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Weighing In: TCU Tops ESPN’s Big 12 Rankings

TCU QB Trevone Boykin (right) has impressed in his third year as starting QB for the Horned Frogs.

TCU QB Trevone Boykin (right) has impressed in his third year as starting QB for the Horned Frogs.

It’s only been a week since the TCU Horned Frogs’ crushing defeat at the hands of Baylor. While they only fell three spots in the AP polls to No. 12, many wondered how they would respond against a dangerous Oklahoma State team.

What a difference a week makes.

In an all-around dominating performance at Amon G. Carter Stadium on Saturday, the Frogs laid waste to the Cowboys on both sides of the ball, notching an impressive 42-9 bounce-back victory. QB Trevone Boykin topped the 400-passing yard mark for the first time this season (a career-high 410 yards) while also tallying three TDs to only one interception in the blowout win. RB B.J. Catalon added a 100-yard performance on the ground (10 carries, 102 yards) and 2 touchdowns of his own. The vaunted TCU defense, meanwhile, also came back to form, limiting Oklahoma State to under 20 points for the first time in 59 games.

Their fifth win of the season, coupled with unexpected and disappointing losses by No. 11 Oklahoma (30-31 vs. Kansas State) and No. 4 Baylor (27-41 at West Virginia), have propelled them to No. 10 in both the AP and USA Today polls. It has also propelled them, in the eyes of ESPN Big 12 writer Jake Trotter, to the top rank of the Big 12. Said Trotter:

Has a unit in Big 12 history taken a more dramatic one-year turn than the TCU offense? The Horned Frogs ranked 106th nationally in total offense last year. After rolling up 694 total yards Saturday, they rank seventh, and fifth in scoring. […] After its win at Oklahoma, Kansas State has a strong case for the No. 1 spot in these power rankings, but TCU has been the slightly more impressive team. The Horned Frogs, who have no apparent Achilles’ heel anymore, get the slight nod for now.

He makes a good point. I thought that, despite the 4th-quarter brain freeze that prevented them from finishing off Baylor last week, TCU’s defense has made the requisite plays to keep winning despite the offensive attacks they have faced thus far in 2014.

And there’s no denying how good third-year starter Trevone Boykin has looked under a newly-installed spread offense – the converted former WR from Dallas is on pace for career-highs in passing yards (3,746), completions (292) and touchdown passes (28). If Bryce Petty and the Baylor offense somehow struggle like they did against WVU, Boykin could make a strong case for Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year. Furthermore, backed up by an impressive running game led by Catalon (370 rushing yards, 8 TDs), the Horned Frogs have a surprisingly effective offense against the rest of the Big 12.

The road to the Big 12 title, despite the conference’s recent struggles, will still not be easy for the Horned Frogs. After a home date against Texas Tech, they will face 22nd-ranked West Virginia in Morgantown, and 11th-ranked Kansas State in Fort Worth – a matchup that may, once again, decide supremacy within the conference.

For now, however, the Horned Frogs – considered cellar-dwellers just a season ago – have something to celebrate.

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