3:30 PM ET, November 22, 2008
Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, TX
TCU routs Air Force en route to fifth 10-win season in seven years
FORT WORTH, Texas -- TCU coach Gary Patterson insists he didn't hear the fans chanting his name during the game.
• TCU won for the sixth time in its last seven games.
• The victory gave the Horned Frogs their third 10-win season in the last four years and sixth since 2000. Before 2000, TCU had only four 10-win seasons in school history.
• Air Force has now lost 11 straight games vs. ranked teams, including four this year.
-- ESPN research
"No, I heard Air Force. Dive, quarterback, pitch," Patterson said. "You should stand next to me. I don't pay much attention to much else."
OK, what about the chants of "Gary! Gary! Gary!" -- from those fans who want to make sure he stays -- that started again after the No. 16 Horned Frogs had defeated triple-option Air Force 44-10 in their regular season finale Saturday?
"I was looking for my wife to kiss her," Patterson said.
Patterson's name has already been linked to the coaching search at Kansas State, his alma mater. And there could be other opportunities with several prominent jobs also open.
"It's all flattering," Patterson said. "The bottom line to it. ... Every time we have a great season, people come calling. They always have. It's 11 years now, and I'm still here."
In Patterson's 99th game as the Frogs' head coach, Andy Dalton threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more scores and the defense mostly smothered Air Force's usually potent rushing attack for another 10-win season.
The Frogs (10-2, 7-1 Mountain West) have their fifth 10-win season in seven years. The senior class won its 40th game, matching the 1932-35 TCU squads for the most in a four-year period, with an undetermined bowl still to play.
If not for a 13-10 loss at Utah in their last game 16 days earlier, the Horned Frogs would have been in contention for a spot in the Bowl Championship Series. But they rebounded strong.
"We couldn't let that carry over into this week," Dalton said.
TCU drove 60 yards on six plays on the opening possession and led for good after Luke Shivers scored on a 3-yard run only 2:22 into the game.
Dalton, who finished 21-of-27 passing for 321 yards, had scoring runs of 8 and 7 yards that sandwiched 22-yard TD passes to Bart Johnson and Walter Bryant to put the Frogs up 37-3 at the end of the third quarter.
Air Force (8-4, 5-3) was held to 150 yards rushing -- 111 of that coming on only two runs. The Falcons were averaging 279.7 yards per game, fourth-best among FBS teams.
"It was tough, very frustrating as well," quarterback Tim Jefferson said. "We just couldn't move the ball at all against them."
TCU had only five 10-win seasons before Patterson was promoted from defensive coordinator in December 2000, including that season before he replaced Dennis Franchione and coached only the bowl game.
The other four 10-win seasons came in a seven-year span in the 1930s when Sammy Baugh and Davey O'Brien were playing for the Frogs.
Because of success like that, Patterson's name is certain to come up for other jobs. Athletic director Danny Morrison has repeatedly said he will be surprised if Patterson is not on the list of schools looking for a coach.
Patterson, whose contract at TCU is through at least 2012, quickly extinguished the talk two weeks ago that he was set to replace the fired Ron Prince. Patterson and Morrison are expected next week to meet as they always do to review the season and talk about the future.
The only people Patterson said he has spoken with in Kansas recently were two old friends, including a fraternity brother.
"All Coach has said is he's here to stay," defensive tackle Cody Moore said. "I trust him. He's speaking from his heart. ... He told us straight up, 'I'm here to stay, this is my place, there is where I love to be."
Air Force got its only touchdown in the fourth quarter when Jared Tew busted through the middle of the line into a wide-open gap for a 57-yard run.
The only other significant run for the Falcons came in the second half when Asher Clark took a pitch right and rambled 54 yards. That set up a 36-yard field goal by Ryan Harrison.
Take away Clark's run, and the Falcons had 19 carries for zero yards at halftime. That included a 16-yard loss on the final play when Clark fumbled and there was a scramble for the ball before the running back recovered at the Air Force 2.
"Coach Patterson started when we got ready to practice, that this game shows what kind of character we have," linebacker Jason Phillips said. "Because not everyone can lose a game like (Utah) and come back and win."
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Luke Shivers got the scoring started with a 3-yard run on the Horned Frogs' sixth play.
Gameball goes to... TCU's defense. No surprise, as the Horned Frogs held Air Force to just seven first downs and 161 yards of total offense.
Stat of the game... 40. TCU's seniors won their 40th game, the most wins in a four-year period for the Horned Frogs since 1932 to 1935.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||4-13||7-12|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||1-2|
|TD||12:38||Luke Shivers 3 Yd Run (Ross Evans Kick)||0||7|
|FG||04:18||Ross Evans 32 Yd||0||10|
|FG||11:12||Ryan Harrison 36 Yd||3||10|
|TD||05:10||Andy Dalton 8 Yd Run (Ross Evans Kick)||3||17|
|TD||01:07||Bart Johnson 22 Yd Pass From Andy Dalton (Ross Evans Kick)||3||24|
|TD||09:30||Walter Bryant 22 Yd Pass From Andy Dalton (Ross Evans Kick)||3||31|
|TD||00:54||Andy Dalton 7 Yd Run (Pat Blocked)||3||37|
|TD||14:05||Jared Tew 57 Yd Run (Ryan Harrison Kick)||10||37|
|TD||09:05||Justin Watts 2 Yd Run (Ross Evans Kick)||10||44|