Lubbock, Texas — Aaron Green made it sound so simple. He was just following the ball as he had been told.
He ended up in perfect position, too, catching a tipped pass in the back of the end zone with 23 seconds left to give the No. 3 Horned Frogs a 55-52 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday.
"You never know with the ball, somebody might fumble, or anything like that," the senior running back said. "So I knew there was a chance. Josh Doctson catches almost everything, but there's a chance. I knew he might not have caught it because it was a little high and the guy was behind him. So I just did what I was told and I followed the ball. I saw it the whole way and I caught it."
Josh Doctson was relieved.
"He made the play," the senior receiver said. "He saved us, so we're 4-0."
On fourth-and-goal from the 4 in the Big 12 opener for both teams, Trevone Boykin's pass was high to Doctson, but he got a hand on it and Green grabbed the ball as he fell out of the end zone. A video review confirmed Green had control of the ball and got a foot in bounds.
Boykin threw four touchdown passes and finished with a career-high 509 yards for TCU (4-0, 1-0). He completed 34 of 54 passes and ran for 42 yards on 14 carries.
Doctson caught three touchdown passes and had 267 yards on 18 catches — all career highs.
Green rushed for one touchdown, and the Horned Frogs got a safety in the first quarter after the snap went over Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Mahomes, who was injured in the first quarter, completed 25 of 45 passes for 392 yards. He threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score for the Red Raiders (3-1, 0-1).
TCU went ahead 48-45 on Kyle Hicks' 21-yard run with 8:22 left. Texas Tech answered after two clutch third-down plays when Mahomes found Justin Stockton on a 50-yard scoring pass with 5:55 to go.
The teams traded empty possession before the Horned Frogs started at their 47 and drove downfield for the winning touchdown.
The Red Raiders didn't give up after TCU scored. On the final play of the game — after time expired and a defensive penalty on TCU — Mahomes found DeAndre Washington for a 24-yard gain. He pitched it to a lineman, who pitched it to a receiver who got the ball to Jakeem Grant. He was pushed out of bounds at the TCU 10 to end the game.
"I've gone from one baby aspirin to two," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "I may go extra-strength Tylenol. Jiminy Christmas."
Washington ran for four touchdowns and a career-high 188 yards.
Doctson's 18 catches marked the first time a TCU receiver got at least 10 receptions in a game since Boykin got 10 as a receiver against West Virginia in 2013.
Mahomes hurt his left knee early in the first quarter when he dove toward the end zone as he finished a 15-yard run. He got up limping but stayed in for the next play to hand the ball to Washington who scored on a 1-yard run. Mahomes played the rest of the game with a knee brace but managed to limp around the left side for a 4-yard score late in the second quarter.
"He wasn't his normal self, I think you could see that," Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury said of Mahomes' injury. "But he hung in there, had a gutsy performance."
(At) No. 4 Mississippi 27, Vanderbilt 16: Chad Kelly threw for 321 yards and Jaylen Walton ran for a season-high 133 yards for Mississippi (4-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference).
Ole Miss broke the game open midway through the fourth quarter when Walton ran for a 3-yard touchdown after two long runs earlier in the drive.
Vanderbilt (1-3, 0-2) lost its third straight against the Rebels.
(At) No. 5 Baylor 70, Rice 17: Seth Russell matched a Baylor record with six touchdown passes, three of his five in the first half to Corey Coleman.
Russell threw for 277 yards and Shock Linwood ran for 158 and a score to help the Bears (3-0) extend the nation's longest home winning streak to 18 games.
The Owls (2-2) lost their 25th straight game against a Top 25 opponent, a streak that goes back to 1997.
(At) No. 7 Georgia 48, Southern 6: Nick Chubb ran for 131 yards and two touchdowns and also caught a scoring pass for Georgia (4-0).
Chubb had scoring runs of 9 and 49 yards in the third quarter. The 49-yarder gave him 12 straight games with at least 100 yards rushing. He scored on a 24-yard pass from Greyson Lambert in the first quarter.
Lenard Tillery had a 16-yard scoring run for Southern (2-2).
No. 8 LSU 34, (at) Syracuse 24: Leonard Fournette ran for a career-high 244 yards and two touchdowns, Tre'Davious White returned a punt 69 yards for another score for LSU (3-0).
No play was bigger than Travin Dural's 51-yard catch on a third-and-5 in the fourth quarter after the Orange (1-1)moved within a touchdown. Brandon Harris hit Malachi Dupre with an 11-yard scoring pass with 9:14 left to seal it.
Fournette gained 48 yards to set up his first-quarter score, White found a seam up the middle and raced untouched into the end zone to give LSU a 17-3 lead in the third, and Fournette tacked on a 62-yard scoring run later in the period for a 24-10 lead.
It was the fifth straight 100-yard game for Fournette.
