Kansas State coach Bill Snyder took a moment before the game to tell Trevone Boykin how much he respected him as a player.
Snyder's feelings about TCU's quarterback only got reinforced by Boykin's playoff-impacting performance against the No. 9 Wildcats.
Boykin did an acrobatic flip on the second of his three touchdown runs and threw for 219 yards and another score to lead the No. 6 Horned Frogs to a 41-20 victory Saturday night.
"Maybe I shouldn't have said anything to him, but I have a great deal of respect for him," Snyder said. "I've always thought he's been a great player. You guys talk like he's all of a sudden come to the forefront."
A week after apologizing to teammates for what he considered a subpar performance in a one-point win at West Virginia, the dual-threat junior set a career high with 123 yards rushing on 17 carries and completed 23 of 34 passes. Boykin had a 2-yard TD run and a 10-yard scoring pass to David Porter in the first quarter that put TCU up 14-0 against coach Gary Patterson's alma mater.
The end of Kansas State's five-game winning streak created a three-way tie atop the Big 12 standings with TCU (8-1, 5-1 Big 12), the Wildcats (7-2, 5-1) and No. 10 Baylor (8-1, 5-1) with three games left in the regular season.
In the College Football Playoff rankings, TCU is sixth, a spot ahead of Kansas State with Baylor 12th. The new rankings come out Tuesday, and the final poll in four weeks will take into account conference championships
"If they can't see what we have in front of us, I can't help them," Patterson said when asked about his team's position. "Bottom line is, there it is. It's laid out. Here's what you've got to do. They're smart kids. They're mature. They understand what we've got to do."
Aaron Green, filling in for an injured B.J. Catalon, ran 18 times for 171 yards for Frogs in their first-ever home game matching top-10 teams. Green had a 65-yard TD run in the third quarter.
TCU had two 100-yard rushers for the second time in three games, with this performance coming against the Big 12's best rushing defense at an average of 101 yards per game. K-State also led the league by allowing averages of 321 yards and 18.6 points, but the Frogs rolled up 553 total yards and the most points allowed by the Wildcats this season.
"They mixed it up," linebacker Will Davis said. "They attacked us in ways that we hadn't been attacked before."
The Wildcats, whose only previous loss had been at home to Auburn, has an open date next week before going to West Virginia, playing its home finale against Kansas and then taking on Baylor.
Tyler Lockett had 11 catches for 196 yards with a 70-yard TD, giving him 3,073 career yards receiving and surpassing his father's K-State record of 3,032 set from 1993-96. The younger Lockett also has 203 receptions with 24 TDs, closing in on the school record of 218 catches and 26 TDs by his father Kevin.
Tyler Lockett had a 91-yard kickoff return late in the first half wiped out by a holding call.
On TCU's opening drive of the second half, Boykin took off on a first-down run from the K-State 19 and was in a sprint when he got inside the 5 and did a somersault, hurling himself into the air. Though he was unable to keep his balance when his heels hit the ground first, he quickly bounced up after landing in the end zone to give TCU a 24-7 lead.
"I can do, like, back flips all day. Well, I can't do a forward flip, but I did today," he said. "I can't necessarily do that on an everyday basis."
Kansas State responded to the acrobatic play with Jake Waters' 15-yard TD pass to Curry Sexton. But three plays after Sexton's catch, Green took a handoff to the right and was along the sideline before cutting back all the way across the field and past several defenders, then picking up a line of blockers before finishing off his long score.
"We played a pretty poor game, but you can't take away from them what they did to us," Sexton said. "They're a good team."