TCU 44, Air Force 10

By: AP
By: AP

Another 10-win season for TCU.

Andy Dalton threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more scores and the No. 15 Horned Frogs' defense mostly smothered Air Force's usually potent rushing attack to win their regular season finale 44-10 Saturday.

TCU (10-2, 7-1 Mountain West) has its 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.

Air Force (8-4, 5-3) was held to 150 yards rushing -- 110 of that coming on only two runs. The Falcons were averaging 279.7 yards per game, fourth-best among FBS teams.

TCU had only five 10-win seasons before coach Gary 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.

Patterson's name has already been linked to the opening at Kansas State, his alma mater. But Patterson, whose contract at TCU is through at least 2012, extinguished the talk that he was set to replace the fired Ron Prince.

If not Kansas State, though, there could be other opportunities since several prominent jobs are open and there will be the likely shuffling created as openings are filled.

There were chants of "Gary! Gary! Gary!" at one point in the third quarter, then again after the game ended.

In Patterson's 99th game as the Frogs' coach, they 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.

The Frogs gained more than 10 yards on eight plays in the first quarter, and led 10-0 after Ross Evans' 32-yard field goal.

Dalton, who finished 21-of-27 for 321 yards, had an 8-yard keeper for a touchdown and threw a 22-yard pass to Bart Johnson to give TCU a 24-3 halftime lead. Dalton hit Walter Bryant for another 22-yard score on the Frogs' first second-half possession, then ran 7 yards for a TD.

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.


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