TCU
Houston
20 - 13 Final
  for this game

TCU hangs on for third straight bowl win

Dec 29, 2007 - 6:54 AM By Ted Dunnam PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

HOUSTON (Ticker) - It had to survive a few shots at the end zone, but Texas Christian's defense was strong enough in the end.

Junior tailback Justin Watts scored a fourth-quarter, go-ahead touchdown and TCU's 17th-ranked run defense shut down Houston en route to a 20-13 victory in the Texas Bowl on Friday.

The Horned Frogs (8-5) almost surrendered a 10-point lead with just over three minutes to play, but senior defensive end Chase Ortiz capped off a stellar night by leveling Cougars quarterback Case Keenum with one second to play.

It was the third straight bowl win for TCU, while the Cougars (8-5) lost their eighth consecutive bowl game, dating to the 1981 Sun Bowl.

TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, the Texas Bowl MVP and a Houston native, engineered three consecutive scoring drives in the second half.

"We knew that we could go out there and execute," Dalton said. "We just needed to get it done and we did.

"Early on we were able to move the ball, but we just weren't able to finish. In the second half, we did. Playing in my hometown, playing in front of family and friends, it was just a great opportunity for me, and it's exciting to get the (MVP)."

Trailing, 20-10, with 3:17 left in the game, Houston made it a one-possession game when kicker T.J. Lawrence kicked a 32-yard field goal. But when an onside kick failed and the Horned Frogs downed a punt at the 2-yard line with 1:30 remaining, it appeared as if TCU had the game in hand.

However, instead of staying with the four-man rush that had been so effective throughout the game, TCU used a prevent defense on the final drive, allowing Houston to get all the way down to the Horned Frogs' 19-yard line.

The Cougars took three shots at the end zone, with two passes falling short, before Ortiz ended the game.

Ortiz had 1 1/2 sacks, another tackle for a loss, one pass breakup, and applied the final pressure on Keenum that ended the Cougars' hopes. Houston managed just 32 yards rushing on 30 attempts.

Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson was just glad his team prevailed.

"We feel very fortunate to come out with a victory any time you play a team with their talent," Patterson said. "We did not handle the scramble plays very well.

"We were trying to get a defensive end for a defensive tackle in order to get a better pass rush. Our knuckleheads were being fans. They were over there cheering when they should have been paying attention."

TCU safety Brian Bonner, who recovered the onside kick and helped snuff out Houston's last-ditch effort, said the Horned Frogs played more aggressively in the second half. The senior also registered a team-high 10 tackles.

"We weren't wrapping up on (Keenum)," Bonner said. "He was getting loose and making some big plays on us.

"The bottom line is that we just weren't finishing. That's what we did in the second half - we finished."

TCU took the lead for the first time when Watts scored on a 7-yard run with 14:28 left in the game. The touchdown culminated a 13-play, 80-yard drive.

Horned Frogs kicker Chris Manfredini knocked in a pair of second-half field goals to combine with Watts in helping TCU rally from a 10-7 halftime deficit.

Both teams struggled offensively in the first half, with the Cougars scoring their only touchdown on a bit of improvisation. Facing 2nd-and-12 at its 33-yard line, Houston produced the longest play in Texas Bowl history when Keenum scrambled to his right and then back to his left before connecting with a wide-open Andre Kohn for a 67-yard touchdown.

Kohn freed himself 20 yards behind the Horned Frogs secondary and was not touched until he reached the goal line, leading to a 7-0 lead with eight seconds left in the first quarter.

TCU answered that score following the ensuing kickoff. The Horned Frogs marched 75 yards in 11 plays with Dalton capping the drive with a 3-yard run.

"I probably should have given it, but I kept it and I was able to get into the end zone," Dalton said.

Dalton completed 21-of-30 passes for 249 yards, becoming TCU's all-time leader in both completions and attempts for a single season.

Keenum completed 23-of-38 passes for 335 yards and one score.

"They did a good job getting to the ball, my hat's off to them," Cougars running back Anthony Alridge said. "They deserved to win the game - they're the better team.

"We did a great job of driving the ball from the 2-yard line with no timeouts left, but it just didn't turn out our way."

Alridge said Houston's eighth straight bowl loss did not sit well with him.

"It was very frustrating, you know," Alridge said. "You expect to come out here and do some things you've been doing all year. We had the opportunity to put it in the end zone and we had field goals."

Horned Frogs linebacker Robert Henson said his team proved naysayers wrong.

"After we lost three games in conference, everyone was telling us we weren't going to make it to a bowl game," Henson said. "We did it and proved you all wrong.

Houston interim coach Chris Thurmond said his team united in the past month after former coach Art Briles departed to take the coaching job at Baylor.

