for this game

TCU shuts down Wolfe; Ballard runs for three TDs

Dec 20, 2006 - 6:55 AM SAN DIEGO (Ticker) -- TCU has one of the best run defenses in the nation. Garrett Wolfe became a firsthand witness.

Jeff Ballard ran for three touchdowns and threw for another as the 25th-ranked Horned Frogs coasted to a 37-7 victory over Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl, beginning the college football postseason.

The Horned Frogs' defense entered ranked fourth in the country against the run, allowing just 67.6 yards per game. But they had not faced a running back like Wolfe, who led Division I-A this season with 1,900 yards.

TCU's defense was up to the task, holding the 175-pound speedster to just 28 yards on 20 carries. The Huskies (7-6) totaled just 58 yards while recording minus-21 on the ground.

"I think it's one of the top (defensive games) we've played," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "Against a guy like Garrett Wolfe and what he can do, for the team to go out tonight and play like they did, I think you really have to give them a lot of credit. You have to give the offense a lot of credit, because the easiest defense you can play is when (Wolfe) is standing on the sidelines."

"We knew that we had to stop (Wolfe) before he started," said TCU defensive end Tommy Blake, who had two sacks. "We were well-coached and in position to be successful. We just handled our jobs and just did what we were told to do and handled (Wolfe)."

Northern Illinois coach Joe Novak was aware of why Wolfe could not get anything going.

"Garrett is a great back," Novak said. "You talk about production, in three years he's had over 5,000 yards. But, I don't care if you're Superman, if you don't get people blocked, you aren't going anywhere. We've had some games, for whatever reason, we just couldn't get him blocked well enough."

Lonta Hobbs ran for 109 yards and a score and Quentily Harmon hauled in six catches for 93 yards for TCU (11-2), which ended its season with an eight-game winning streak.

With TCU owning a 6-0 edge, Ballard extended the margin 11 seconds into the second quarter on a 10-yard TD run. The Horned Frogs entered the locker room with a 16-0 lead.

Ballard, who completed 19-of-29 passes for 260 yards, added to the margin in the first six minutes of the third period with rushing TDs from a yard and six yards for a commanding 30-0 cushion.

"I guess for a quarterback, my job is to run the option and take some hits for the team," Ballard said. "I'm always happy to do that, whatever it takes to win. I can't give enough (credit) to the coaches and the defense. They did a wonderful job tonight. As far as toughness, every quarterback needs it, or they're not going to be successful."

Dan Nicholson, who was sacked five times, was 6-of-18 for just 79 yards with an interception for Northern Illinois, which fell to 4-25 against ranked opponents.

"We got our butts kicked by a better football team," Novak said. "We played Ohio State, and they're certainly number one, but this team certainly is a top, whatever you want to call it, 15 or 20. They're a good football team. They're very athletic and very balanced."

The Huskies lost, 35-12, to top-ranked Ohio State on September 2.

John Tranchitella returned a blocked punt 30 yards for a touchdown for Northern Illinois' only score.








  • POINSETTIA BOWL
    AT SAN DIEGO CA
    NCAAF FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NORTHN ILLINOIS 0 0 0 7 7
    TCU (25) 6 10 14 7 37 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TCU - TD, LONTA HOBBS 4 YD RUN (PAT
    BLOCKED), 2:57. TCU 6-0
    2ND QUARTER: TCU - TD, JEFF BALLARD 10 YD RUN (CHRIS
    MANFREDINI KICK), 0:11.

    Dec 19 11:14 PM


  • POINSETTIA BOWL
    AT SAN DIEGO CA
    NCAAF POINSETTIA BOWL
    TD TCU
    BRENT HECHT 6 YD PASS FROM JEFF BALLARD
    (PETER LOCOCO KICK)
    NORTHN ILLINOIS 7
    TCU (25) 37 10:55 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Northern Illinois vs. TCUDec 19 10:50 PM


  • POINSETTIA BOWL
    AT SAN DIEGO CA
    NCAAF POINSETTIA BOWL
    TD NORTHN ILLINOIS
    TOMMY OBRIEN 33 YD RETURN OF BLOCKED PUNT
    (CHRIS NENDICK KICK)
    NORTHN ILLINOIS 7
    TCU (25) 30 14:14 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    Northern Illinois vs. TCUDec 19 10:41 PM


  • POINSETTIA BOWL
    AT SAN DIEGO CA
    NCAAF END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NORTHN ILLINOIS 0 0 0 0
    TCU (25) 6 10 14 30 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TCU - TD, LONTA HOBBS 4 YD RUN (PAT
    BLOCKED), 2:57. TCU 6-0
    2ND QUARTER: TCU - TD, JEFF BALLARD 10 YD RUN (CHRIS
    MANFREDINI KIC

    Dec 19 10:36 PM


  • POINSETTIA BOWL
    AT SAN DIEGO CA
    NCAAF POINSETTIA BOWL
    TD TCU
    JEFF BALLARD 6 YD RUN
    (CHRIS MANFREDINI KICK)
    NORTHN ILLINOIS 0
    TCU (25) 30 9:08 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Northern Illinois vs. TCUDec 19 10:11 PM


  • POINSETTIA BOWL
    AT SAN DIEGO CA
    NCAAF POINSETTIA BOWL
    TD TCU
    JEFF BALLARD 1 YD RUN
    (CHRIS MANFREDINI KICK)
    NORTHN ILLINOIS 0
    TCU (25) 23 12:06 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    Northern Illinois vs. TCUDec 19 10:03 PM


  • POINSETTIA BOWL
    AT SAN DIEGO CA
    NCAAF POINSETTIA BOWL
    FG TCU
    CHRIS MANFREDINI 25 YD
    NORTHN ILLINOIS 0
    TCU (25) 16 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Dec 19 9:31 PM


  • POINSETTIA BOWL
    AT SAN DIEGO CA
    NCAAF POINSETTIA BOWL
    FG TCU
    CHRIS MANFREDINI 25 YD
    NORTHN ILLINOIS 0
    TCU (25) 16 0:00 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Northern Illinois vs. TCUDec 19 9:31 PM


  • POINSETTIA BOWL
    AT SAN DIEGO CA
    NCAAF POINSETTIA BOWL
    TD TCU
    JEFF BALLARD 10 YD RUN
    (CHRIS MANFREDINI KICK)
    NORTHN ILLINOIS 0
    TCU (25) 13 14:49 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    Northern Illinois vs. TCUDec 19 8:43 PM


  • POINSETTIA BOWL
    AT SAN DIEGO CA
    NCAAF END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    NORTHN ILLINOIS 0 0
    TCU (25) 6 6 END, 1ST QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: TCU - TD, LONTA HOBBS 4 YD RUN (PAT
    BLOCKED), 2:57. TCU 6-0

    Dec 19 8:38 PM


  • POINSETTIA BOWL
    AT SAN DIEGO CA
    NCAAF POINSETTIA BOWL
    TD TCU
    LONTA HOBBS 4 YD RUN
    (PAT BLOCKED)
    NORTHN ILLINOIS 0
    TCU (25) 6 12:03 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    Northern Illinois vs. TCUDec 19 8:08 PM