TCU 31, Wyoming 20
LARAMIE, Wyo. (AP)
TCU found its running game to be both a blessing and curse against Wyoming.
The Horned Frogs rushed for a season-high 390 yards and four touchdowns in beating Wyoming 31-20 Saturday for its fourth win a row.
But TCU also lost four fumbles, including two within Wyoming's 10 yard line.
''We were lucky,'' TCU coach Gary Patterson said. ''You got to protect the football; we didn't do a good job of that. We won't be able to win the game next week if we don't protect the football.''
The Horned Frogs, who travel to No. 5 Boise State next weekend, extended their record Mountain West Conference win streak to 21 games and tied the league record for consecutive conference road wins at 11. BYU, which is no longer a member of the Mountain West, won 11 straight from 2005-07.
Ed Wesley rushed for 120 yards and two TDs and Waymon James added a career-high 181 yards on the ground to lead TCU (7-2, 4-0).
Matthew Tucker added 90 yards and two TDs rushing. Casey Pachall completed 17 of 24 passes for 227 yards and an interception.
TCU gained a season-high 617 yards total offense.
Brett Smith led Wyoming (5-3, 2-1) with 210 yards and two touchdowns passing and 68 yards rushing before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter after taking a hard hit from TCU's Tank Carder.
''A lot of people said that changed the momentum of the game,'' Carder said. ''It's awesome that I was a part of that and able to do that for us so that we can get a win and come out here and go into Boise undefeated in conference.''
Wyoming coach Dave Christensen said the loss of Smith ''may have knocked some wind out of our sails.''
''The kids still came out and competed with five takeaways,'' Christensen said. ''We moved the ball and scored some points.''
Smith is expected to play next week when Wyoming travels to Air Force.
The loss ended Wyoming's two-game win streak and kept the Cowboys from their first 3-0 start in the Mountain West.
The last time Wyoming began a season 3-0 in conference play was 1998, when it was a member of the Western Athletic Conference and finished a game out of first place in the WAC Mountain Division.
The game was tied 17-17 at halftime after Wyoming defensive back Blair Burns intercepted a Pachall pass at the goal line with 30 seconds remaining in the second quarter. TCU, which had gone the previous two games without a turnover, had five turnovers, including three in the red zone.
''You can't turn the ball over in the red zone; you have to at least get a field goal,'' Patterson said. ''The one I was really upset with was the interception right before the half. If we don't throw the ball away, we are up 20-17. There was no reason for that ball to be thrown.''
TCU's first-half points came on a 5-yard run by Tucker, 2-yard run by Wesley and 35-yard field goal by Ross Evans.
Wyoming opened the second half with 53-yard drive that resulted in a 48-yard field goal by Sullivan to take a 20-17 edge.
But TCU took the lead late in the third quarter with a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended with Wesley scoring from 4 yards out.
The only score in the fourth quarter came on a 4-yard run by Tucker.
TCU's defense limited Wyoming's offense to 147 yards in the second half.
''We came out with a good plan, executed it well in the first half,'' said Cowboys receiver Chris McNeil, who caught five passes for 99 yards. ''Unfortunately, we weren't able to produce more yards and points in the second half.''