3:30 PM ET, October 21, 2006
Michie Stadium, West Point, NY
WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) -- It didn't take long for Carson Williams to get comfortable.
The freshman quarterback couldn't rally Army to victory against TCU, but he did give coach Bobby Ross something to consider as his team makes a push for a bowl bid.
TCU overcame a fumble on the opening kickoff to play a dominating first half and defeat the the Black Knights 31-17 Saturday.
Austin Miller gave Army a 3-0 lead less than two minutes into the game after John Plumstead recovered Donald Massey's fumble. It was the last time the Black Knights (3-5) led.
After going up 7-3, the Horned Frogs (4-2) turned four second-quarter Army turnovers into 24 points for a 31-3 lead at halftime. TCU outgained Army 274 yards to 31 in the first 30 minutes. Nick Sanders made two interceptions, returning the second one 21 yards for a touchdown.
"That was the group that I saw a year ago when we led the nation in takeaways," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "We were flying around and having fun making plays. It was fun to watch because they were having a good time."
Williams replaced starter David Pevoto, after the junior fumbled a handoff and was 0-for-5 with two interceptions -- one was tipped by a defender, the other bounced off the intended receiver's pads.
With the plebe at quarterback, Army outscored TCU 14-0 in the second half. Williams went 6-for-7 with 34 yards in his second series after intermission. Though Army didn't get closer than TCU's 38 on that drive, Williams looked comfortable. He finished 12 of 18 for 110 yards with one interception.
"We made a switch at halftime for the simple reason we needed to do something," Ross said. "Our team caught a little bit of spark. That has to be a big part of our consideration when we think about making a change, if we make a change at quarterback."
Army needed only two plays on two possessions to score both of its second-half TDs. Corey Anderson ran 50 yards on a reverse for a score. Tony Moore ran 1 yard for another after Victor Ugenyi recovered Marcus Jackson's fumble at the TCU 10.
Army outgained TCU 165-85 in the second half.
While not committing to a quarterback switch for next week, Ross did indicate he would consider it.
"It doesn't matter to the rest of the team," center Pete Bier said. "We're not really focused on that. ... The offensive line has enough problems as it is right now -- we played horrible in the first half. ... Whoever is behind us taking the snap and handing the ball off or throwing it ...it doesn't matter; we've got to do our job."
Williams acknowledged being nervous when he stepped onto the Michie Stadium turf.
"It was one play -- everything goes away after one play," Williams said. "When I got out there, things just fell into place."
"When they made the quarterback change, at first (Williams) seemed a little tentative, but once he settled in he played very well in the second half," Patterson said.
TCU -- which came in after 16 days off, its longest regular-season break since 1930 -- finished with 359 yards to Army's 196.
"Sixteen days or five days off, they're going to come out and play," said Army safety Caleb Campbell, who returned an interception 8 yards and also forced a fumble in the second half. "They're a great team."
Sanders' interceptions came during a spell in which Army lost the ball three consecutive times on its first play from scrimmage. TCU followed each turnover with a touchdown, and then forced a fumble on the kickoff following the third TD, leading to a field goal 14 seconds before halftime.
The first half could have been worse for the Black Knights.
TCU's kicking tandem missed two of three field goal attempts. Peter LoCoco missed from 41 yards and then Chris Manfredini twice hit the left upright, though the second time the ball caromed through for a 24-yard field goal.
Army needs three wins in its last four games to land a bid to the Poinsettia Bowl. It has games against Notre Dame and service academy rivals Navy and Air Force.
Despite the loss, Army is off to its best start since 1997, when it was also 3-5 after eight games. That team finished 4-7.