On the journey to a player winning the Heisman Trophy, there’s always that one defining game that puts him over the top, gets him in the conversation or separates him from the rest of the pack.
You can pick any era in the history of college football. You can talk about Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary pass that enabled Boston College beat Miami back in 1984 or you can talk about Melvin Gordon having a monster game where he gained 408 yards the ground on. He didn’t win the Heisman Trophy, but he was in the conversation and eventually finished second behind Marcus Mariota.
Out of all the Heisman candidates this season, TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin had one of those games last week that may have provided some separation from a pack of Heisman contenders that includes LSU’s Leonard Fournette.
In a stirring comeback in a hostile road environment at Kansas State (3-2,0-2) Boykin led the Horned-Frogs from an 18-point deficit halftime to a 52-45 comeback win over the Wildcats.
A road win in college football is no easy feat and Bill Snyder Family Stadium in Manhattan, Kan. is a tough environment for a road team. But Boykin’s poise in the fourth quarter led TCU (6-0, 3-0) to a victory in a game it was perilously close to losing.
Boykin accounted for TCU’s final 21 points utilizing his legs in a pair of touchdown runs and his arm with a game-winning 55-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Josh Doctson with 1:10 remaining in the game.
If numbers are the thing you use to measure a Heisman Trophy candidate, Boykin definitely had some pretty good stats. He completed 20-of-30 passes for 301 yards with two touchdowns and pair of interceptions. On the ground, Boykin gained 124 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns. He averaged 11 yards per carry.
Adding both his rushing and passing numbers, Boykin rolled up 425 yards. That’s more than Kansas State’s team total of 353 for the game. Boykin accounted for 78 percent of TCU’s 543 yards of offense.
The other way to look at what Boykin did last Saturday is to take a look at what he did when his team needed him the most. TCU was down 42-31 early in the fourth quarter. That’s when Boykin took over the game in the way Michael Jordan would do in a basketball game.
He put the team on his back and carried them home.
On the Horned-Frogs possession after a Kansas State touchdown stretched the lead to 11, Boykin completed an 11-play, 70-yard drive with a 14-yard touchdown run. The next time TCU got the ball, Boykin faked to the halfback who was going left on the read-option and then scampered around right end for a 69- yard touchdown run.
By the way, Boykin also hit Doctson for the two-point conversion to put the Horned Frogs up three points for their first lead of the game since scoring on their opening possession.
After a Kansas State field goal tied the game at 45-45, it took Boykin two plays to deliver the game-winning touchdown pass to Doctson. If Boykin does indeed win the Heisman Trophy this season, we are going to look at back at this game as a defining moment in his journey. Boykin willed his team to victory.
In what is supposedly the year of the running back, Boykin is the one quarterback in the country making noise for what he can do with his arm and his legs. He has passed for 2,105 yards with 21 touchdown passes and five interceptions. Boykin has 366 rushing yards (5.7 average) and four touchdowns. He also has a pair of catches and a receiving touchdown.
Don’t get it twisted, there’s still plenty football of left and plenty of solid performances still to come from guys like Fournette, but for right now Boykin is your front-runner for the 2015 Heisman Trophy until further notice.