JIM VERTUNO, AP Sports Writer
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Trevone Boykin passed for two touchdowns and ran for another, and No. 6 TCU dominated Texas in a 48-10 victory Thursday night that kept alive its hope of pushing into the College Football Playoff.
The win kept the Horned Frogs (10-1, 7-1) in the hunt for their first Big 12 title. The question is whether it was impressive enough to impact the playoff standings, where they sit at No. 5, one spot out of contention for a national championship.
The Horned Frogs had an impressive defensive effort, forcing six turnovers, five by Texas quarterback Tyrone Swoopes. Defensive end Terrell Lathan scored the game’s first touchdown on a 40-yard fumble return.
TCU made Texas (6-6, 5-4) pay for every mistake. Boykin’s 10-yard scoring run in the fourth came after a muffed punt return. Defensive end Josh Carraway returned an interception for the final touchdown.
TCU plays Iowa State, the last-place team in the Big 12, to end the regular season on Dec. 6. The playoff pairings will be announced the next day.
The move to the Big 12 was supposed to end the national debate over whether the Horned Frogs deserved a place among college football’s elite if they were in position to win the league. And the prospect of winning the Big 12 title and still getting left out of the playoff would be a bitter pill for the Horned Frogs.
Their major problem? A 61-58 loss at Baylor in which they squandered a big fourth-quarter lead.
And the Horned Frogs left plenty of room for doubt when they struggled to beat a struggling Kansas team two weeks ago. They needed to make a statement in Austin against a surging Texas squad that had won three in a row behind a defense that was shaping into the league’s best.
TCU showed off a dominant defensive effort that hounded Swoopes all night. But the eye test also showed that Boykin —one of the most dynamic players in the country — and the Horned Frogs’ offense struggled for long stretches and didn’t pile it on until a 28-point fourth quarter.
A big punt return and a Texas turnover set up the Horned Frogs at the Longhorns 27 and 24 on their first two possessions before settling for field goals each time and a 6-0 lead.
But while Boykin waited to find his rhythm, the TCU defense swarmed around Swoopes in the first quarter and came up with the huge plays to carry the Horned Frogs early.
After Sam Carter’s interception set up Jaden Oberkrom’s second field goal, Swoopes was sacked by Carraway and fumbled. Latham picked up the loose ball and had a straight 40-yard sprint to the end zone for a touchdown that made it 13-0.
Texas seemed to have turned momentum until Boykin connected on two big passes late in the second quarter. The first was a 38-yard throw on third down to Josh Doctson, who used his 6-foot-4 frame to out-jump Texas’ 5-9 Quandre Diggs at the Texas 6.
Three plays later, Boykin zipped a pass to David Porter, who was trailing across the back of the end zone for a 20-3 lead.
Texas, which didn’t score a third-quarter touchdown in 10 games this season, never threatened to make a game of it in the second half.
After Swoopes threw his third interception, Boykin connected with Doctson for another jump-ball pass over Diggs for a touchdown early in the fourth.