FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- TCU just keeps prolonging the BCS
So far, the Horned Frogs (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 10 AP) have the perfect answer for the critics
and doubters who don't believe they deserve a chance to play in one
of the top four bowls.
"Everybody can criticize and do what they want, but the bottom
line to it ... we're 10-0," coach Gary Patterson said emphatically
after TCU's 43-10 win over Cincinnati on Saturday. "That's all we
Kenny Boyd returned a blocked punt for a touchdown, linebacker
Marvin Patterson pounced on a fumble in the end zone and the Horned Frogs (10-0, 7-0 Conference USA) won their 12th straight
TCU and Oklahoma, the No. 1 team in every poll, are the only
undefeated teams in major college football.
The Frogs are sixth in the latest Bowl Championship Series
standings, the highest ranking ever for a team from a non-BCS
conference. If they stay in the top six, they will be guaranteed a
spot in one of the four most lucrative bowl games. Fiesta Bowl
representatives were at the game.
Next up is Thursday night at Southern Mississippi (7-3, 6-0).
That game is for the outright C-USA title and seemingly the last
challenge to keeping the BCS dream alive for the Frogs, who end the
regular season Nov. 29 at winless SMU.
"All we can do now is keep winning games," said Nick Browne,
who tied a school record with five field goals.
"We're one game away from winning a championship," coach
Patterson said. "There's no time to relax, there's no time to
savor this one at all."
Patterson, as intense as he has been all season while talking
after the game, wasn't even going to grade the film. Instead of
congratulating his team for the win, he told the players to get
some rest and be ready for a hard practice Sunday.
TCU is 10-0 for the first time since 1938, when quarterback
Davey O'Brien led the Frogs to their only undefeated season and
lone national championship.
After winning five games by three points and another by a just a
touchdown, the Frogs had their biggest win of the season. And by
beating Cincinnati (5-5, 2-4), they avenged one of their two losses
from last season.
"It feels a lot better than winning by three points and having
to come down to the wire," said quarterback Brandon Hassell, who
had a 22-yard TD run.
TCU clinched at least a share of the C-USA title for the second
year in a row, having shared the title with Cincinnati last season.
The Frogs broke a 69-year-old school record with their 13th
straight home win.
"They deserve any recognition that they get. Their record shows
exactly how good they are," said Cincinnati linebacker Jason
While TCU's offense sputtered much of the game (298 total
yards), defense and special teams did more than enough against the
After starting its opening drive of the second half at the 4
following a punt, Cincinnati lost a yard on the first two plays. Bo
Schobel then sacked Gino Guidugli in the end zone and stripped the
ball. Patterson jumped on it for a 27-10 lead.
The Frogs led 10-0 in the first quarter despite two
interceptions by Hassell, who is 6-0 as a starter in place of
injured Tye Gunn.
Cincinnati went three and out after Franklin Callicott's
interception at the 18. Flander Malone then came straight up the
middle to block Chet Ervin's punt, and Boyd scooped up the ball and
carried it into the end zone for a 10-0 lead.
Tyrone Sanders blocked Ervin's 49-yard field-goal attempt on the
first series of the game. Robert Merrill had a quick 18-yard run,
but Hassell was picked off by Daven Holly on a terribly underthrown
Browne's 23-yard field goal midway through the first quarter
came after TCU drove 73 yards before failing to convert on
first-and-goal from the 8. Browne kicked a 45-yarder in the second
quarter, and added kicks of 22, 35 and 34 yards in the second half.
Browne also kicked five field goals in the 2002 season opener
against Cincinnati, when the Bearcats overcame a 15-point deficit
in the fourth quarter and won in overtime. The Frogs are 20-1
since, the only loss at East Carolina, which was also the last team
to beat TCU at home in 2001.
Merrill ended the scoring with a 19-yard TD with seven minutes
left, two plays after Chris Peoples' interception set the Frogs up
at the Cincinnati 24.
Cincinnati's only TD came on Guidugli's 56-yard pass to Hannibal
Thomas. Chris Manfredini kicked a 24-yard field goal on the last
play of the first half.
Guidugli, Cincinnati's career passing leader, hit 24 of 44
passes for 254 yards. The TD was the 50th of his career.
Hassell was just 9-of-18 for 121 yards, but had 15 carries for
79 yards. His 22-yard TD keeper in the second quarter came right
after he scrambled for 11 yards to convert fourth-and-6.
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