No. 9 UCLA 56, (at) No. 16 Arizona 30: True freshman Josh Rosen was sharp in his first Pac-12 road game, throwing for 284 yards and accounting for three touchdowns.
UCLA (4-0, 1-0) turned this Pac-12 showdown into a laugher by halftime, turning three Arizona (3-1, 0-1) turnovers into touchdowns while building a 28-point lead.
Rosen had two touchdowns on 19-of-28 passing and ran for another score after struggling the previous two games. Paul Perkins ran for 85 yards and three more scores and the Bruins had 497 total yards.
No. 12 Alabama 34, Louisiana-Monroe 0: Jake Coker threw three touchdown passes and Alabama (3-1) limited Louisiana-Monroe to 92 total yards.
The Warhawks (1-2) didn't have a first down in the first 23 minutes and were held to 9 yards rushing.
No. 18 Utah 62, (at) No. 13 Oregon 20: Travis Wilson returned from a shoulder sprain and threw for 227 yards and four touchdowns in the Pac-12 opener for both teams. Wilson completed 18 of 30 passes, hitting nine receivers, and ran for 100 yards and another score for Utah (4-0). The lanky senior sprained his left shoulder two weeks ago against Utah State and sat out the Utes' victory last weekend over Fresno State.
It was Oregon's worst loss at home since it fell 54-0 to Washington in 1977. Utah's 62 points were the most scored against a Pac-12 opponent since it joined the league in 2011, and also the most the Ducks have ever allowed in Eugene.
Vernon Adams Jr. started at quarterback for Oregon (2-2) despite a broken index finger that kept him out of the Ducks' victory last weekend over Georgia State, but he didn't last long and was replaced by backup Jeff Lockie in the second quarter.
No. 14 Texas A&M 21, Arkansas 14 (OT): At Arlington, Texas, Kyle Allen threw for 358 yards, with a 20-yard touchdown to Christian Kirk in overtime.
The Aggies (4-0, 1-0 SEC) had a chance to win the game on the final play of regulation, but Taylor Bertolet's 38-yard field goal attempt was just wide right.
Arkansas is 1-3, 0-1.
No. 19 USC 42, (at) Arizona State 14: Cody Kessler threw for 375 yards and five touchdowns and No. 19 Southern California took advantage of Arizona State's mistakes. USC (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12) scored touchdowns after all four Arizona State turnovers in the first half and led 35-0 at the break.
Arizona State (2-2, 0-1) had the ball first-and-goal at the 1 early in the second quarter when quarterback Mike Bercovici fumbled trying to hand off the ball. Chris Hawkins scooped it up and ran 94 yards for the third of the four second-quarter touchdowns for the Trojans, who lost their conference opener at home to Stanford last week.
Demario Richard ran for 131 yards and two scores for the Sun Devils in their Pac-12 opener.
(At) Duke 34, No. 20 Georgia Tech 20: Shaquille Powell ran for three touchdowns and DeVon Edwards returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score for Duke (3-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference).
Justin Thomas pulled Tech to 26-20 with his 12-yard TD run with 8:02 left, but the Yellow Jackets (2-2, 0-1) failed to score on two chances after that to reclaim the lead.
No. 21 Stanford 42, (at) Oregon State 24: Kevin Hogan, a game-time decision because of an ankle sprain, threw for 163 yards and two touchdowns for Stanford Friday night.
Christian McCaffrey ran for a career-high 206 yards for Stanford (3-1, 2-0 Pac-12), which held just a 21-17 lead at the half over the Beavers (2-2, 0-1) before a pair of third-quarter touchdowns.
No. 24 Oklahoma State 30, (at) Texas 27: Ben Grogan kicked a 40-yard field goal with 6 seconds left to lift Oklahoma State to its fourth straight win on the Longhorns' home field.
Grogan had tied the game with a 41-yarder with 1:33 left. The game appeared headed for overtime a minute later until Texas punter Michael Dickson, a rugby player from Australia, fumbled a deep snap and scrambled to get off a 10-yard punt near his own end zone.
Oklahoma State (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) almost didn't get a chance at Grogan's game-winner when the Cowboys were penalized with 10 seconds left. But because they still had a time out, it did not force the 10-second runoff and Grogan calmly drilled the final kick.
Texas (1-3, 0-1) scored two defensive touchdowns.
(At) Kentucky 21, No. 25 Missouri 13: Patrick Towles threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score to lead Kentucky, ending the Wildcats' 18-game losing streak against ranked teams.
The junior threw TD passes of 24 yards to tight end C.J. Conrad in the third quarter and the 5-yard clincher to Dorian Baker with 6:20 remaining.
Towles was 22 of 27 passing for 249 yards and ran for 21 yards, including a 14-yard TD in the second quarter. His performance helped the Wildcats (3-1, 2-1 SEC) snap a school-record, 11-game road winning streak for the Tigers (3-1, 0-1).