FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- TCU quarterback Andy Dalton and his offensive mates didn't have one of their better days.
With this defense, though, it was plenty good.
TCU's swarming defense forced two turnovers and bailed out the fifth-ranked Frogs in a 27-0 win over Colorado State on Saturday.
The Frogs (5-0, 1-0 Mountain West) were making their first trip out of the state of Texas this season and struggled early, leading just 6-0 at halftime.
No matter, the defense had Dalton's back until the offense awoke from the doldrums.
Ed Wesley scored two touchdowns in the third quarter as TCU pulled away from the Rams (1-4, 0-1), who came in as heavy underdogs.
"That's TCU defense," Wesley said. "It's always been like that and will continue to be like that."
This wasn't exactly the type of commanding performance the Frogs had in mind, especially after voters dropped them a spot in the AP poll after last week's 17-point win over SMU.
These days, the Frogs can't afford to just win; they need to win in convincing fashion to show they're worthy of the national championship debate.
Impressing voters is hardly on their radar, though.
"The end result is all that matters," Dalton said.
The Frogs rotated in a steady stream of fresh tailbacks all game long as they gained a season-high 346 yards on the ground. Matthew Tucker led the way with 87 yards, while Wesley added 78.
For his effort, Wesley sported a bloody lip after the game, courtesy of a collision with CSU linebacker Ricky Brewer in the second half.
Wesley wore the wound with pride.
"He is showing a lot more toughness," said TCU coach Gary Patterson, who saw his team notch the first road shutout in his 10 seasons in charge.
Dalton had a mediocre afternoon by his standards, doing as much damage with his feet as his right arm. Dalton finished with 67 yards rushing and threw for another 109, including a 39-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Young early in the fourth quarter.
The senior quarterback attached his name to yet another TCU record, setting the all-time mark for passes attempted on a day when he finished a pedestrian 11 for 24. Dalton already had the school records in yards, completions and touchdowns passing.
Still, the mark he's particularly fond of is this -- 34 wins.
"That's the main one I'm focused on," Dalton said. "I'm not worried about all the records, just trying to win as many ballgames as I can."
TCU limited the Rams to just 161 total yards. The Frogs also held the Rams to eight first downs as they won their 18th straight regular-season game.
"Every game we go in trying to pitch a shutout so that it's easier for the offense to win," said Tanner Brock, who had a career-high 10 tackles.
The Rams were hampered early when tailback Raymond Carter left the game with a knee injury. Last weekend, Carter had more than 100 yards rushing and receiving in a win over Idaho.
TCU also kept CSU freshman Pete Thomas bottled up as he finished 17 for 29 for 116 yards.
"We were just inept offensively with three-and-outs," Rams coach Steve Fairchild said. "They are a very good football team and they deserved to win that game."
The Frogs weren't clicking early, as they had a bunch of dropped passes, along with a few overthrown attempts by Dalton. The offense produced only a pair of field goals by Ross Evans in the first half. The six points represented a season low in a half for the Frogs' offense.
The defense picked up the slack. Colorado State had more punts (6) in the opening half than first downs (2).
Then again, the Frogs have long been known for a stingy defense, leading the nation in total defense the last two seasons. They came in ranked 12th in yards per game, allowing an average of 257.2.
On their first drive after the half, Dalton marched the Frogs down the field for their first touchdown.
That would be more than enough for the TCU defense on this day.
"Last week, they were putting up points and we were giving up points," Brock said. "This week, we ended up stopping them a couple of times so the [offense] can get rolling. It kind of works like that -- give a little bit, take a little bit.
Ohio State remained No. 1 in the AP Top 25 and tied a poll record Sunday despite lagging support from voters. Meanwhile, No. 2 TCU and No. 3 Baylor edged forward and No. 4 Michigan State slipped.
Will Grier threw four touchdown passes to four receivers -- all in the first half -- and No. 25 Florida downed third-ranked Mississippi 38-10 on Saturday night.
Leonard Fournette highlighted his SEC-record third straight 200-yard game with a 75-yard touchdown run, and No. 9 LSU overcame Eastern Michigan 44-22 on Saturday night.
An officiating error led to an Oklahoma State touchdown Saturday in the Cowboys' 36-34 win over Kansas State.
Texas A&M receiver Ricky Seals-Jones, who was ejected for targeting midway in the second quarter of Saturday's game, took to Twitter late in the game, retweeting a tweet that questioned the call.
As if things weren't going bad enough at Texas, the Longhorns appear to have players on Twitter during lopsided losses and jabs at their coach accidentally being sent from other nearby teams.