FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – Trevone Boykin left early with an apparent right ankle injury but TCU’s offense did just enough without its Heisman Trophy candidate to hold off winless Kansas 23-17 Saturday.
On his second play of the game, Boykin turned awkwardly on his right ankle as he slipped while trying to cut and was tackled by Kansas linebacker Joe Dineen Jr. The nation’s total offense leader didn’t return after getting sacked on TCU’s last offensive play of the first quarter.
The Horned Frogs (9-1, 6-1 Big 12, No. 15 CFP) played mostly without Boykin and one of the country’s top receivers in Josh Doctson, who was limited by a left arm and wrist injury from last week’s loss that likely eliminated TCU from the national title race.
The Jayhawks (0-10, 0-7) didn’t trail at halftime for the first time this year, but couldn’t avoid their 35th straight road loss and 12th overall.
Boykin returned to the sideline in the second quarter, but was clearly limping. He tried to run off the field with his teammates at halftime, but slowed and walked gingerly behind the pack of players. A TCU spokesman declined to specify the injury.
Doctson, the national leader with 1,315 yards receiving coming in, only played sporadically after getting hurt in the 49-29 loss to the fifth-ranked Cowboys. He had one catch for 12 yards and wasn’t targeted many more times than that.
The Horned Frogs tried two backups to Boykin in Bram Kohlhausen, a senior transfer from Houston, and redshirt freshman Foster Sawyer, who starred in high school at Fort Worth’s All Saints’ Episcopal.
Shaun Nixon turned Sawyer’s only completion into a 42-yard touchdown, breaking a tackle on the catch-and-run score early in the fourth quarter.
The only other touchdown for the Frogs was KaVontae Turpin’s zigzagging 49-yard punt return. He stopped and changed directions twice for a 7-0 lead.
The Frogs also leaned on the running game. Aaron Green had a career-high 177 yards and boosted several drives that ended in scoring range, including two on downs and one when Kohlhausen was intercepted by Fish Smithson at the Kansas 10.
TCU still managed 487 yards without much from Boykin and Doctson, including 279 on the ground. Nixon had seven catches for 78 yards.
Ryan Willis threw for 203 yards, including a 10-yard score to Tyler Patrick on fourth down to get Kansas within 23-17 with 6:19 remaining.
The Frogs struggled to move the ball soon after Boykin was injured, and again in the fourth while trying to protect their slim lead.
But the defense came through with three straight stops, including an interception by Ty Summers and Terrell Lathan’s clinching fourth-down sack of Willis in the final 2 minutes.
The Jayhawks helped with some dropped passes on their final three possessions. They have lost their first 10 games for the first time since 1954, when they finished 0-10.