The catch that everyone will be talking about came on a play that didn’t go as planned for TCU.
On fourth-and-goal from Texas Tech’s 4-yard line, Trevone Boykin threw across the middle to Josh Doctson on a crossing route that had been successful the entire game.
His fastball was high, and Doctson, who already had 18 catches for 267 yards and three touchdowns in the game, was just able to get his fingertips on the ball.
Hope for sneaking out of Lubbock with a win appeared to be lost as the ball floated toward the end line, until running back Aaron Green entered stage right and snuck under the ball.
I don’t know where he came from, but thank goodness. Anytime you have a special year, people make special plays.
TCU coach Gary Patterson on Aaron Green’s winning catch
He secured possession after getting a foot down in the very back of the end zone and brought the Horned Frogs from dejection to elation, and their 55-52 win, with the 4-yard catch, his third touchdown of the game.
“Thank goodness,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “I don’t know where he came from, but thank goodness. Anytime you have a special year, people make special plays.”
Green finished with 138 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries, but his biggest play came through the air. His only other reception in the game went for no gain.
The play gave Tech one final possession that ended with an untimed down that went for a hook-and-lateral all the way down to the TCU 10-yard line.
“When I saw the offensive linemen catching up, I was like ‘you got to be kidding me,’ ” Patterson said of the game’s final play. “And then he flips it to No. 11 [Jakeem Grant], and you can’t hardly tackle him in a phone booth. And so we got guys running around all over the place, thinking how is one guy going to get him on the ground.”
Big game for duo
It made sense that Boykin’s last pass was intended for Doctson, as the pair had been in rhythm the entire game. Doctson’s 18 catches were the most for a Big 12 receiver since Texas A&M’s Albert Connell reached 18 against Colorado in 1996.
It was the first time a TCU receiver has caught 10 or more balls since Boykin did it in 2013 against West Virginia.
“For a guy that walked on,” Patterson said. “I mean, [Tech] knew where we were going to throw. He’s just a really good player.”
The senior ran wild for 267 receiving yards and three first-half touchdowns. Doctson has caught 21 touchdown passes at TCU, just one behind the career mark set by Josh Boyce in 2012.
On his second TD, Doctson got behind his defender but had to adjust to the ball in the air, bringing that defender back into the play. He leapt into the front corner of the end zone for the 52-yard touchdown that gave TCU a 26-21 lead with 6:05 left before halftime.
“I had two drops. My goal is to come in and be perfect for the offense,” Doctson said. “I know some of our receivers were out, and another one kind of got banged up during the game. I knew a lot was riding on me in regard to the passing game, so I just stepped up and made plays when my number was called.”
Boykin set a career-high mark for passing yards in a game as well, going 34-of-54 for 509 yards and four touchdowns. That makes for 963 yards passing and nine touchdown throws in his past two games.
“You know, to everyone that said Trevone may be a little overrated, well, you just need to start watching ballgames,” Patterson saidd.
A blocked field goal, a missed field goal and several inopportune penalties could have spelled disaster for TCU, had the final minute not gone the way it did.
Junior defensive end Josh Carraway had two unnecessary roughness penalties, and defensive tackle Davion Pierson, back from a concussion for his first game action of the season, was called for roughing the passer as the clock struck zero in the fourth quarter, giving Tech its opportunity for the untimed hook-and-lateral to end the game.
“I wasn’t happy with Davion, not because of his play, because of how he acted,” Patterson said. “I wasn’t happy with Carraway. We had seniors that got fouls, and the head coach gave them a 15-yarder because the referee ran into me. That’s inexcusable. Can’t win games like that.”
All in all, Pierson was on the field for 25 snaps.
Patterson was called for sideline interference in the third quarter on a drive that led to a 37-yard field goal that brought the Red Raiders to within 40-38.
Injuries strike again
Wide receiver Kolby Listenbee did not play against Tech after trying to work loose his right leg and hip during pregame warmups.
Patterson said he hoped to have the senior back next week against Texas.
That loss in the receiving corps was compounded with the loss of Ty Slanina late in the first quarter.
His left arm or shoulder appeared to be the problem area, and Patterson said after the game that he would likely be out for the season.
Listenbee’s replacement, Emanuel, Porter was lost for the game late in the second quarter and could be seen wearing a knee brace on his left knee during the second half.
Patterson said he would be out at least one week.
Cornerback Torrance Mosley would have started the game opposite Nick Orr had he not sprained an ankle Wednesday, Patterson said. Senior Corry O’Meally was charged with most of his work in the secondary.
TCU gets safety
With the score tied 7-7 in the first quarter, the Horned Frogs scored a safety when a shotgun snap sailed over the head of Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
“They were giving some line calls defensively,” Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “I guess we thought it was our quarterback saying that, our cadence, so he snapped it.”
Mahomes fell on the ball in the end zone to give TCU its early 9-7 lead.