Frogs take down Aztecs, 55-12

Frogs take down Aztecs, 55-12

SAN DIEGO – The Frogs proved they weren’t going to fall into a trap on Saturday as they easily dispatched the San Diego State Aztecs 55-12 at Qualcomm Stadium.

With possibly the biggest game in school history looming next Saturday versus Utah, the Frogs (9-0, 5-0) maintained focus on the task at hand and played strongly on both sides of the ball versus the Aztecs (4-5, 2-3).

Head coach Gary Patterson said that focus paid off in the form of a strong start for the offense and defense.

“We’ve started faster in the last three ball games, ever since the BYU game,” Patterson said. “That’s what you have to do in the last half of the season. If you let people hang around anything can happen.”

Patterson cited last year’s 13-10 late-season loss to Utah in Salt Lake City as a prime example of what can happen when the team fails to put enough points on the board early. In that game, TCU hung 10 points on Utah in the first quarter, but failed to score again in the contest.

Junior quarterback Andy Dalton, who passed for 239 yards and two touchdowns while also running in two scores by himself, credited the Frogs’ success to the quick start they had as well.

“We started fast.that’s the big thing we’ve been focusing on lately,” Dalton said. “We went out and scored early and scored a lot.”

Scoring has been relatively easy for the Horned Frogs lately, as they have outmatched their last four opponents by a score of 178-25.

The Horned Frog offensive onslaught began early as redshirt freshman tailback Ed Wesley ran for a 5-yard touchdown with a little under two minutes off the clock in the first quarter for a 7-0 lead.

Dalton ran for a 13-yard touchdown with a little under six minutes to go in the first to put the Frogs up 14-0, but was received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for pointing to a wristband on his arm.

Dalton was wearing the wristband in support of Pressly Winder, the granddaughter of former TCU quarterbacks coach Dick Winder, who is suffering from leukemia.

“I scored and I thought she’d be watching the game, so I pointed at it,” Dalton said.

Dalton said of the penalty, “I guess it was a deserved one, but it was for a good cause.”

In the second quarter, Dalton ran for a 7-yard touchdown and threw a 44-yard strike to senior tailback Ryan Christian. Ross Evans also added a late field goal to cap the Frogs’ first half point total at 31. The Aztecs totaled six points at halftime behind two Lane Yoshida field goals.

The Frog offense would only grow stronger in the third quarter. Dalton hit Christian again, this time for a 29-yard bomb to put the score at 38-6. Joseph Turner would make a 4-yard touchdown run midway through the quarter to put the Frogs at 45 points.

A San Diego State touchdown from sophomore quarterback Ryan Lindley to senior receiver DeMarco Sampson briefly excited the crowd, but a blocked extra point followed by a quick Horned Frog touchdown subdued the enthusiasm.

Horned Frog freshman tailback Matthew Tucker ran in a 30-yard score to put the Frogs up 52-12 with 2:21 left in the third.

Evans added a 48-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to give the Frogs 55 points for the game.

Christian, who was the Frogs’ top receiver in the game with 106 yards and two touchdowns on three catches, said he enjoyed catching the ball as part of TCU’s new wide-open offense.

“I love it. It’s fun,” Christian said. “It’s different, but I love catching the ball.”

TCU’s defense was also solid, keeping the San Diego State passing attack on ice, holding the nation’s No. 19 passing offense down to 187 yards, nearly 100 yards below the Aztecs’ season average.

Senior linebacker Daryl Washington led the Frogs with eight tackles, with sophomore linebacker Tank Carder close behind with seven.