Finally, a breather.
For three quarters, anyway. Or a half.
For however long, TCU finally got a chance to get off the roller coaster that has been their road games this season. The Horned Frogs shut out Iowa State for the final 45 minutes and coasted to a 45-21 victory at Jack Trice Stadium, extending their unbeaten season to 7-0 and winning a school-record 15th consecutive game.
“I think I’m just going to start not coming out until the second half,” TCU coach Gary Patterson joked. “We might be the worst first-quarter defense in college football right now. After that, they seem to wake up.”
The wake-up call came at a good time — just as Trevone Boykin and the offense were heating up.
Boykin threw for 436 yards and four touchdowns, completing 27 of 32 passes for a season-high completion percentage of 84.4 percent, and the Horned Frogs scored the final 31 points of the game.
“The first half was kind of rough, but it was mainly we needed to just settle down and play our game,” Boykin said. “The defense came up with stops. The only thing we can do on our side of the ball is try to score points.”
With the offense on the gas, the defense settled down. The net effect was a chance for separation in a game on the road — a factor that has been lacking for the Frogs this year.
They had to go to the wire in victories against Texas Tech and Kansas State. The Frogs hadn’t won a road game by more than seven points this season.
“We have to quit playing tentative when we go on the road,” Patterson said. “It’s really three ballgames we’ve played like this. Once we get them settled down and get into rhythm, it’s been OK.”
Nick Orr forced a fumble with a blitz, Josh Carraway had a sack, and Carraway and Mike Tuaua recovered fumbles that helped stem the tide.
“I like the way the defense fought back, threw a shutout in the second half,” Patterson said. “That might be the formula I have to do. I can’t just play base defense. For two weeks in a row, I’ve had to dial it up. We may be better at doing that kind of stuff.”
Iowa State had 251 yards and a 21-14 lead by the time it finished its third drive. National rushing leader Miike Warren’s 4-yard touchdown run gave the Cyclones that lead with 1:49 left in the opening period.
But after that, the Cyclones were limited to 210 yards and no points.
Last week against Kansas State, TCU allowed 119 yards and 10 points in the second half.
“We know we’ve got to start faster,” Carraway said. “That’s something that we all know. And you can see it. Everybody knows it, so that’s just something we’re going to have to work on over these next eight or nine days. We don’t come out, of course, and plan to start like that. Of course, it’s just something that happens. But it’s something we are going to fix. We’re going to fix it.”
Josh Doctson caught 10 passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns. He broke his own school records for receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in a season.