COLORADO SPRINGS, CO (Sports Network) – Casey Pachall threw for 206 yards and two touchdowns, as No. 25 TCU rolled to a 35-19 victory over Air Force.
Pachall completed 20-of-25 passes and ran for 37 yards. Matthew Tucker carried the ball 16 times for 95 yards and two scores for the Horned Frogs (1-1, 1-0 MWC), who had their nation-best, 25-game regular-season win streak snapped last Friday in a 50-48 loss to Baylor.
Tim Jefferson completed 9-of-15 passes for 83 yards and ran 13 times for 40 yards for Air Force (1-1, 0-1), while Zack Kauth had two receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown.
The Horned Frogs allowed 564 yards of offense last Friday, but held the Falcons to 416 yards in Saturday’s win.
The Falcons’ opening drive stalled when Jefferson was stopped in the backfield on 4th-and-3. TCU took over at midfield and Pachall completed a three-yard touchdown pass to Luke Shrivers for an early 7-0 lead. The drive was extended on 3rd-and-6 when Pachall connected with Josh Boyce for a 23-yard strike to the Air Force 11-yard line.
“It was a fairly big play,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said of the failed fourth-down conversion. “I thought there were too many times today where the field was too short for our defense.”
After a Falcons’ three-and-out, the Horned Frogs reeled off an eight-play, 68- yard drive, which was capped by Tucker’s one-yard touchdown leap. Tucker, who received the bulk of the carries due to tailback Ed Wesley’s shoulder injury, also had a 22-yard run during the possession.
Midway through the second quarter, Tucker breezed into the endzone from three yards out to give TCU a 21-0 lead. The score capped an 80-yard drive, which was highlighted by a terrific one-handed, 21-yard catch by Antoine Hicks on 3rd-and-8.
With their offense in irons, the Falcons caught a break in the waning moments of the first half when Pachall fumbled on a sack by Jamil Cooks, who recovered the ball at the TCU 44. Parker Herrington capitalized with a 37-yard field goal to make it 21-3 at the break.
The Falcons forced a three-and-out on the opening drive of the second half, but Mikel Hunter fumbled Anson Kelton’s punt and TCU recovered at midfield. The Horned Frogs moved the ball to the Air Force 21-yard line before Pachall dropped a pass between two defenders for a scoring strike to David Porter III.
Baska reeled off a 34-yard run on Air Force’s next drive and, on the next play, Jonathan Warzeka took the pitch from Jefferson, rolled to his right and lofted a 32-yard touchdown pass to Kauth, to make it a 28-9 after the failed extra point.
A Waymon James four-yard rushing touchdown capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive on TCU’s next possession and Connor Dietz spelled Jefferson to lead the Falcons to a 22-yard Herrington field goal early in the fourth quarter.
Dietz’s one-yard rushing score with four seconds remaining capped the scoring.
“Over the last 20 minutes of that game [TCU] was exceptional,” said Calhoun. “Over the last two years they have played quite, quite well and they did again today.”
TCU has won 18 straight in Mountain West Conference play and is 6-1 against the Falcons since joining the conference in 2005…The Horned Frogs avoided dropping two straight for the first time since September 8-13, 2007.