Horned Frogs beat Falcons, 48-10

The TCU Horned Frogs, now ranked No. 20 in the Associated Press Top 25, beat Air Force 48-10 Saturday with a defensive performance that saw the conference’s second-highest scoring offense reach their lowest point output of the season.Head coach Gary Patterson said the defense saw results from just executing the game plan – shutting down the running game that stemmed from the Falcons’ unorthodox triple option offense.

“I wanted to make sure we gave our players the best chance to succeed,” Patterson said. “The last six days of spring practice, during the last 20 minutes of the day, we worked on triple-option reads, midline options and the different ways they do things.”

Along with the defense’s impressive showing, the 48-point outing by the offense provided a little breathing room.

Senior safety Jeremy Modkins said that when the offense clicks, it makes the defense’s job that much easier.

“It’s incredible, a big motivation,” Modkins said. “When the offense performs, we want to perform, too. It works both ways.”

The Falcons, who came into the game averaging a solid 30.4 points per game, scored their final points of the day just halfway through the second quarter, when quarterback Shaun Carney ran for a touchdown to make the score 14-10.

After that, it was all purple.

TCU scored on the ensuing possession when junior quarterback Jeff Ballard found junior tight end Brent Hecht for a 15-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass.

Ballard, who finished the day 20-28 for 302 yards and two touchdowns, followed a punt block by TCU’s senior defensive end Jesse Hejny with a one-yard touchdown run to provide the Frogs with a 27-10 halftime lead.

Junior wide receiver Cory Rodgers said Ballard could do no wrong against the Falcons’ defense.

“He made great decisions and great checks all day,” Rodgers said. “He gave us a great boost of confidence.”

Rodgers was just one beneficiary of Ballard’s strong performance, finishing the day with six receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown.

Rodgers said his performance is more indicative of team preparation than individual skill.

“We came in with a great game plan,” Rodgers said. “We just came in and utilized our speed and strength.”

One aspect of the game that didn’t go the Frogs’ way, however, was time of possession. The Falcons’ dominated the clock, controlling the ball almost 10 minutes longer than TCU.

Ball control aside, Modkins said the Falcons’ offense was dictated by the Frogs’ defense.

“They have a very good offense,” Modkins said. “They know how to control the ball, but we just made some key defensive stops.”

Saturday’s win moved the Frogs’ record to 7-1 overall, 5-0 in conference, and keeps them in first place atop the Mountain West standings, 1.5 games ahead of Colorado State.

TCU heads to California this weekend to face San Diego State, currently ranked seventh in the conference with a 3-5 overall record.