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December 28, 2007

TCU hangs on to top Houston in Texas Bowl

MORE: Box score | Rivals.com Bowl Central

HOUSTON - In a Texas Bowl with a Southwest Conference flavor, TCU took care of its old rivals from Houston.

Andy Dalton ran for a touchdown and Justin Watts had the go-ahead score to help TCU to a 20-13 win over Houston Friday night in the Texas Bowl.

It is TCU's third bowl victory in as many years, the first time since 1936-39 the Horned Frogs have achieved the feat.

They started their bowl winning streak with a win over Iowa State in this bowl in 2005 when it was known as the Houston Bowl.

TCU (8-5) took its first lead of the game when Watts wove through the defense and danced into the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown that made it 17-10 early in the fourth quarter.

Watts and Ryan Christian split carries against Houston (8-5) after starter Joseph Turner injured his knee in the first quarter and didn't return.

A 15-yard leaping reception by Jimmy Young on third down kept that drive going. Young outjumped Carson Blackmon to grab the ball and managed to keep his left leg in bounds as he landed.

It was initially ruled an incomplete pass, but the call was overturned after a review by officials.

The Cougars had a chance to tie it with less than 30 seconds to play but Case Keenum's pass sailed just beyond the fingertips of Jeron Harvey in the end zone. He had two more shots at the end zone, but the ball fell short on the first one and Chase Ortiz hit him as he threw the second one to end the game.

Playing without coach Art Briles, who left in late November to coach at Baylor, the Cougars extended their bowl losing streak to eight games. Their last bowl win came in the 1980 Garden State Bowl.

Interim coach Chris Thurmond led a Houston team that often looked confused and shaky against TCU.

The Horned Frogs got to the Houston 2 later in the fourth quarter, but had to settle for a 35-yard field goal after a holding penalty followed by a 6-yard loss by Christian on third down.

Houston made it 20-13 with a 32-yard field goal by T.J. Lawrence with 1:57 remaining. Houston had a first down from the TCU 14, but Keenum was sacked by Ortiz for a 5-yard loss on third down to bring out Lawrence.

The Cougars tried an onside kick after the field goal, but TCU's Brian Bonner recovered the ball.

Houston attempted a 48-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter but it sailed wide right.

TCU's Chris Manfredini hit a 29-yard field goal with 6:30 remaining in the third quarter to tie the game at 10-all.

The Horned Frogs shut down Houston's star running back Anthony Alridge. He entered the game with 1,568 yards rushing for the season and managed just 28 yards on 15 carries Friday.

A 39-yard field goal by Lawrence 10 seconds before halftime put Houston ahead 10-7.

TCU's Dalton capped an 11-play, 75-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run early in the second quarter that tied the game at 7-all.

Dalton broke TCU's single-season record for completions with 208 when he found Shae Reagan for a 9-yard reception later in the second quarter. The previous mark of 207 was set by Max Knake in 1993.

Andre Kohn's 67-yard catch and run near the end of the first quarter put Houston ahead 7-0. Keenum had to scramble away from Ortiz to get the ball off, giving Kohn time to get down the field and ahead of the defense.

MORE: Rivals.com Bowl Central



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