TCU quarterback Casey Pachall is likely to miss at least eight weeks after breaking his left arm during the Horned Frogs’ 38-17 win Saturday against Southeastern Louisiana.
Pachall had surgery Saturday afternoon to repair a forearm fracture to his non-throwing arm. Recovery could keep him out of action until at least early November, before the Frogs’ Nov. 9 game at Iowa State, according to a source.
That timetable would leave Pachall available for the last three regular-season games, plus a possible bowl game.
For now, it’s Trevone Boykin’s offense again. The sophomore who replaced Pachall for the last nine games a year ago will start against Texas Tech (2-0) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in Lubbock.
It’s a tough turn of events for Pachall, who made his second consecutive start for No. 24 TCU (1-1) on Saturday. Pachall was forced to earn his starting job after he left the team last October to seek treatment for substance abuse in the wake of an arrest on suspicion of driving under the influence.
He returned to the school in January and battled Boykin for the starting job. TCU coach Gary Patterson did not declare a starter until both players took the field for the first time against LSU in the season opener Aug. 31 — Pachall at quarterback and Boykin at wide receiver.
Boykin replaced Pachall against LSU after the offense sputtered and Pachall threw an interception on the first play of the second half. Boykin responded by leading the team on two scoring drives.
After the LSU game Patterson quickly announced that Pachall would start again against Southeastern Louisiana.
Pachall completed 8 of 14 passes for 100 yards Saturday and left with the game tied at 14-14. He was injured with less than 2:30 remaining in the first half after an 8-yard run in which an SLU defender’s knee slammed down hard on his left forearm on the sideline. Pachall left the game and never returned to the field.
“I really feel bad for him if it is [serious,]” Patterson said Saturday. “Everything that he’s gone through to get to this point.”
Boykin helped lead the team to 24 unanswered points. He completed 9 of 13 passes for 133 yards and two touchdown passes. He also rushed for 35 yards and tied for the team lead with three receptions for 25 yards.
Boykin, a much more run-oriented quarterback than Pachall, has improved his passing motion and looks much more comfortable in the pocket this season. His ability to improvise with his feet is a burden for defenses.
“He’s an unbelievable competitor,” Patterson said of Boykin. “In fact, he needs to calm down. He’s not going to last a full season leaping over people. He needs to slide, get out of it and get to the next play.”
Pachall’s injury makes redshirt freshman Tyler Matthews the backup quarterback. Matthews took his first TCU snaps in the fourth quarter Saturday. His first and only pass attempt bounced off the chest of running back Aaron Green.
If the senior Pachall is unable to return to the field in 2013, it is unclear whether he’d qualify for a medical redshirt, which would allow him to return to TCU in 2014.
He’s scheduled to graduate this December, and he might be ready to turn his attention to the NFL Draft.
But if he didn’t return to the field this season, he could try to get his five-year period of eligibility extended by the NCAA.
To qualify, the NCAA rules state, “this requires two out of the five years of circumstances beyond the control of the student-athlete.” A season-ending injury would be an example of a qualifying condition. A voluntary redshirt year would not, the rules state.
Pachall redshirted as a freshman in 2009 and played sparingly as Andy Dalton’s backup in 2010. He led TCU to an 11-2 record in 2011 while setting school records in most passing categories. He led the Frogs to a 4-0 start in 2012 before being forced to leave the team.
Pachall’s predecessor, Dalton, has been the Cincinnati Bengals’ starting quarterback the past three seasons.