FORT WORTH, Texas – Any debate about who should be the starting quarterback for the TCU Horned Frogs were came to an end Saturday.
At least for the time being and not in a good way.
Senior Casey Pachall, who started the game against Southeastern Louisiana, left the game in the second quarter with a left forearm injury and did not return. That left sophomore Trevone Boykin, who filled in for Pachall last year, as the man for the remainder of the game and the immediate future.
Boykin responded by leading the 24th-ranked Frogs to 24 points in their 38-17 victory over the Lions and the starting job for now.
TCU head coach Gary Patterson said Pachall will not play in Thursday’s Big 12 opener at Texas Tech and that his future outlook was “probably not good.”
Patterson said later Saturday that Pachall had surgery on his arm after the game and that he would miss several games.
Pachall tried to brace himself on a scramble late in the second quarter but was tackled by Justin Church and immediately went to the locker room and didn’t return to the field.
Thank goodness for a TCU (1-1) team that looked lifeless throughout much of the first half against an FCS school that they had the experience Boykin.
Boykin caught the first three passes of his career from Pachall before the injury and ended up throwing two touchdown passes in the second half as the Frogs ended any upset bid with a pair of third-quarter touchdowns on their way to building a 38-17 lead.
Boykin, who started nine games for TCU last year after Pachall was arrested and left the team to enter an alcohol rehab facility, was ready for his chance.
“I pretty much knew the game plan and tried to execute and play within our system,” said Boykin, who completed 9 of 13 passes for 133 yards and also ran for 35 yards. “It wasn’t that difficult to do coming in after Casey had got injured.”
Boykin certainly provided a spark. When Pachall left, the game was tied at 14. Boykin scrambled for 16 yards on his first play and the Frogs ended the half with a field goal to get some momentum back.
That carried over in the second half as TCU scored touchdowns on its first two drives, with Brandon Carter running in from five yards for the first one and Boykin finding Josh Doctson for a 27-yard score for the second one.
Patterson thought Boykin played well at times but knows there’s room for improvement.
“I thought the other quarterback (Boykin) did fine,” Patterson said. “We finally woke up. He just makes some plays with his legs that Casey hadn’t done and Casey made some plays with his arm that Trevone doesn’t do. It’s two weeks in a row that he’s come in and done some good things. He’s still got to get to where he doesn’t throw off his back foot.”
Patterson said the slow start by TCU wasn’t Pachall’s fault. Pachall was 8 of 14 for 100 yards before he got hurt but was also sacked twice.
“I thought we just didn’t play with a lot of spark,” he said. “I don’t know if was really him or everybody. We did not block on the perimeter very well. I don’t know if you can put a lot of that on Casey.”
One benefit the offense had Saturday is that most of the players are used to playing with both Pachall and Boykin. That made the transition from Pachall to Boykin easier after the injury.
“Injuries happen it’s football,” said running back B.J. Catalon, who led TCU with 59 yards and a touchdown. “Tre stepped in and did very well. He stepped in and managed the offense and he’s a great playmaker. We had him last year, most of the year. We know how he plans and how to play with him. Everybody connects and the chemistry’s really good when he comes in the game. There’s not a drop off.”
While the Frogs are happy to have an experienced quarterback in Boykin, they also feel for Pachall. He made it all the way back after an arrest last year led to him leaving the team. He came back to school and won the starting spot in a tight race with Boykin.
Now they prepare for Tech with Boykin under center while also hoping for the best for Pachall.
“I really feel bad for him if it is (a serious injury) for the simple reason that everything he’s gone through to get to this point,” Patterson said. “But this isn’t one of those weeks where you’ve got a lot of time to sit around and chatter.”