TCU coach Gary Patterson has tried all season to downplay the rash of injuries that has struck his team, focusing instead on game-planning for those he has available rather than lamenting over those who are not.
But after quarterback Trevone Boykin went down with an ankle injury in the second quarter of the Horned Frogs’ 23-17 win over Kansas on Saturday, Patterson expressed some uncertainty about scaling the mountain that is TCU’s next two games: at Oklahoma on Saturday, followed by the regular-season finale against Baylor.
“I don’t know how we’ll do these next two games, because we’re pretty banged up,” Patterson said. “But we’ll be ready by bowl time.”
Patterson speculated in the postgame news conference that Boykin would be available next week at OU, and running back Aaron Green was sure of it after having a conversation with Boykin.
“If Trey says he’s fine, he’s fine,” Green said. “It’s Trevone Boykin we’re talking about.”
Boykin was not made available for comment after the game, but the quarterback wasn’t the only cog that had to leave due to injury Saturday.
Right guard Brady Foltz was scratched for sophomore Austin Schlottman, who made his first career start against Kansas, and left tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai did not play after seeing limited snaps in last week’s loss at Oklahoma State.
Joseph Noteboom slid over from right to left tackle once more in Vaitai’s absence to maintain experience on the offensive line.
In the second quarter, left guard Jamelle Naff exited with what appeared to be a right knee issue and was replaced by Bobby Thompson. But Patrick Morris, a sophomore out of Denton Guyer, started the second half at left guard.
Defensive back Nick Orr, who played primarily safety against Kansas after shifting to cornerback for most of the season to fill in for the injured Ranthony Texada, also came off the field late in Saturday’s game holding a towel to his forehead after leading with his helmet on a tackle.
Back from injury
TCU’s revolving injury door kept spinning Saturday, as pieces also returned to the field after being limited last week by injury.
Star receiver Josh Doctson — owner of numerous TCU records, including catches in a season (79), receiving yards in a season (1,327), touchdown catches in a season (14) and in a career (29) — started against Kansas but did not see a full workload after sustaining a wrist injury at Oklahoma State.
His first target came with 6:39 to play in the first quarter on a ball that Boykin sailed over his head. Doctson finished with just one catch for 12 yards.
“A little bit of it has to do with the quarterback play,” Patterson said. “But they played a coverage that did not allow the outside receivers to have much. We had to throw to the inside of the field, so it wasn’t so much of what Josh did, it had to do with what KU did.”
Backup receiver Emanuel Porter was also back against Kansas, seeing his first snaps since injuring his knee at Texas Tech on Sept. 26.
Linebacker Montrel Wilson, a true freshman from Keller Fossil Ridge, started against Kansas after seeing limited action last week at Oklahoma State with what appeared to be a shoulder injury.
Redshirt freshman Ty Summers earned a nod from Patterson after filling in for Wilson in recent weeks, even to the point of replacing Wilson as the starter moving forward.
Summers finished with a team-leading eight tackles against Kansas and had an interception late in the fourth quarter that Patterson called a “great play.”
“Montrel has kind of hit a wall, but that’s not unusual for a true freshman,” Patterson said. “It’s hard to be a 210-pound linebacker and play the people you have to play at that position.”
Bram Kohlhausen and Foster Sawyer both saw snaps after Boykin left early in the second quarter Saturday.
Kohlhausen played four series before he was lifted for the redshirt freshman from Fort Worth All Saints. TCU was scoreless in drives led by Kohlhausen, who went 13-for-19 passing for 112 yards and an interception as the game remained tied through most of the third quarter.
But Sawyer sparked what had been a lethargic offense. The coaching staff broke him in gently — with his first five snaps going for run plays — but TCU’s offense scored on three of its next four drives.
“He can just see the field better; he’s a lot taller,” Patterson said of the 6-foot-5 Sawyer. “It’s what you like to see. That’s the one thing this group’s done all year is find a way to overcome.”
Defense ‘won one’
Two key defensive plays cemented the win for TCU after quarterback Ryan Willis found Tyler Patrick with 3:22 to go as Kansas inched within 23-17.
Summers’ interception should have been the play that put the win on ice, but TCU’s offense reverted to three-and-out form on the ensuing series. Kansas got the ball back for one more shot to pull ahead, but on fourth down, defensive end Terrell Lathan got to Willis for his third sack of the season to end the threat.
“It was good for him and good for us,” Patterson said. “He’s had a hard year because he was out for three or four weeks. We hadn’t been playing up to our potential, but he’s part of a group that has played a lot of football.”
Oberkrom nears record
Jaden Oberkrom’s three field goals Saturday pulled the senior within one (74) of the Big 12 career mark for field goals made. He passed Colorado’s Mason Crosby and needs just two more to move in front of Michael Hunnicutt, who played at Oklahoma from 2011-2014.