8:00 PM ET, September 1, 2003
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- When No. 25 Texas Christian appeared to be on the brink of stunning collapse, Tye Gunn showed the poise of a quarterback who has never lost a game he has started.
He completed two crucial third-down passes, then scored on a 4-yard bootleg as TCU held off a furious comeback by Tulane for a 38-35 victory Monday night.
"I thought he did what I wanted him to do, which is manage the game," TCU coach Gary Patterson said.
Gunn orchestrated the 11-play, 61-yard drive that lasted 5:33 after Tulane had scored three unanswered fourth-quarter touchdowns -- the last on a 35-yard fumble return -- to pull within 31-28 with 7:39 left.
Gunn said he was determined to take charge on the drive.
"I could tell everybody was getting kind of lackadaisical on the sidelines" after TCU had taken a 31-7 lead in the fourth quarter, Gunn said.
After Gunn put TCU up 38-28, Tulane drove 77 yards for a touchdown with 24 seconds left, but could not recover the onside kick in the season opener for the Conference USA teams.
Gunn began last season as a reserve but started four games and won them all after an injury to Sean Stilley.
Gunn was injured in TCU's final regular-season game, but returned in good form Monday, completing 17 of 27 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown -- that after several on-target passes were dropped by his receivers.
Madison finished with 206 total yards, 115 on the ground and Hobbs ran for 62 yards.
Tulane didn't score an offensive touchdown until the fourth quarter against TCU, which had the top-ranked defense in the country last season.
Tulane's J.P. Losman was 25-of-42 for 303 yards, but he threw two interceptions, including one that set up TCU's final scoring drive. It came one play after Tulane had recovered a fumble near midfield with more than six minutes to go.
Mewelde Moore, who has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in three straight seasons for Tulane, was held to 42 yards rushing and one touchdown.
"It took us a while to get adjusted to their defense because it's designed to stop the run, but we kept fighting," Moore said.
Roydell Williams caught five passes for 110 yards and a TD for the Green Wave.
A 41-yard field goal by Nick Browne gave TCU a 10-0 lead shortly before halftime. Tulane cut the lead to 10-7 on the ensuing kickoff, when returner Fred Smith sprinted out from his goal line, squeezed through a wedge of blockers and outran the kicker for a 100-yard touchdown.
Trawick Boger's interception on a tipped pass gave Tulane the ball back near midfield with 28 seconds left. Losman then completed a sideline pass into field goal range with 4 seconds left in the half, but Barrett Pepper, a freshman attempting his first college field goal, missed wide right from 47 yards.
Hobbs scored from 2 yards to give the Horned Frogs a 24-7 lead and he made it 31-7 on a 4-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
The crowd in the Louisiana Superdome was 28,966, relatively good for Tulane, which considered eliminating football or changing from Division I-A to Division III last spring. The athletic department and boosters saved the 110-year-old program by doubling season ticket sales to about 15,000 and raising more than $4 million.