TCU finishes at 11-1


Published: Sunday, January 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.
Peter LoCoCo kicked a 44-yard field goal with less than 6 minutes remaining to give No. 14 TCU a 27-24 win over Iowa State in the Houston Bowl on Saturday.
The win extended TCU's winning streak to 10 games, the third-longest in the nation behind No. 1 USC (34) and No. 2 Texas (19).
LoCoCo's field goal was TCU's only score in the second half after the Horned Frogs built a 24-17 halftime lead.
The Mountain West champion Horned Frogs were out to prove themselves after being snubbed by the BCS. TCU has the best record among teams from non-BCS conferences.
The win gave TCU (11-1, 8-0) 11 victories for the fourth time in school history and the first time since 2003.
It was an sloppy game with four fumbles, three interceptions and 20 penalties.
Quarterback Jeff Ballard improved to 8-0 as a starter by throwing for 275 yards and a touchdown, despite being sacked six times.
TCU had a chance to go ahead early in the fourth quarter, but running back Robert Merrill fumbled at the 1-yard line after a 21-yard run, and Iowa State recovered.
Bret Meyer threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Todd Blythe to move Iowa State (7-5, 4-4 Big 12) into a 24-all tie in the third quarter. Blythe lost his helmet following the diving catch. The score was Blythe's school-record ninth touchdown reception of the season.
Meyer was 20-of-33 for 254 yards and three touchdowns.
TCU didn't seem rusty, even after a 49-day layoff since its last game. The Horned Frogs jumped out to an early lead when Merrill was untouched on a 20-yard scoring run that capped an 80-yard drive on the team's first series.
LIBERTY BOWL: Paul Smith ran 4 yards for the winning touchdown with 2:55 remaining, and Tulsa's defense had two key fourth-quarter interceptions in a victory over Fresno State in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tenn.
Smith, the game's MVP, finished 18-of-27 passing for 234 yards with a 54-yard touchdown pass to Ashlan Davis, but made his biggest play on the ground when he scrambled around three Fresno State defenders and into the end zone to secure Tulsa's first bowl victory since 1991.
Defensive back Anthony Germany set up that play by picking off Paul Pinegar's pass with just under 7 minutes remaining. Smith then led Tulsa on the decisive eight-play, 52-yard drive.
Fresno State had one final chance to force overtime and Pinegar drove the Bulldogs to the Tulsa 42 before his pass toward the sideline was picked off by linebacker Nelson Coleman.

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