MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) Most improved is a label that certainly fit quarterbacks Clint Trickett of West Virginia and Trevone Boykin of TCU.
A year ago, Trickett looked lost at times trying to run the Mountaineers’ offense after transferring from Florida State. Boykin was relegated to wide receiver until relieving injured quarterback Casey Pachall.
Both Trickett and Boykin ended up throwing seven touchdowns and seven interceptions as their teams finished 4-8.
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They’re the main reasons behind their teams’ remarkable improvements in 2014 and will try to move them closer to first place in the Big 12 when No. 10 TCU (6-1, 3-1) and No. 20 West Virginia (6-2, 4-1) meet Saturday. The Horned Frogs also hope to land in the four-team College Football Playoff. TCU is No. 7 in the CFP rankings, West Virginia is 20th.
Boykin set a school record with seven TD passes in an 82-27 win over Texas Tech last week. He’s thrown for 433 and 410 yards in his last two games.
”He is the most improved player in college football,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen.
Both Holgorsen and TCU coach Gary Patterson said their respective quarterbacks are at their best when they aren’t trying too hard.
”Let the offense run itself,” Patterson said.
Boykin has 21 touchdown passes and three interceptions this season. When Boykin was TCU’s quarterback as a freshman two years ago, TCU was averaging about three turnovers per game, Patterson said.
Although Trickett had his streak of 300-yard passing games snapped at eight last week, he’s completing 68 percent of his throws and has West Virginia going after its fifth straight win, including the second against a Top 10 opponent.
”We’ve talked to him a little bit about that this week as far as just playing the game,” Holgorsen said. ”Don’t try to be perfect. Don’t try to control the game.”
Saturday’s game could be the warmup to a main event. Each school still has to play first-place Kansas State at home: TCU on Nov. 8 and the Mountaineers on Nov. 20.
Here’s some other tidbits about No. 10 TCU and No. 20 West Virginia:
KEVIN WHITE TRIFECTA: West Virginia’s Kevin White is one of the nation’s top wide receivers. Kevin White also is a TCU cornerback who will see plenty of his WVU namesake. It’s also the name of the quarterback who led the Mountaineers to a 31-14 win over TCU in the 1984 Bluebonnet Bowl.
INJURY UPDATES: TCU receiver Josh Doctson will travel with the team after leaving last week’s game with an ankle injury. Backup quarterback Matt Joeckel was lost for the season with a left knee injury. West Virginia running back Rushel Shell (foot) and cornerback Terrell Chestnut (concussion) are expected to return after missing most of two games.
SAVE THE COUCH: After West Virginia’s Oct. 18 win over Baylor, crowds pushed over street lights and threw rocks, beer bottles and other items at public safety personnel and their vehicles. Three dozen fires were set to couches, dumpsters and trash in Morgantown. Authorities issued citations to more than a dozen people and three students were expelled. University officials are hoping to avoid a repeat of that on Saturday.
BIG 12 BRRR: Temperatures will be in the 40s with a good chance of rain showers at game time. Last week it was 89 degrees at kickoff for West Virginia’s game at Oklahoma State and 88 for TCU’s home game against Texas Tech. ”We can play anywhere,” said TCU defensive lineman Chucky Hunter. ”It’s football.”
TOP KICKERS: West Virginia’s Josh Lambert leads the Big 12 in kick scoring with 85 points, followed closely by TCU’s Jaden Oberkrom with 83. Lambert has made 18 of 23 field goals this season, including last-second kicks to beat Maryland and Texas Tech. Oberkrom was 4 of 4 on field goals last week and is 13 of 17 overall.