Trevone Boykin is in the thick of the Heisman race, and he's also one of the biggest reasons why No. 3 TCU is in the driver's seat for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Boykin and the vaunted Horned Frogs attack could be poised to put up more eye-popping numbers Saturday night at Iowa State after the Cyclones offered little resistance against another one of the nation's top offenses.
The senior quarterback has TCU (6-0, 3-0 Big 12) in position to extend its winning streak to a school record 15 following last Saturday's come-from-behind 52-45 victory at Kansas State. The Horned Frogs trailed 35-17 at halftime, but turned things around in the second half behind Derrick Kindred's interception returned for a touchdown.
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Boykin had touchdown runs of 69 and 14 yards in the fourth quarter and connected with Josh Doctson on a 55-yard score with 1:10 remaining to put TCU ahead for good.
"If you want to win in this conference, you have to win on the road," Boykin said. "Coming from behind shows the kind of fight we have in this team."
The Horned Frogs' 51.0 points per game and 615.5 offensive average both rank third in the country, and Boykin is accounting for 411.5 of those yards. He owns a 172.0 passer rating and his 25 total TDs trail only Baylor's Seth Russell (26).
"I'd have to say there's not many people playing much better, if there is anybody," coach Gary Patterson said of Boykin's Heisman candidacy, though he also mentioned Doctson as a candidate and acknowledged LSU's Leonard Fournette.
Doctson's 877 receiving yards are second in the FBS and he's also caught 10 TDs.
"You should enjoy Josh Doctson and Trevone Boykin because they have been around here for a while and they love pressure," Patterson said. "They do great things."
TCU doesn't face another ranked opponent until Nov. 7 at No. 16 Oklahoma State. The Horned Frogs visit No. 19 Oklahoma two weeks later before closing Nov. 27 against the second-ranked Bears.
For Iowa State, a somewhat promising start has given way to a troubling reality in Big 12 play.
If that sounds familiar to Cyclones fans, it should.
The Cyclones (2-3, 1-1) beat lowly Kansas to start league play and then allowed Texas Tech to pile up a school-record 776 yards in a 66-31 win last weekend. It was a bad way to get ready for the two top teams in the Big 12, as Iowa State visits Baylor next week.
It will take arguably the biggest win in school history just to earn a split over the next two weeks - and Iowa State would still be below .500 with five games to go.
"We didn't need a wakeup call. But there's a realization of what's ahead," coach Paul Rhoads said. "If we don't adjust to it, we'll see more outcomes like we did last week."
What was most troubling for the Cyclones was how their supposedly improved defense performed against Texas Tech.
Iowa State allowed just seven points against Northern Iowa in the opener and was solid in losses to Iowa and Toledo, both of whom are now ranked. Kansas managed just one offensive touchdown.
The Red Raiders, however, threw for 515 yards and six TDs without an interception. They also ran for 261 yards - on 8.4 yards per carry - and three more scores. They converted all but four of their 15 third downs. And Texas Tech has already lost to TCU and Baylor.
"We've got to play faster," Rhoads said. "We got a little intimidated early in that game Saturday with the speed of it ... I'm talking about the speed of the actual plays, and then early success of theirs created a little fear in our guys."
TCU won its last trip to Ames, 21-17 in 2013, then walloped the Cyclones 55-3 at home last season, racking up 722 yards of offense compared to Iowa State's 236.
The Cyclones have lost 12 in a row against ranked teams since a 37-23 win at then-No. 15 TCU in 2012.