"You always want to play in the big arena," TCU coach Gary Patterson told the media after tonight's game. "Utah is a good football team -- lot better at home. We've got a lot of work to do. We have to get everyone healed up and ready to go."
The Horned Frog defense had another dominating performance allowing only 176 total yards, forcing the Rebels into three turnovers. TCU defensive end Jerry Hughes, who was first in the nation in sacks, increased his total to fourteen after two more tonight. TCU held its opponent under 221 yards of total offense for the ninth time in 11 games.
"They're a very good football team," UNLV coach Mike Sanford told the media after tonight's contest. "They're very fast. They're the best football team we've played."
TCU quarterback Andy Dalton had no touchdown passes in his first five games. As of late, the sophomore has added a few to the stat column. Another three touchdown performance tonight gives Dalton nine touchdowns in his last three contests. Dalton went 16/29 throwing for a total of 151-yards through the air. He also added 52-yards on the ground off of nine carries.
"When they asked me to run, I was able to do what I could," Dalton said after the game. "We were able to score points. Now we can focus on the next game. Coach kept mentioning we had to play UNLV first. We have to keep our focus. We were able to run the ball. Our defense played great."
TCU had plenty of reasons to take UNLV seriously tonight. UNLV was coming off back-to-back contests where the Rebels put up 400-yards of offense, but sophomore quarterback Omar Clayton did not find the TCU defense to be as easy as previous opponents. Clayton was 5/13 for 45 yards, with a touchdown and an interception. He was also sacked three times.
The Frogs jumped out to an early lead behind a 17-play, 77-yard drive on their first possession, capped off by a Justin Watts 1-yard touchdown reception. The drive represented a season-high in plays (17) and time of possession (7:59).
On UNLV's second possession, TCU linebacker Robert Henson picked off Clayton giving the Frogs great field position that would lead to a 3-yard touchdown run by freshman running back Luke Shivers. Henson's interception was his second pick of the season and fourth of his career.
TCU had another great performance from their running game. The Frogs ran for 259-yards on the ground. TCU has now won twenty-eight straight contests when rushing for at least 167 yards. Senior running back Aaron Brown led the way with 9 carries for 61-yards and a touchdown.
TCU junior running back Joseph Turner had 8 carries for 19-yards, but left the game with an apparent head injury. BigPurpleNation.com will have more information on his injury when it comes available.
GoFrogs.com Game Notes:
*Ross Evans' streak of 12 consecutive made field goals came to an end when he missed a 40-yard attempt in the fourth quarter. He had a 20-yard field goal in the second quarter. The true freshman is now 13-of-15 on the season. He is the only freshman included among the 20 semifinalists for the 2008 Lou Groza Award.
*On a 23-yard third-quarter touchdown run, Aaron Brown moved past Mike Luttrell (2,312, 1972-74) into 10th place on TCU's career rushing list. Brown now has 2,343 yards. Luttrell's son, Tyler, is a sophomore wide receiver for the Frogs.
*Nick Sanders had a 40-yard punt return on his first career attempt.
*When TCU recorded its opening points of the game, it meant the Frogs have now scored in 200 straight contests. It's the third-longest current streak in the nation for not being shut out. It also ranks 14th all-time.
*Under head coach Gary Patterson, TCU improved to 50-0 when allowing 17 points or less. Overall, the Frogs have won 65 consecutive games when holding the opponent to 17 or fewer points.
*TCU was +1 in turnover margin Saturday and is now +16 on the season. Over the last four seasons, TCU is 34-1 when ahead (30-1) or even (4-0) in that category.