By Wendell Barnhouse
Big 12 Digital Correspondent
One of the toughest things in sports – or life, for that matter – is to meet expectations of others. Those expectations can sometimes be unrealistic and unkind.
After at outstanding junior season, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin was expected to have an outstanding senior season and be in the running for the Heisman Trophy. With the Horned Frogs starting the season ranked in the top five and then suffering an unthinkable number of injuries on a defense already in a rebuilding mode, the TCU offense has been tasked with carrying the load.
Boykin is proving to have a strong back and wide shoulders.
"We wouldn't be 7-0 if it wasn't for Trevone Boykin and (receiver) Josh Doctson," TCU coach Gary Patterson said Monday. "Trevone just needs to keep doing what he's doing and everything will take care of itself. Trevone has been quiet, taken care of his business and been a role model."
After a shaky opener on the road at Minnesota, Boykin has played at a consistently high level. His numbers through seven games surpass those of Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks Robert Griffin III of Baylor in 2011 and Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M in 2012 (see chart below).
Iowa State was TCU's final regular-season opponent last season. Saturday night in Ames, the Cyclones went all-out to upset the Frogs, taking a 21-14 lead in the first half. Boykin, who is second nationally in total offense, stayed steady and led TCU to 31 consecutive points for a 45-21 victory.
"He belongs in the Heisman discussion," Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said of Boykin. "As a freshman, he had a strong arm but he didn't have the accuracy. Now, he throws the deep ball on the money, the medium passes on the money and he can make plays running the ball. Against us, he turned a bad snap into a 10-yard gain."
Boykin said before the season that his plan to handle the Heisman hype was simply to be himself. And that self is pretty special. Boykin is self-aware and understands there is far more in the world than just football.
During Saturday's coin at Jack Trice Stadium, the team captains and the referee were joined by a special guest. Iowa State has teamed with Blank Children's Hospital to have a child selected as The Kid Captain to accompany the Cyclones captains for the coin toss. Abby Faber, who has spastic diplegia cerebral palsy and is confined to a wheelchair, was The Kid Captain Saturday.
Boykin went beyond simply acknowledging her presence. He knelt down, shook her hand and asked "What's your name?" A touching but meaningful moment of kindness.
Paul Moseley, a veteran photographer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, was at midfield to take photos of the coin toss. He captured the unexpected moment in a photograph that has gone viral.
"Who but a true champion does that minutes before a big game?" Moseley posted on his Twitter account.
To borrow from the Big 12 current campaign, Trevone Boykin is a true Champion for Life.
For Oklahoma, the best part of the road trip to Kansas State was Saturday's 55-0 victory. The worst part was getting there. Mechanical issues with four – yes, four – different charter aircraft kept the Sooners stuck in the Oklahoma City airport for 8½ hours. They didn't arrive at their hotel until around 2 a.m. Saturday.
"Yeah, and sometimes when you've had some adversity, it can work that way," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "And our guys - obviously, it didn't hurt. So it may have helped, it's probably fair to say. We had a lot of good time together. We just made the most of it the best we could."
As the clock ticked and the delay lengthened, Stoops' concern was getting his players fed. A group of support personnel went on a fast food supply mission and returned with sacks of food. After eating, the team passed time watching film and sports on television.
"I actually kind of enjoyed it," Oklahoma offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley said. "You know, all the time we're with these guys, you've only got so many hours a week, and it's so regimented and you feel like you've got to get all this done. It's kind of fun just to sit there.
"We watched games, we watched the playoff (baseball) game, guys were just - you have conversations, get to spend time with guys that was in an atmosphere that we don't always get. In a way, you could kind of feel the team kind of just latching on a little bit tighter, kind of coming a little bit closer together."
One Man's Opinion
Bruce Feldman, the outstanding reporter for FOXSports.com, was the sideline reporter for Saturday's telecast of the Texas Tech-Kansas game. This is part of his column wrapping up the weekend's games:
I did sidelines Saturday for the Texas Tech-Kansas game and spoke to both staffs about why they think Baylor is different from past Bears teams. Both sides agreed that it's because Baylor's much better and much stronger than they've ever been on both lines.
"That O-line is as physical as advertised. They move you," said KU DC Clint Bowen. "Once they get their hands on you, they move you."
KU head man David Beaty said BU has a special player in the middle of their defense in powerhouse Andrew Billings. Beaty has coached in the Big 12 and SEC and said the only D-lineman he's seen who is better than Billings is former Nebraska great Ndamukong Suh.
Texas is 24-8 when playing at home in the next game following a victory over Oklahoma. Since 1990, the Longhorns have won seven straight home games after beating the Sooners.
Baker Mayfield will be the fourth Oklahoma different quarterback to start against Texas Tech in as many years (Landry Jones, Blake Bell, Cody Thomas, Mayfield).
The last time Kansas State lost three games in a row was 2013 when the Wildcats started 2-4. They recovered to post four consecutive victories, finished 8-4 in the regular season and defeated Michigan in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
Baylor's Corey Coleman has 16 touchdown receptions in six games. Colorado State's Rashard Higgins led FBS in TD receptions last season … with 17. The Big 12 single-season record, by the way, is 25 by West Virginia's Stedman Bailey in 2012.
Kansas coach David Beaty on freshman quarterback Ryan Willis, who posted career bests for completions and yards in Saturday's loss to Texas Tech:
"He showed some things that we were looking for and he just showed us that the moments really aren't too big for him at this point. He made some mistakes, because he's still a young guy, but then he made some great throws and he extended plays. The way he handles himself on the sideline and with our players has been really impressive. Whether or not he can continue to sustain that, that's yet to be seen. It's two games."
Bill Snyder on the 55-0 loss to Oklahoma Saturday:
"It's a dramatic disappointment but we all have to fight back. I'm motivated to help the young guys in our program. If I can't present the right attitude or approach than I can expect our players to. We all have to fight back. I'm motivated."
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy on whether the Big 12 lands a spot in the four-team College Football Playoff:
"No question. There'll be a Big 12 team in there."
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads on the offensive numbers being posted by Baylor, his team's opponent Saturday in Waco:
"It's absurd … 720 yards and 64 points per game. To beat those guys, you'll have to score in the 50s. Say they drop a couple of balls and the quarterback misses a couple of throws … you're still gonna have to score about 50 to beat 'em."
How Boykin Measures Up
The numbers, through seven games, of two Heisman Trophy quarterbacks and how TCU's Trevone Boykin compares.
|Player||Passing Yds||Passing TDs||Rushing TDs|
|Robert Griffin III, Baylor, 2011||2,275||23||3|
|Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M, 2012||1,956||14||10|
|Trevone Boykin, TCU, 2015||2,539||25||8|
|Robert Griffin III
Texas A&M, 2012
|2,275 passing yds||1,956 passing yds||2,539 passing yds|
|75.4 pass pct., 4 INTs||63.8 pass pct., 6 INTs||66.4 pass pct., 5 INTs|
|23 passing TDs||14 passing TDs||25 passing TDs|
|3 rushing TDs||10 rushing TDs||8 rushing TDs|