Despite Iowa State’s losing record and TCU’s 55-3 blowout win over the Cyclones a season a go, Gary Patterson said earlier in the week, “This will be a tough ballgame.” And he was exactly right.
All of TCU’s road games have been close so far this season. The Frogs were able to escape Minnesota in a hard fought 23-17 win over the Golden Gophers. Then three weeks later, Aaron Green had to preserve his team’s perfect record by making the play that will be known as TCU’s version of “The Immaculate Reception” against Texas Tech in Lubbock. Fast forward two more weeks and TCU found itself down 35-17 at Kansas State, but Trevone Boykin’s Heisman worthy performance in the final quarter kept the Frogs out of the loss column.
On Saturday, TCU fans thought they were in for another gut-wrenching battle against another Big 12 opponent on the road when the Cyclones took a 21-14 lead in the first quarter.
But Iowa State’s first 21 points score would be their last as the Frogs were able to keep the Cyclones off the scoreboard for the rest of the night and come away with a 45-21 victory.
Even though TCU eventually left Jack Trice Stadium with a comfortable 24 point win, the first half was what Patterson had predicted earlier in the week, another slow start by his defense.
In the first quarter, it seemed as though TCU’s defense couldn’t do anything right. The Frogs’ defensive front couldn’t get any type of consistent pressure on Cyclones’ starting quarterback Sam Richardson, who threw for more than 200 yards in the first quarter and the Frogs’ young secondary didn’t help. Sophomore cornerback Nick Orr couldn’t position himself on ISU wide receiver Lazard Allen, who then broke out off Orr’s arms and took off to the end zone of the 74 yard score.
It looked like things were going to get worse for TCU’s defense in the second quarter when safety Denzel Johnson was ejected for a targeting call when he made helmet-to-helmet contact with an ISU receiver, who dropped a pass near the line of scrimmage.
But Johnson and Orr weren’t the only TCU defensive backs who had poor showings early on; Corry O’Meally also had a tough time matching up against the Cyclones’ big receiving corps. The senior cornerback was flagged three times on Saturday. One penalty was a defensive holding call in the second quarter that gave the Cyclones an automatic first down after they were faced with a 3rd and 24. The other two came in the second half, both came 2nd and long situations.
However, TCU was able to overcome the costly penalties and poor defensive play in with its stellar play on offense, particularly by quarterback Trevone Boykin.
After Iowa State opened the game with an eight play, 75 yard touchdown drive, it took the Frogs’ air raid attack just three plays from scrimmage to tie the game at 7-7 as Boykin was able to find his favorite target, Josh Doctson for a 20 yard touchdown pass. But Doctson would later leave the game for the rest of the first half after taking a big hit near the sideline.
Then on the Frogs’ next drive, Boykin found his other favorite receiver, Kolby Listenbee, who hadn’t seen much action since he left the SMU game with an injury. The senior wide receiver was able to haul in a 21 yard pass in between a couple Cyclone defenders to put the Frogs up 14-7. Listenbee would finish the game with 101 receiving yards on six catches.
But after the Frogs took the lead, Orr gave up that 74-yard touchdown to Allen, which tied the game back up at 14-14. With the momentum heading over to the Iowa State sideline, things got worse for the Frogs on their next drive when star freshman wide receiver fumbled at the ISU nine yard line. Turpin sustained an upper body injury and did not play the rest of the game.
Iowa State would then march down the field and take the lead with four yard touchdown run by Mike Warren, but the Frogs were able to answer with a drive of their own. Boykin led his offensive unit 69 yards down the field and was able to find tight end Charlie Reid wide open in the end zone to tie the game at 21-21.
The Frogs were later able to keep the ball out the hands of the Cyclones’s offense for the final 5 minutes of the first half, and would take a 24-21 into halftime with a 23 yard field goal from Jaden Oberkrom.
The Frogs’ offense would continue to keep the ball away from ISU in the third quarter. TCU’s opening drive went 86 yards and took 3:31 off the clock. Sophomore running back Kyle Hicks capped off the Frogs’ possession with a brilliant 13 yard touchdown run to extend the lead to 31-21.
Later in the third quarter, TCU was able to eat up some more time with another 80+ yard drive, but this time Boykin was able to run into the end zone and put the Frogs up 38-21.
And then Frogs were able to close out the game with a 74 yard drive, and Doctson, who left the game earlier, was able to out-run the ISU secondary for a 42 yard score to bring the game to its final tally: TCU 45, Iowa State 21.
Doctson would finish with 190 receiving yards on 10 catches and two touchdowns. The senior wide receiver’s 12th touchdown reception of the season breaks his own school record of 11 that he set last season. Boykin also finished with a strong stat line as well with 436 passing yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.