7:30 PM ET, September 15, 2005
Amon Carter Stadium, FORT WORTH, TX
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- Now this was more like the TCU that beat Oklahoma.
And little like the Utah that won the Fiesta Bowl.
Not a full week after losing to SMU, the Horned Frogs showed signs of the team that toppled the Sooners in their season opener, beating Utah 23-20 in overtime on Thursday night to snap the Utes' 18-game winning streak.
Tye Gunn won the game with a 4-yard scoring pass to Michael DePriest, set up by Robert Merrill's 15-yard run three plays earlier.
Tied at 17 after regulation, TCU won the coin toss and elected to start overtime on defense. Utah went three-and-out and settled for a 34-yard field goal by Dan Beardall before TCU scored on its first possession.
"We came back here to win two of three, and these are the two I wanted to win," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "One's for conference and the other is for national respect."
Freshman Aaron Brown rushed for 163 yards on 17 carries in his debut for TCU (2-1, 1-0 Mountain West), playing its first conference game in the Mountain West.
Utah (2-1, 0-1) lost for the first time since dropping a 47-35 decision to New Mexico on Oct. 25, 2003. The Utes entered the game with the nation's second-longest winning streak behind top-ranked USC, which has won 23 straight.
"Nothing lasts forever," Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said. "One streak was not going to go to infinity, that's obvious."
Utah lacked the offensive punch it showed in its first two games and last season, when the Utes went 12-0 under Urban Meyer and trounced Pittsburgh in the Fiesta Bowl.
TCU contained running back Quinton Ganther to mostly short bursts and smothered short passes. One week after Brian Johnson set a school record for pass efficiency against Utah State, missing on just three of 21 attempts, the sophomore went 15-of-30 for 208 yards.
He also threw his first interception with a reckless pass into double coverage. Marvin White made the pick for TCU, which scored on the ensuing possession on Merrill's 3-yard touchdown run.
"We didn't deserve to win this game tonight," Johnson said.
Johnson had better luck on other throws. Facing third-and-7 from midfield in the first quarter, Johnson threw a perfect pass over the shoulder of Brian Hernandez for a 45-yard gain. On the next play, Ganther scored on a 5-yard run.
Utah later set up its second touchdown after Johnson found Brent Casteel for a 15-yard gain, again on third down. The play put the Utes on the 4-yard line, and Johnson scored on a 1-yard keeper two plays later.
TCU had rallied within a field goal before Brown had his biggest run of the game, a 50-yard sweep down the Utah sideline. He was finally brought down at Utah's 10, and Merrill scored two plays later on a 4-yard run.
Brown was playing in place of Lonta Hobbs, who sat out with a groin injury. Hobbs had spent the first two game splitting time with Merrill, who finished with 16 carries for 58 yards.
Brown ran for 15 and 18 yards on his first two carries. In the fourth quarter, he hurdled one Utah defender and dodged several others for a 27-yard gain. It was the most dazzling play in an otherwise conservative countdown toward overtime for both teams.
"I was nervous," said Brown, who set a school record for rushing yards in a debut. "And you think about Utah, and all the wins they've had, it makes you more nervous. But I did what I had to do."
Beardall added a 39-yard field goal for Utah, which had not had been involved in such a close game since beating BYU 3-0 on Nov. 22, 2003.
TCU's Chris Manfredini kicked a 30-yard field late in the third quarter to tie the game at 17.
Casteel finished with four receptions for 77 yards. Cory Rodgers was the favored target of TCU's limited passing game, finishing with four catches for 52 yards.
Gunn was just 8-of-17 for 88 yards. The senior had thrown 81 passes in his first two games, but his three interceptions against SMU were a big factor in the Horned Frogs' letdown after beating the Sooners on the road.
Ganther had 47 yards on 22 carries for the Utes.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||8-23||4-14|
|4th Down Conversions||2-2||0-0|
|TD||7:05||QUINTON GANTHER 5 YD RUN (DAN BEARDALL KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 70 yards.
|TD||14:57||ROBERT MERRILL 3 YD RUN (CHRIS MANFREDINI KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 62 yards.
|FG||8:23||DAN BEARDALL 39 YD FG|
Drive info: 15 plays, 32 yards.
|TD||10:10||BRIAN JOHNSON 1 YD RUN (DAN BEARDALL KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 48 yards.
|TD||8:10||ROBERT MERRILL 4 YD RUN (CHRIS MANFREDINI KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 71 yards.
|FG||2:05||CHRIS MANFREDINI 30 YD FG|
Drive info: 11 plays, 50 yards.
|FG||0:00||DAN BEARDALL 34 YD FG|
Drive info: 4 plays, 8 yards.
|TD||0:00||MICHAEL DEPRIEST 4 YD PASS FROM TYE GUNN|
Drive info: 5 plays, 25 yards.