LUKE MEREDITH, AP Sports Writer
AMES, Iowa (AP) — With its two top running backs unavailable and time running out, TCU turned to third-stringer Aaron Green to help it rally past Iowa State.
Green set the Horned Frogs up for the game-winning touchdown with two huge carries — and wide receiver-turned-quarterback Trevone Boykin put it away.
Boykin scored on a 1-yard TD run with 38 seconds left and TCU rallied to beat the Cyclones 21-17 on Saturday.
Boykin ran for three touchdowns as a run-first quarterback for the Horned Frogs (4-6, 2-5 Big 12), who remain in contention for possible bowl eligibility with two games left.
“Our guys have handled everything that has gone on very well. They’ve managed it, and that says a lot about our guys as a football team. They dealt with everything that went on and found a way to win,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said.
The Horned Frogs went 58 yards in just 1:56 — a drive keyed by a 22-yard run from Aaron Green on fourth-down-and-1 — and took a four-point lead on their only score of the second half.
Green, who had 19 carries with B.J. Catalon (injury) and Waymon James (suspension) out for TCU, ran for 40 of his 72 yards on the team’s final drive.
“I know I can run with anyone in the country. I just had to go out there and provide for my team,” said
Grant Rohach threw for 148 yards for Iowa State (1-8, 0-6), whose last-ditch effort ended near midfield.
The Cyclones have lost six straight, and coach Paul Rhoads said after the game that incumbent starting quarterback Sam Richardson has been dealing with an injured thumb for six to eight weeks.
Richardson didn’t throw a pass because of his thumb injury, though he did have a 15-yard TD run for Iowa State.
“There is certain things right now we think Sam does better for us. Without divulging all those things, that was the plan,” Rhoads said.
Casey Pachall threw for 245 yards for TCU, and he also nearly threw the game away with an interception midway through the fourth quarter.
But Iowa State gave TCU one last chance at its own 42-yard line with 2:34 to go after a poor punt from Kirby Van Der Kamp.
Green’s 22-yard run put the Horned Frogs at the Iowa State 27. He later got them to the 3-yard line with a 17-yard run, setting up Boykin’s game-winner.
“Coach (Patterson) asked us, ‘Do we hate to lose or do we just love to win,’ and that kind of settled the team the whole game,” Boykin said.
The Cyclones went into halftime trailing for the fourth game in a row.
DeVondrick Nealy brought Iowa State even with one of the team’s biggest plays of the season.
Nealy broke a pair of tackles en route to a 98-yard kickoff return — second-longest in school history — to open the second half.
That return sparked the Cyclones, who took their first lead in a month, 17-14, on Cole Netten’s 35-yard field goal late in the third quarter.
But Iowa State finished with just 283 yards on 82 plays, and Rohach was 18 of 39 passing.
“I’ve had enough time I was past the point of getting rattled. I just didn’t throw good balls. Don’t know if it was my footwork or what. I don’t have an answer for you on that,” Rohach said.
Van Der Kamp gave the Cyclones a spark with a 25-yard completion to Justin Coleman on a fake punt. Iowa State then put in Richardson, and he took his first snap 15 yards to tie the game at 7-7 early in the second quarter.
TCU answered immediately. Boykin’s second carry of the game resulted in his second TD, a 3-yarder that made it 14-7 Horned Frogs with 9:51 left in the first half.
Boykin, who opened the scoring with an 18-yard TD run, also had four receptions as the Horned Frogs bounced back from a brutal overtime loss to West Virginia with their first road win.
“We knew they would need to honor (Boykin) when he was in at quarterback because he is such a great runner. Trevone is a great athlete and we need to get him the ball more,” Patterson said.
TCU still has to beat Kansas State — which throttled Texas Tech on Saturday — and No. 6 Baylor to secure a bowl bid. But the Horned Frogs are still alive after what appeared to be a season-crushing losing skid.
“We know what we have in front of us. We know we have to win out if we want to go to a bowl game,” Green said. “