Nov. 28, 2009
Saturday: TCU 51, Lobos 10
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The TCU Horned Frogs found a perfect 12-0 season, a Mountain West title, and a BCS Bowl berth Saturday afternoon in Fort Worth with a 51-10 win over the New Mexico Lobos. UNM ends the season 1-11.
The good news for UNM is that the Lobos will share in some of the big BCS bucks that will come to the MWC thanks to the Frogs powering into a BCS Bowl.
The Lobos did not go down easy in their 11th loss of the season and even had TCU coach Gary Patterson huffing and puffing in anger during a halftime Mtn. Network interview.
The Frogs jumped to a 30-0 lead with an early second-quarter explosion, but the Lobos scored the final 10 points of the half to go into the locker room down 30-10. Patterson, a former Lobo assistant to Dennis Franchione, told The Mtn. Network at the half that he "wasn't happy," and that his team did not play like champions.
The Frogs went into the game looking for a dominating performance, hoping to rise in the BCS rankings, and not be passed by No. 5 Cincinnati, which ends its season against No. 9 Pittsburgh. The Lobos never threaten to win this game, but it wasn't a walk for the Frogs on the field -- well, at least for three quarters.
The Lobos' defense gave up only one TD in the first quarter and no points in the third quarter and UNM entered the final frame down 30-10 to the No. 4-ranked Frogs. TCU did in the fourth quarter what they did in the second quarter. The Frogs scored quickly to separate themselves from UNM on the scoreboard.
TCU's junior quarterback Andy Dalton hit Bart Johnson in the flats and the Frog cut back on the attacking UNM defense to score from 24 yards out. The score came seven seconds into the fourth quarter and TCU was up 37-10.
The Frogs' offense had enough big plays, and enough consistency, to separate itself on the scoreboard from UNM. But the TCU defense had the better outing of the two Frog units, scoring twice and holding UNM to 10 yards on the ground.
"We've been working for 12 years to get to this point," said Patterson of TCU's perfect season and MWC title. "We did what we had to do today. We still feel we can play with anybody. We feel like we have a special team."
The Frogs showed some special stuff on defense to create the impressive gap TCU needed on the scoreboad. Daryl Washington fattened the gap between Frogs and Lobos at the 13:35 mark of the fourth quarter when Porterie got hit in the pocket and threw high into the flat. Washington picked off the ball on the sprint and raced 20 yards into the endzone. TCU was up 44-10.
The TCU defense struck again a few minutes late. Rafael Priest cut in front of an underthrown pass by Porterie and the Frog sprinted 47 yards into the unguarded endzone with 11:15 to play. The big win TCU needed on the scoreboard was now there: 51-10. TCU scored 21 points in under four minutes, two TDs coming from the TCU defense. The Frogs stayed on the ground to finish off the Lobos and the clock.
The Lobos had 172 total yards to 430 for TCU, which was coming off four consecutive games of 500-plus yards. The Frogs had 202 yards on the ground to 10 rushing yards for the Lobos.
Porterie went 20-of-43 with four interceptions and three sacks. UNM's top rusher was Kasey Carrier with 11 yards.
The Lobos got 16 first downs off TCU and fared well in the time-of-possession category: 28:14 for UNM and 31:46 for TCU. UNM averaged 2.3 yards per play to 6.2 yards for the Horned Frogs. UNM was penalized nine times.
The Lobos opened on offense and it was three-and-out against the No. 4 rated defense in the nation. The Frogs then drove into the UNM red zone, but a motion penalty and a sack by Lobo Johnathan Rainey forced TCU to try a field goal. The kick missed to the left.
The Lobos' offense then put points on the board -- for TCU. A high snap slipped through Porterie's hands. The Lobos' QB jumped on the bouncing ball, but it slipped away. Tailback James Wright probably saved a TD by first kicking the ball, soccer style, and then slapping it out of the endzone. It was a good series for TCU. They got points and got the ball back.
The Lobos were hurt by an offsides penalty on the punt that forced UNM to re-kick. TCU got a 43-yard return on the do-over. It ended up not hurting the Lobos as TCU fumbled the ball and UNM recovered. Porterie scrambled for a first down and got another 15 yards on a late hit by TCU. UNM had the ball at the UNM 49-yard line. This time UNM failed to convert on third down and punted.
TCU then went three-and-out. The Lobos started on their 17-yard line with 5:30 to play in the first quarter. The Lobos lost six yards in three plays and punted. TCU then went 46 yards in five plays with Dalton going over from eight yards. The TCU junior went off tackle to his left on a keeper out of the shotgun formation. TCU was up 9-0.
UNM went three-and-out again and punted. TCU took over at its 42-yard line and marched to the UNM 34 as the quarter ended. The first 15 minutes weren't bad for the Lobos on the scoreboard as they gave up only one TD to the high-powered TCU offense. However, UNM ended the quarter with a minus 11 yards in total offense -- minus ten on the ground.
The second quarter was better for UNM offensively, but worse on the scoreboard. TCU quickly scored. Dalton found a wide open Bart Johnson on the right side. The Frog pulled in the ball near the 12-yard line, sprinted to the endzone and leaped across the goal line. TCU was up 16-0 off the 17-yard score.
The Lobos again did their three-and-out thing on offense. TCU started at its 20-yard line against a UNM defense that already had spent too much time on the field. TCU's Dalton then hurt UNM deep. He pump faked short and then hit Antoine Hicks in full stride. Hicks went 62 yards and TCU went up 23-0.
It got worse for UNM quickly. The Lobos fumbled the kickoff and Dalton found Hicks in the endzone on the first offensive play. It was 30-0.
The Lobos worked for a couple of first downs and got another off a pass interference call. That pushed UNM into TCU territory at the 46-yard line. A Porterie to Demond Dennis pass got another first down, this one at the TCU 17. A Porterie pass to Kasey Carrier on the right side gave UNM a first down at the Frogs' six-yard line.
The Lobos got the TD when Dennis went five yards off tackle to dive into the zone. The scoreboard moved to 30-7. The Lobos then created a break on the kickoff, forcing a fumble that Clint McPeek pounced on. UNM had the ball at the TCU 16-yard line. TCU held on 3rd-and-8 and James Aho's toe made it 30-10. The Lobos had scored ten unanswered points.
The Lobos then went for an on-sides kick and recovered. They lost that opportunity by being off sides on the kick. The Lobos then kicked deep and TCU got the ball at their 34-yard line. This time TCU did the three-and-out dance. UNM took over at their 25-yard line with 3:34 to play.
The Lobos churned out three straight first downs, but failed to convert on a 4th-and-four. TCU took over with 1:24 to play at the Frogs' 30-yard line. TCU ran the clock down to 28 seconds and punted. UNM took over at its 37 with 17 seconds to play. TCU got an interception at the gun. TCU went into the break up 30-10, but the Lobos had established they could move the ball -- and score -- on the heralded TCU defense.
The Lobos had 129 total yards to 234 for TCU in the first half. UNM had 20 yards on the ground. One key for UNM in the first half was forcing and recovering two TCU fumbles.