CFB: BCS-hopeful TCU now 10-0 after beating Utah 55-28
FORT WORTH, Texas — Now that the hometown fans are finally taking notice of No. 4 TCU, maybe the rest of the nation will also realize that the BCS-hopeful Horned Frogs are for real.
Utah certainly can't disagree.
In likely its last significant hurdle to an undefeated regular season, TCU scored three touchdowns in a 2½-minute span early in the second quarter and beat No. 16 Utah 55-28 Saturday night.
The Horned Frogs (10-0, 6-0 Mountain West) stretched their winning streak to 12 games since a last-minute loss last November at Utah (8-2, 5-1), which had won 22 of 23. TCU also has won 13 in a row at home since losing when the Utes last visited two years ago.
With a record crowd of 50,307 — a sellout at 79-year-old Amon Carter Stadium without the benefit of an instate opponent — and representatives from the Orange, Rose and Fiesta bowls watching from the athletic director's suite, the Frogs put on quite a show. Fans stormed the field when it was over.
Matthew Tucker had the first and last touchdowns (runs of 41 and 9 yards) for TCU, with five teammates getting into the end zone in between. The 55 points were the most allowed by Utah since 1996.
Even without guaranteed access to the Bowl Championship Series, the Frogs have changed the question about if they can be a BCS buster. Now it's can they be the first outsider to play for the national title?
The Frogs are fourth in the BCS standings, the highest a team from a conference without an automatic bid has reached. They trail only Florida, Alabama and Texas — all winners Saturday.
Ed Wesley ran for 137 yards and a touchdown and Andy Dalton threw for 207 yards and a score. TCU had 549 yards overall, its third straight game with at least 500.
Utah's Eddie Wide, who had posted six straight 100-yard games, was held to 25 yards on 14 carries.
Jeremy Kerley scored on a 1-yard run with 14:11 left in the first half after a blocked punt. He then had a 39-yard punt return to the Utah 29, setting up Dalton's 28-yard pass to Jimmy Young and Antoine Hicks' 1-yard TD run. Tank Carder then returned an interception 15 yards to make it 35-7 with 11:40 left.
The Frogs, 10-0 for only the second time since its 1938 undefeated national championship team led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Davey O'Brien, play next week at wobbly Wyoming. They close the regular season Nov. 28 at home against New Mexico (0-10).
Utah was the original BCS buster in 2004 and last year capped the only undefeated season by an FBS team with a Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama while being the first outsider to play in two of the big-money bowl games.
The Utes, who had won six in a row since a 31-24 loss at Oregon in mid-September, entered freshman quarterback Jordan Wynn's second start as a nearly three-touchdown underdog. Utah was 5-1 in the series, the only loss in overtime at TCU in 2005, and won 13-10 last year in Salt Lake City by driving 80 yards to score the game-winning touchdown in the final minute.
There would be no chance of a comeback this time, especially considering that before its quick three-TD spurt TCU missed a chance to be up 14-0 before Utah's first offensive snap.
The Frogs' opening drive ended when Tucker took a handoff, juked a defender and sprinted toward the right sideline and untouched for a 41-yard touchdown.
On the ensuing kickoff, Utah's David Reed had to jumper over a teammate that had slipped down and then took a bone-jarring hit from Tyler Luttrell that knocked the ball loose. TCU recovered at the Utah 16, but didn't make a first down and Ross Evans missed a 26-yard field goal attempt.
Utah tied the game 7-all when receiver Shaky Smithson took a direct snap and scored on a 10-yard run. That came a play after Wynn converted third-and-8 with a 31-yard pass, avoiding a secondary blitz, rolling to his left, motioning to receiver DeVonte Christopher and then floating the ball into his arms.
Ryan Christian, a converted senior running back who had his first two receiving touchdowns last week, made it three when he turned a quick pass into a 16-yard touchdown after shaking past a defender at the line of scrimmage. That made it 14-7 with three minutes left in the first quarter, and Utah's next possession ended with the blocked punt.