LaDainian Tomlinson scored his second of two touchdowns in a madcap fourth quarter Saturday night to help propel Texas Christian to a stunning 35-34 upset of No. 23 Air Force.
Cornerback Greg Walls broke up two desperation Air Force pass plays in the closing moments, including one in TCU territory with 1:30 left that preserved the victory.The Horned Frogs (2-1) thus opened their first Western Athletic Conference campaign under new coach Dennis Franchione on a resounding note while dropping the previously unbeaten Falcons (3-1) to 2-1 in the WAC's Mountain Division.
With TCU trailing 31-20 and in a do-or-die situation, quarterback Patrick Batteaux engineered two long-distance scoring drives in the second half to give the Frogs one of their biggest victories in years.
Fullback Lance Williams sped 13 yards to cap an 80-yard, eight-play drive in the third period and Tomlinson plunged the final two yards to finish off a 70-yard, 15-play scoring march early in the fourth quarter.
A 2-point conversion pass from Batteaux to B.J. Roberts after Williams' touchdown in the third period proved the difference after the Falcons had to settle for a 26-yard field goal by Jackson Whiting with 9:52 left.
Trailing 20-17 at halftime, the Falcons struck for two quick third-quarter touchdowns, the first set up by Chris Wade's 49-yard run and the second by linebacker C.J. Zanotti's recovery of a botched TCU punt reception.
Blane Morgan slithered 14 yards on a quarterback keeper to score the go-ahead TD just 1:03 into the second half, then Spanky Gilliam wrapped up the abbreviated second scoring thrust from a yard out.
With a sudden 11-point lead, Air Force seemed in command. But it only set the stage for TCU's unexpected heroics.
NO. 19 WEST VIRGINIA 44, TULSA 21: At Morgantown, W.Va., Amos Zereoue rushed for 192 yards and three touchdowns to lead No. 19 West Virginia to a victory over Tulsa in a mistake-filled game that saw seven turnovers by halftime.
Marc Bulger passed for 253 yards and two touchdowns for West Virginia (2-1). John Fitzgerald passed for two scores for Tulsa (2-1), which lost its bid to go 3-0 for the first time since 1978.
WYOMING 31, LOUISIANA TECH 19: At Laramie, Wyo., Julian Hooker caught two touchdown passes and Jay Stoner passed for 303 yards to lead Wyoming to a victory over Louisiana Tech.
Stoners' 25-yard pass to Hooker with 4:37 remaining put the game out of reach after Louisiana Tech had cut the deficit to five points.
COLORADO STATE 38, UNLV 16: At Fort Collins, Colo., Kevin McDougal ran for 117 yards and a touchdown and backup quarterback Matt Newton threw for three scores as the Rams beat the Rebels.
It was the 23rd straight road loss for UNLV (0-4, 0-2 Western Athletic Conference), which hasn't won away from home since a 31-27 victory at New Mexico State in 1994.
MISSISSIPPI 48, SMU 41 : At Dallas, Romaro Miller threw a last-minute, 44-yard touchdown pass to Grant Heard to cap a 22-point Mississippi comeback, then the Rebels scored in overtime Saturday to beat Southern Methodist.
Deuce McAllister scored the game-winning 4-yard run in overtime.
TEXAS 59, RICE 21: At Austin, Texas, Ricky Williams bounced back from a bad outing with career-high 318 yards rushing on 30 carries and six touchdowns night as the Texas Longhorns rolled over the Rice Owls.
Williams moved into second place on the NCAA all-time rushing touchdowns list at 60, behind Indiana's Anthony Thompson with 64.
SAN JOSE STATE 37, NEW MEXICO 20: At San Jose, Calif., Deonce Whitaker ran for 142 yards in the second half, scoring one touchdown and setting up one as San Jose State rallied for a victory over New Mexico.
New Mexico (2-2) led 13-10 at halftime but managed only nine yards in the third quarter after gaining 222 the first two quarters.
... Conf. All
... W L W L
Rice 1 0 1 3
Colo. St. 1 0 3 1
TCU 1 0 2 1
Air Force 2 1 3 1
Tulsa 0 0 2 1
Wyoming 0 0 2 1
UTEP 0 0 0 3
SMU 0 1 0 4
... Conf. All
... W L W L
Utah 1 0 3 1
S. Jose St. 1 0 2 2
BYU 0 0 2 2
Fresno St. 0 0 0 2
SDSU 0 0 0 3
N. Mexico 0 1 2 2
Hawaii 0 1 0 2
UNLV 0 1 0 3
BYU 43, Murray St. 9 Boise St. 31, Utah 28
W. Virginia 44, Tulsa 21 Mississippi 38, SMU 31
Wyo. 31, La. Tech 19 Colorado St. 38, UNLV 16
TCU 35, Air Force 34 Texas 59, Rice 21
N.M. State 33, UTEP 24 SJSU 37, N. Mexico 20
Nevada at Fresno St., late Ark. St. at Hawaii, late