(Sports Network) – Andy Dalton threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns while running for another score, leading fourth-ranked TCU to a 48-6 rout of UNLV at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Dalton completed 16-of-23 passes, including five to Jeremy Kerley for 82 yards and a score. Colin Jones had a 30-yard interception return for TCU (9-0, 5-0 MWC), which extended its regular-season winning streak to 22 games.
The Horned Frogs, also ranked fourth in the BCS standings, will put that streak on the line next Saturday at Utah in a big conference matchup. The No. 8 Utes also remained undefeated this week with a 28-23 victory over Air Force.
“I don’t think we played that well. We did what we needed to do on both sides of the ball,” said TCU head coach Gary Patterson. “We understand what we have ahead of us. I thought UNLV was very physical in this ball game coming off a week of rest. They knocked us around a little bit. It’s one of those things where you’ve got to go and find a way to win and we’ve got three more weeks to do that and it will start in Salt Lake City.”
Omar Clayton threw for 128 yards and a TD, with two interceptions, for UNLV (1-7, 1-3), which has lost its last four.
“We would have had to have the ball bounce our way flawlessly to be able to pull it off and that obviously didn’t happen,” said UNLV head coach Bobby Hauck. “We have a long way to go, we know that, but there are some signs that show we have a good football program. But it’s going to take some work and some time, and we’re working from the ground up.”
TCU scored on its opening possession, driving 64 yards in 10 plays while facing just one third down. That came on a 3rd-and-1 from the Rebels’ five, and Kerley converted it by getting into the end zone.
Jason Teague intercepted Clayton late in the opening quarter, giving the Horned Frogs the ball at their own 40. TCU advanced down the field and scored on the opening play of the second quarter, when Wesley took it in from a yard away.
Jones’ return on the second play of UNLV’s ensuing drive made it a 21-0 contest, though the Rebels countered with their lone score. Clayton’s 10-yard strike to Michael Johnson capped a nine-play, 75-yard march with nine minutes remaining in the half, thought the kick failed.
TCU reached the UNLV one-yard line on its next possession before Matthew Tucker fumbled the ball away. But after the Rebels turned it over on downs, the Horned Frogs took over at their 47 and soon got back in the end zone.
The drive lasted about 2 1/2 minutes, and ended on Dalton’s one-yard plunge. TCU took the 28-6 lead into the break, then scored on the opening drive of the third when Dalton fired a 54-yard pass to Josh Boyce in the first minute.
TCU’s defense kept the Rebels on their own side of the field for almost all of the second half, while two Horned Frogs touchdowns sealed the outcome. Dalton completed a 24-yard TD pass to Kerley on the opening play of the fourth, and Casey Pachall had an eight-yard run with 4:10 on the clock.
TCU has won 14 consecutive conference games. The Horned Frogs have outscored MWC opponents 189-16 this season…TCU compiled 530 total yards, compared to 197 for UNLV…The Rebels had 12 first downs…TCU is 9-0 for the second straight year and third time in the last eight seasons.