JOHN RABY, AP Sports Writer
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) – Most improved is a label that certainly fits quarterbacks Clint Trickett of West Virginia and Trevone Boykin of TCU.
A year ago, Trickett looked lost at times trying to run the Mountaineers’ offense after transferring from Florida State. Boykin was relegated to wide receiver until relieving injured quarterback Casey Pachall.
Both Trickett and Boykin ended up throwing seven touchdowns and seven interceptions as their teams finished 4-8.
They’re the main reasons behind their teams’ remarkable improvements in 2014 and will try to move them closer to first place in the Big 12 when No. 10 TCU (6-1, 3-1) and No. 20 West Virginia (6-2, 4-1) meet Saturday. The Horned Frogs also hope to land in the four-team College Football Playoff. TCU is No. 7 in the CFP rankings, West Virginia is 20th.
Boykin set a school record with seven TD passes in an 82-27 win over Texas Tech last week. He’s thrown for 433 and 410 yards in his last two games.
“He is the most improved player in college football,” said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen.
Both Holgorsen and TCU coach Gary Patterson said their respective quarterbacks are at their best when they aren’t trying too hard.
“Let the offense run itself,” Patterson said.
Boykin has 21 touchdown passes and three interceptions this season. When Boykin was TCU’s quarterback as a freshman two years ago, TCU was averaging about three turnovers per game, Patterson said.
Although Trickett had his streak of 300-yard passing games snapped at eight last week, he’s completing 68 percent of his throws and has West Virginia going after its fifth straight win, including the second against a Top 10 opponent.
“We’ve talked to him a little bit about that this week as far as just playing the game,” Holgorsen said. “Don’t try to be perfect. Don’t try to control the game.”
Saturday’s game could be the warmup to a main event. Each school still has to play first-place Kansas State at home: TCU on Nov. 8 and the Mountaineers on Nov. 20.