BCS Buster Hopeful TCU Shuts Out UNLV

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Quarterback Andy Dalton #14 of the TCU Horned Frogs.

    Antoine Hicks grabbed the pass over the middle and slipped from the grasp of a defender, who got the shoe while TCU's touchdown-producing receiver ran to the end zone again.

      Nothing is slowing down the Horned Frogs as they chase a BCS bid.
     
    Hicks' shoeless sprint to the end zone for the final 45 yards of a 75-yard touchdown was part of another dominating performance for the eighth-ranked Horned Frogs, a 41-0 victory over struggling UNLV on Saturday.
     
    A week after their 38-7 victory at BYU boosted the Frogs (8-0, 4-0 Mountain West) to sixth in the Bowl Championship Series standings and past Boise State, Andy Dalton threw three touchdown passes, Ed Wesley scored running and receiving and the Frogs' defense smothered UNLV for its first shutout this season -- and sixth at home since 2003.
     
    "To have a letdown after the BYU game would make the win over BYU not mean anything," offensive tackle Marshall Newhouse said.
     
    Despite losing two fumbles in the first quarter, TCU built an early 17-0 lead -- including Hicks' seventh touchdown (four receiving, three rushing) on 17 touches this season -- and were never challenged by the Rebels (3-6, 1-4). TCU has won 10 straight overall and 12 in a row at home.
     
    "We talked about starting fast. We told them, if you want to win a championship, you've got to get on a roll," coach Gary Patterson said.
     
    Asked if that roll had started, Patterson said hopefully it has with a shutout the week after winning at BYU.
     
    While Patterson was talking about the Mountain West championship, their lofty goal is going to a BCS bowl -- and winning that.
     
    "Climb the pyramid," said Patterson, motioning to the chart of goals in the team meeting room on which each accomplishment is shaded in purple. "We just colored more in."
     
    Boise State (8-0), the only other undefeated team from a non-automatic qualifying BCS conference, beat San Jose State 45-7 on Saturday. That was the Broncos' eighth consecutive victory since losing to TCU in the Poinsettia Bowl last December.
     
    In their 12-game winning streak at Amon Carter Stadium, the Frogs have outscored their opponents by an average margin of 43-9. The last loss was to Utah two years ago. The 19th-ranked Utes, likely the biggest obstacle for TCU to get through the regular season undefeated, will be in Fort Worth in two weeks.
     
    TCU has to go to San Diego State before that.
     
    UNLV managed only 160 yards, 40 coming on a run by backup quarterback Mike Clausen, and was shut out for the first time in 69 games -- since losing 7-0 to San Diego State on Nov. 8, 2003. A week ago, the Rebels ended a 20-game Mountain West road losing streak that dated to 2005 with a 34-17 win at New Mexico.
     
    "TCU is obviously an excellent football team. They're deserving of their ranking," coach Mike Sanford said. "I don't remember ever in my career playing against as good a defense as that."
     
    Only three of UNLV's 14 drives ended in TCU territory, the deepest penetration being the Frogs 34. The Rebels punted their first nine possessions before turnovers on consecutive drives in the third quarter.
     
    TCU was up 17-0 early in the second quarter when Wesley took a handoff to the left, ran into a defender and reversed all the way to the other side of the field, where he found an open lane and sprinted for a 59-yard touchdown.
     
    Wesley caught a 21-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to make it 34-0.
     
    UNLV's Ryan Wolfe, the NCAA's active career leading receiver, was held to a season-low five catches for 25 yards.
     
    Ross Evans kicked the first of his two field goals, a 29-yarder, on TCU's opening drive.
     
    Jeremy Kerley, who returned punts for touchdowns in the previous two home games, caught a 14-yard TD pass to cap the opening drive of the second half after he had a 43-yard kickoff return.
     
    That made up for Kerley's fumble in the first quarter, when he initially was ruled down before Sanford challenged the call. Officials overturned it after a review.
     
    Dalton lost the ball when he was stripped trying to pick up more yards after a 17-yard pickup later in the first quarter. But UNLV went three-and-out.
     
    Dalton finished 12-of-21 passing for 178 yards, and ran eight times for 53 yards. That made him the team's fourth-leading rusher, behind Wesley (seven carries, 86 yards), Joseph Turner (10-64) and Matthew Tucker (9-59).