"What these kids have done in the last 30 days is unbelievable," Thurmond said. "They've lost their leadership and had to adjust to a new leadership, but they never missed a beat. They never complained, they gave great tempo in practice, had great meetings and they implemented the game plan.

"When we didn't get the onside kick, it would have been easy to fold our tent on defense. Then our offense didn't miss a beat and walked the ball right back down the field, and we gave ourselves a chance to win."








  • TEXAS BOWL
    AT HOUSTON
    NCAAF FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TCU 0 7 3 10 20
    HOUSTON 7 3 0 3 13 FINAL
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: HOUSTON - TD, ANDRE KOHN 67 YD PASS FROM
    CASE KEENUM (T.J. LAWRENCE
    KICK), 14:52. HOUSTON 7-0
    2ND QUARTER: TCU - TD, ANDY DALTON 3 YD RUN (CHRIS
    MANFREDINI KICK), 4:

    Dec 28 11:38 PM


  • TEXAS BOWL
    AT HOUSTON
    NCAAF TEXAS BOWL
    FG HOUSTON
    T.J. LAWRENCE 32 YD
    TCU 20
    HOUSTON 13 1:57 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    TCU vs. HoustonDec 28 11:21 PM
  • 92
    roots
    RUWTbot Added 77 roots (Close Finish)

    TCU vs. HoustonDec 28 11:21 PM
  • 15
    roots
    lpickrell Added 5 roots

    TCU vs. HoustonDec 28 11:15 PM
  • 10
    roots
    MaxOmuS Added 5 roots

    TCU vs. HoustonDec 28 11:07 PM


  • TEXAS BOWL
    AT HOUSTON
    NCAAF TEXAS BOWL
    FG TCU
    CHRIS MANFREDINI 36 YD
    TCU 20
    HOUSTON 10 7:28 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    TCU vs. HoustonDec 28 11:01 PM


  • TEXAS BOWL
    AT HOUSTON
    NCAAF TEXAS BOWL
    TD TCU
    JUSTIN WATTS 7 YD RUN
    (CHRIS MANFREDINI KICK)
    TCU 17
    HOUSTON 10 14:28 LEFT, 4TH QTR

    TCU vs. HoustonDec 28 10:43 PM


  • TEXAS BOWL
    AT HOUSTON
    NCAAF END, 3RD QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TCU 0 7 3 10
    HOUSTON 7 3 0 10 END, 3RD QTR
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: HOUSTON - TD, ANDRE KOHN 67 YD PASS FROM
    CASE KEENUM (T.J. LAWRENCE
    KICK), 14:52. HOUSTON 7-0
    2ND QUARTER: TCU - TD, ANDY DALTON 3 YD RUN (CHRIS
    MANFREDINI

    Dec 28 10:39 PM
  • 5
    roots
    senorpepr Added 5 roots

    TCU vs. HoustonDec 28 10:28 PM


  • TEXAS BOWL
    AT HOUSTON
    NCAAF TEXAS BOWL
    FG TCU
    CHRIS MANFREDINI 29 YD
    TCU 10
    HOUSTON 10 6:30 LEFT, 3RD QTR

    TCU vs. HoustonDec 28 10:18 PM


  • TEXAS BOWL
    AT HOUSTON
    NCAAF HALFTIME 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TCU 0 7 7
    HOUSTON 7 3 10 HALFTIME
    SCORING SUMMARY
    1ST QUARTER: HOUSTON - TD, ANDRE KOHN 67 YD PASS FROM
    CASE KEENUM (T.J. LAWRENCE
    KICK), 14:52. HOUSTON 7-0
    2ND QUARTER: TCU - TD, ANDY DALTON 3 YD RUN (CHRIS
    MANFREDINI KICK

    Dec 28 9:35 PM


  • TEXAS BOWL
    AT HOUSTON
    NCAAF TEXAS BOWL
    FG HOUSTON
    T.J. LAWRENCE 39 YD
    TCU 7
    HOUSTON 10 0:10 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    TCU vs. HoustonDec 28 9:33 PM


  • TEXAS BOWL
    AT HOUSTON
    NCAAF TEXAS BOWL
    TD TCU
    ANDY DALTON 3 YD RUN
    (CHRIS MANFREDINI KICK)
    TCU 7
    HOUSTON 7 10:24 LEFT, 2ND QTR

    TCU vs. HoustonDec 28 9:00 PM


  • TEXAS BOWL
    AT HOUSTON
    NCAAF END, 1ST QTR 1ST 2ND 3RD 4TH TOTAL
    --- --- --- --- -----
    TCU 0 0
    HOUSTON 7 7 END, 1ST QTR

    Dec 28 8:50 PM


  • TEXAS BOWL
    AT HOUSTON
    NCAAF TCU 0
    HOUSTON 7 0:08 LEFT, 1ST QTR

    TCU vs. HoustonDec 28 8:48 PM