The game was over, and maybe it felt like the season with it, but the first thing Trevone Boykin did was take off his helmet and look for someone on the Oklahoma State sideline to shake hands with.
He found someone.
And on the long walk to the locker room after he had thrown four interceptions in No. 8 TCU’s 49-29 loss Saturday night, he found more. A line of Oklahoma State fans snapped his photo and stuck out their hand, eager for a handshake with the senior quarterback who minutes earlier had perhaps thrown his Heisman Trophy chances away.
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Whether they were expecting him to stop or not, he did. He had refocused, and it is what he began asking of himself and his team after their undefeated season was gone.
“It’s hard,” Boykin said. “You go through your senior year and you try to be perfect, and one stumble, it feels like everything has collapsed on you. We’re a pretty strong group. We’ll bounce back. Next week, we’ve got Kansas, and we’ll just try to play our heart out then.”
The next three weeks is all TCU (8-1, 5-1 Big 12) has now. Their College Football Playoff chance may be gone. Boykin’s Heisman Trophy chance may be gone. Their best receiver, Josh Doctson, may be gone.
But the next three games remain.
“I’m not really about individual awards, to be honest,” Boykin said, considering his Heisman chances. “Our goal is still at stake. We need to finish strong. We’ve got three really good teams that we have to play. So the season’s really not over yet.”
No, in fact, TCU’s conference championship are still there. But it will probably take winning out, and it will take some repair on both offense and defense.
You go through your senior year and you try to be perfect, and one stumble, it feels like everything has collapsed on you.
TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin
Boykin was intercepted on the second possession, on his way to a career-high for interceptions, and he lost Doctson to a wrist injury in the second quarter. Boykin was sacked three times.
Redshirt freshman cornerback Nick Orr gave up two touchdown bombs from Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph to James Washington, and sophomore Torrance Mosley gave up another as the Cowboys (9-0, 6-0) left the TCU secondary in shambles.
“They came out with a lot of fire and a lot of energy, playing a home game,” TCU safety Derrick Kindred said. “They played up to their potential. We’ve just got to eliminate the big plays, and we can move forward from that. But as a defense, we didn’t play very well in the first half.”
TCU lost its school-record 16-game winning streak and its 22-game winning streak as an AP Top-5 team.
The Horned Frogs hadn’t given up more than two touchdown passes in any game this year. They gave up five Saturday.
“That’s just their game plan,” Kindred said. “A lot of people are going to take shots on us because we’re young, and in previous games we’ve given up deep balls, but they weren’t getting caught. We know guys are going to take shots. It’s just about us going out there and executing.”
The next chance to execute comes next week.
I keep tell you guys — playoffs, Heisman, that’s for you. Us? We got to win ballgames. It’s just the next team. So now, it’s Kansas.
TCU coach Gary Patterson
“They sky is not ready to fall,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “You’re not going to write the sky is ready to fall. All right, maybe the playoffs are out of order. But if you can beat Oklahoma and Baylor and have one loss and beat Kansas, you’re 11-1. And then somebody else can make that decision.”
But Patterson couldn’t explain what happened to Boykin. His quarterback had his worst game when he was needed most.
“You’re going to have one bad game,” he said. “He had a bad game.”
He said he felt for Boykin.
“He’s in there in tears right now because nobody hurts worse than he does right now. The bottom line is, he’s a competitor. He’ll come back next week, and we’ll get ready to go and try to win No. 9.”
That was Boykin’s plan, too. He would get to it as soon as this game was behind him.
“I don’t know, man, to be honest,” Boykin said, asked in the interview room when he would smile again. “I wear my heart on my sleeve, I put everything out on the field, I leave everything out on the field. When stuff like this happens, it’s a huge disappointment.
“I’m more disappointed in myself than I am the team.”