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November 7, 2010
TCU's Dalton passes big test, grabs honor
If TCU continues to play games like this, the Horned Frogs' reputation as a defense-minded stalwart will start to fade.
Of course, that's no fault of TCU's defense, which held Utah to a fourth-quarter touchdown in a 47-7 romp Saturday. It was the sixth consecutive game in which the Horned Frogs held their opponent to a touchdown or less.
In the critical matchup against Utah, TCU's offensive prowess was on display, too. QB Andy Dalton was 21-of-26 passing for 355 yards and three touchdowns in the win to earn Rivals.com National Player of the Week honors. It was TCU's first win in Salt Lake City and boosted the Horned Frogs' credentials in the BCS championship race.
"We took some shots," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "When we came in here last time, we did not play very well offensively. We had a lot of yards, but when we got into the red zone we didn't make any plays, so we wanted to take some shots."
Dalton and TCU's offense shocked Utah in the first quarter when Dalton capped a 10-play, 80-yard drive with a 26-yard touchdown pass to freshman Josh Boyce. The Horned Frogs were even more efficient two possessions later, when Dalton hit Boyce for a 93-yard touchdown to cap a 21-0 run in the first quarter.
"He was actually going to run a comeback route on that play, but he beat his defender," Dalton said. "I just threw it up there. He broke a tackle and took it all the way."
While TCU leads the nation in total defense and scoring defense, the offense isn't too shabby, either. Dalton is fourth nationally in pass efficiency, and the Horned Frogs are eighth in scoring offense and total offense.
Miami still needs help to reach its first ACC championship game, but the Hurricanes remain in the race thanks to two freshmen in the backfield who made the first starts of their career.
Miller rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries and caught two passes for 20 yards in a 26-20 comeback win over Maryland.
With a final stretch that included games against Missouri, Oklahoma and Houston, Texas Tech's bowl hopes depend upon a shaky pass defense. The Red Raiders went into the weekend ranked 119th nationally in pass defense and last in the Big 12 in total defense.
Willis' defense regrouped against Missouri, giving the Red Raiders hopes they can end the season on a hot streak.
Texas Tech held Missouri to a season-low 95 passing yards in the 24-17 win. The Red Raiders were the first team since Nebraska on Oct. 8, 2009, to prevent Blaine Gabbert from throwing a touchdown pass.
This was the Tigers' worst output in the passing game since throwing for 72 yards in a win over Baylor on Nov. 12, 2005.