He had gotten his helmet ripped off, a linebacker was in his face, and Foster Sawyer was trying to keep his cool.
Somehow he did.
Somehow he walked away before the pushing and talking became more than pushing and talking.
But as he turned, the redshirt freshman quarterback for TCU yelled and gave five hard claps of his hands — an emotional release as the third quarter of last week’s game against Kansas was ending, signaling the young quarterback was ready for more.
He had some fire in his eyes, and that’s what we like to see.
TCU tight end Dominic Merka, on Foster Sawyer
“He had some fire in his eyes, and that’s what we like to see,” senior tight end Dominic Merka said. “It was good just to see a young quarterback have some fire in him, get excited, feel like he’s helping the team as much as he can. I think he enjoyed it a lot.”
Well, good, because he may get another chance.
Sawyer, the Horned Frogs’ No. 3 quarterback a week ago, could be the starter on Saturday at Oklahoma.
Coach Gary Patterson said this week that Sawyer had “the edge” on the job, in case Trevone Boykin can’t play, based on his performance in relief last week in the 23-17 victory against Kansas. Sawyer completed only one of seven passes, but it was a 42-yard touchdown, and he produced points on three drives.
No. 2 quarterback Bram Kohlhausen was 13-for-19 for 112 yards, but his time in the game led to no points, and he was intercepted in the third quarter when the game was 10-10 and the Frogs had reached the Kansas 23-yard line. A three-and-out drive followed, and Sawyer took over.
Foster Sawyer was the Star-Telegram’s offensive player of the year for 2013, when he won the second of two SPC championships at Fort Worth All Saints.
“Obviously it was a big loss for us — he’s the heart and soul of our offense and our team,” Merka said of Boykin’s departure because of an ankle injury. “Our other two quarterbacks haven’t had a lot of playing time this year in close games. Being able to play in a close game like that helped them adjust. Whether Trevone goes or doesn’t, it helps them prepare for the last two weeks of the season.”
The last two weeks of the season are what Patterson has his eye on.
He liked the way Sawyer competed in winning at home against Kansas. He is far more interested in how Sawyer would compete on the road against Oklahoma.
We’ll find out. One was KU, now it’s Oklahoma. We’ll find out.
TCU coach Gary Patterson, on how Foster Sawyer might react in his next game
“We’ll find out. One was KU, now it’s Oklahoma,” Patterson said. “We’ll find out. One was at home, one is on the road. As I tell you guys all the time, you play them at home, and you play them on the road. Everybody seems to act different. We’ll see how Foster acts different.”
Sawyer got a chance against Kansas because the coaches thought he could see the field better than Kohlhausen was seeing it.
But Sawyer also displayed a bigger arm, which is one of the reasons he was the No. 2-rated quarterback in Texas in 2013 out of Fort Worth All Saints, where he passed for more than 2,867 yards and 48 touchdowns as a senior, with only two interceptions. It was private-school competition, but he dominated it. As a junior, he threw six touchdown passes in the Southwest Preparatory Conference championship game. As a senior, he threw five.
According to TCU, Foster Sawyer chose the Horned Frogs over Alabama, Baylor, Missouri, Oregon State and UCLA.
“He’s an incredibly talented young quarterback,” Merka said. “He loves the game of football. He comes to practice ready to work every day with a smile on his face. He’s just a great guy to be around.”
It’s still possible Boykin plays — Patterson said the team might wait until game time to decide — and the practice week will tell the coaching staff more about a choice between Sawyer and Kohlhausen.
79 Touchdown passes thrown as a junior and senior by Foster Sawyer at Fort Worth All Saints.
But for now, Sawyer has Saturday’s performance on his side. And despite being a freshman, he has something about him the veterans can respect.
“When it was his time to get in, I went to him on the sideline and said, ‘Are you all right, are you ready?’ ” senior running back Aaron Green said. “And he just said, ‘Yeah.’ That’s all I really needed to know from that point on. I knew he was ready.”
By the time he got his helmet ripped off, everyone else knew, too.
No. 18 TCU at No. 7 Oklahoma
7 p.m. Saturday, WFAA/Ch. 8