for 473 yards, second in TCU history to Matt Vogler's 690 yards against Houston in 1990. He tied the school record with five touchdown passes.
Boyce had a career-high 163 yards receiving on five receptions, including touchdowns of 74, 69 and 2 yards. His previous high-yardage game was last year at Utah, when the Frogs won 47-7.
Carter also had a career day with 120 yards on four catches, including two touchdowns. His 75-yard scoring reception early in the second quarter gave TCU a 14-7 lead.
After Boise tied it on D.J. Harper's touchdown run, Boyce and Pachall hooked up for a 69-yard strike to give TCU a 20-14 lead at the half.
On the Frogs' first play in the second half Tyrone Crawford picked up a Hicks fumble and ran 32 yards to score, giving Boise a one-point lead.
Harper's second touchdown run stretched the Broncos' lead to 28-20 with 7:03 left in the third quarter.
"After the fumble I felt like we were in a lot of trouble, because we let them have the momentum back, but our kids fought back," Patterson said.
Pachall completed all four passes as the Frogs drove 86 yards for a score, a 2-yard catch from Boyce. Pachall tied it at 28-28 with a 2-point conversion run.
But Kellen Moore led a quick Broncos drive on their next possession and gave Boise a 35-28 lead with a 54-yard touchdown pass to Dallas Burroughs.
"I'm glad I don't ever have to face Kellen Moore again," Patterson said. "We just survived. I promise you this: there won't be any better ballgame in college football this year. It was too bad anybody had to lose."