Two games into the season and TCU’s quarterback quandary may have been solved by an injury.
Casey Pachall, who returned to the team after missing most of the 2012 season while receiving substance abuse treatment, left the game late in the first half after being tackled out of bounds on an 8-yard run.
Pachall suffered a fracture on his left (non-throwing) forearm, the Star-Telegram confirmed. He did not return to the field in the second half and won’t play at Texas Tech on Thursday night, coach Gary Patterson said after the Horned Frogs defeated Southeastern Louisiana 38-17 at Amon G. Carter Stadium on Saturday.
Patterson declined to give more details on Pachall’s status but confirmed Saturday evening that Pachall underwent surgery.
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Pachall will miss multiple games, Patterson said, beginning with Thursday’s game (6:30 p.m.) in Lubbock. Patterson said he had not talked to the doctors as of early Saturday evening.
Earlier, during his postgame news conference, he lamented the prospect of losing his senior quarterback after Pachall’s tough road back to the field.
“I really feel bad for him if it is [serious],” Patterson said. “Everything that he’s gone through to get to this point.”
But Pachall’s replacement, Trevone Boykin, looks better than ever back in his role from a year ago. The sophomore led 24th-ranked TCU (1-1) to 24 consecutive points, including second-half touchdown passes to Josh Doctson and Aaron Green that helped the Frogs pull away from the Lions early in the fourth quarter before an announced crowd of 41,170.
The offense wasn’t exactly futile with Pachall running the show, but a slow start, which included two failed fourth-down attempts, stalled drives on the Frogs’ first two possessions. TCU finally took advantage of great field position and took a 7-0 lead after Waymon James capped a 49-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run late in the first quarter.
The Lions (1-1) made it interesting, however, at least for a half. After forcing a TCU punt, SLU drove 83 yards in six plays, including a 45-yard run to the TCU 5 by quarterback Bryan Bennett.
Bennett scored on a 1-yard run two plays later to tie it at 7-7 midway through the second quarter.
TCU responded on its next possession as Pachall led the Frogs on a 60-yard scoring drive, connecting on first down with Deanté Gray for a 36-yard pass over the middle. Pachall hit Boykin for a 14-yard gain and B.J. Catalon scored on a 15-yard run around the right side to give the Frogs a 14-7 lead.
The Lions came back and burned the Frogs on a broken coverage as Bennett hit a wide-open Jeff Smiley down the left sideline for a 65-yard touchdown to pull even again, 14-14, with 2:38 left in the first half. A 46-yard field goal at the end of the first half gave TCU a precarious 17-14 lead.
“We just had a little miscommunication on the wheel route,” TCU cornerback Jason Verrett said. “Other than that, I thought we did pretty good. They made a few plays but we found a way to stop them.”
TCU held SLU to 137 yards in the second half. The Lions were outgained 402-339 for the game.
“I thought we didn’t play with very much enthusiasm today,” Patterson said. “I told them that’s not what good teams do. Defensively, except for a few big plays, I thought we played very well.”
Boykin, who tied for the team high with three receptions before taking over at quarterback, completed 9 of 13 passes for 133 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed five times for 35 yards.
He led two quick scoring drives to start the second half to push the Frogs’ lead to 31-14.
A 29-yard pass to Brandon Carter set up Carter’s 5-yard scoring run a few plays later. Two plays later, Chris Hackett intercepted Bennett’s pass to give TCU the ball at the SLU 44. After a 17-yard run by Catalon, Boykin found Doctson streaking down the sideline for a 27-yard touchdown reception and a 31-14 lead. Boykin’s 9-yard scoring pass to Green gave TCU a 38-14 lead early in the fourth quarter.
“We didn’t have a vertical game in the first half, I don’t think we threw a pass over 10 yards,” Boykin said. “It was good momentum going into halftime, but we knew we had to put up way more points than just 17.”
Catalon, who led the Frogs with 59 yards on 11 carries, said the team feels for Pachall.
“Right now, we’re going to pray for Casey and hope everything is all right with him,” Catalon said. “And we’re going to go with Tre as long as we need to. We’re going to be hurt because he got a second chance to come back and play. That’s going to really hurt us.
“But it’s football, injuries happen any given play or game. We’ll have to go with Tre and I know he’ll do just fine. We’re confident in him. He’s a great athlete. Tre can do anything out there on that field.”
Boykin did everything but make a tackle Saturday. Now it’s his offense against Texas Tech.