FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — TCU coach Gary Patterson was walking away from the podium at the end of his weekly news conference when he suddenly offered an intriguing possibility for the 15th-ranked Horned Frogs' backup quarterback.
"What you'll probably see is Trevone Boykin at tailback," Patterson said in a surprising unsolicited statement.
Boykin will indeed be in the backfield Saturday when TCU (4-0, 1-0 Big 12), which has won 12 games in a row, plays its first Big 12 home game against Iowa State (3-1, 0-1). But the redshirt freshman will instead be starting in place of suspended quarterback Casey Pachall.
Pachall was arrested on suspicion of driving while intoxicated after running a stop sign near the TCU campus early Thursday, about 36 hours after Patterson revealed the idea of using the speedy Boykin as a tailback. Leading rusher Waymon James has already sustained a season-ending left knee injury and current starter Matthew Tucker is dealing with an ankle injury.
Pachall, one of the nation's most efficient passers with 10 touchdowns and one interception, was indefinitely suspended by Patterson and won't play Saturday. The second-year starting quarterback is expected to be in uniform on the sideline after his latest trouble, and Patterson indicated he would have more of a plan Sunday after the game about what to do next.
It was only eight months ago that Pachall admitted to police that he smoked marijuana and failed a team-administered drug test just two weeks before his then-roommate and teammate was arrested in a drug sting operation.
Boykin has appeared in three games, completing 9 of 10 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown and running 12 times for 122 yards and a score. His most extensive action was playing the entire second half of the season opener against Grambling, when he completed all eight of his passes and ran five times.
Iowa State's defense anchored by senior linebackers Jake Knott and A.J. Klein could present quite a challenge for Boykin's first start. The Cyclones are among the Big 12's top defenses, allowing only 309 total yards and 14 points a game.
TCU survived a rain-drenched night at SMU last weekend to avenge its last loss. The Frogs won their Big 12 debut at Kansas three weeks ago, but now get to play a Big 12 game at home to start a stretch of eight consecutive conference games.
"If you told me all the things that happened, everything that's gone on ... we'd still be 4-0, I'd take it," Patterson said.
And that comment came before Pachall's suspension.
"Now we've got to find a way to get 5-0," Patterson said. "We have to go play our best football games from now on."
The Cyclones could also have a change at quarterback, but simply because of performance on the field.
Steele Jantz held onto the starting job during the fall. While the senior has completed two-thirds of his passes (85 of 127), he thrown seven touchdowns and seven interceptions. He was 10-of-20 passing for 73 yards with three interceptions in a 24-13 loss to Texas Tech after leading Iowa State to its another 3-0 start.
Sophomore Jared Barnett is the other option.
"We'll see who practices the best and gives us most confidence by the time Saturday comes around," said Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads, who said it would take whole week before making that decision.
Whoever is under center for Iowa State has to go against a defense better than its own. The Horned Frogs, whose defensive calls are made by Patterson, have allowed only 256 total yards and 7.2 points a game — only top-ranked and defending national champion Alabama has allowed fewer points.
"You've got guys in the system that thoroughly know and understand the defense. You've got a coaching staff that has answers because they've been doing it together so long," Patterson said. "It's one of the key things, especially for a playcaller, to have answers. If they do this, I do that. And they have that within the system."