FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- Brandon Hassell had never thrown a pass
in a game before replacing injured starting quarterback Tye Gunn. Now he has won three straight starts to keep TCU (No. 21 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 Associated Press) undefeated.
Hassell threw two touchdown passes, including a 40-yard strike
to Bruce Galbert to start the second half, and the Horned Frogs
beat Army 27-0 on Saturday night. Hassell had 151 of his 162
passing yards after halftime.
"The first game, I was a little nervous. But knowing Tye was
going to be available helped out a lot," Hassell said. "We're
getting to the meat of the conference schedule and we'll do what we
need to do to win."
Coach Gary Patterson has two undefeated quarterbacks to chose
from for the Frogs (5-0, 2-0 C-USA), who played the first of seven
straight Conference USA games.
Patterson said he doesn't know who will start Friday night at
South Florida (3-1, 2-0). The coach has indicated in the past that
he doesn't want to rotate quarterbacks.
Gunn played for the first time since separating his right
(throwing) shoulder in practice Sept. 9. The sophomore, 6-0 as the
starter, was 6-for-10 for 103 yards in four first-half series,
leading the Frogs to two field goals and a 6-0 halftime lead.
"It felt good to knock some of the rust off," Gunn said. "I
feel like I could play next week. Brandon's a good quarterback. He
can take a hit in the pocket and gives us a boost offensively."
Freshman Robert Merrill had his third straight 100-yard rushing
game for the Frogs since replacing injured tailback Lonta Hobbs. Tyrone Sanders returned a questionable fumble 35 yards for a
Army (0-5, 0-3) was limited to 204 yards and has been shut out
in consecutive games for the first time since 1979. The Black
Knights, who lost 28-0 to South Florida last week, haven't beaten a
ranked team since 1972.
"We're very dysfunctional on offense," Army coach Todd Berry
said. "We have to be more consistent. Most of our problems are
caused by our young players not making plays. We are going to have
to simplify our game plan."
Hassell was 13-for-21 passing in what might have been his last
start. The fourth-year junior is 40-of-75 for 635 yards with four
touchdowns and just one interception in his three games.
Gunn, as scheduled, came in on the third drive. His first two
drives ended with field goals by Nick Browne, from 26 and 30 yards,
and he played two more drives after that.
Hassell was back in to start the second half, and threw a
24-yard pass to Cory Rodgers, who made a one-handed grab and got
control of the ball just before being leveled by Taylor Justice. On
the next play, Hassell hit Galbert, who shed a defender to make
the catch and tumble into the end zone.
Rodgers caught a 15-yard TD pass with 4:12 left, ending a
nine-play, 85-yard drive that took more than four minutes off the
Sanders' fumble return late in the third quarter gave TCU a 20-0
lead. Army tight end Doug Horaist ran after making a catch, and his
backside appeared to be on the ground when the ball popped up into
The Black Knights gained 67 yards on just three plays in the
first half. They had just 16 yards on their other 29 plays before
halftime, plus had a 53-yard pass wiped out by a chop block
Dahman threw a 26-yard pass to Jacob Murphy to convert
third-and-11 on the first play of the second quarter, then after a
15-yard personal foul penalty was tacked on, the two combined for
17 more to the TCU 21. But the Black Knights lost 10 yards on the
next three plays, and Dahman's fourth-down pass was broken up in
the end zone by Mark Walker.
Carlton Jones ran 24 yards on the first play after a fumble by
Merrill. But Bo Schobel then had his third quarterback sack of the
second quarter, and Walker intercepted Dahman's next pass.
Merrill was stripped by Ryan Kent at the end of a bruising
26-yard gain. The ball rolled 10 yards into the end zone and was
covered by Mike Clark.
Merrill got a yard on his only fourth-quarter carry and finished
with 100 yards on 15 carries. Hobbs, who injured his right ankle in
the first quarter against Vanderbilt on Sept. 20, was in uniform
for the second game without playing.
TCU won its 10th straight home game with its first shutout since
a 37-0 win over Rice on Oct. 28, 2000.