BYU's defense bent, but it didn't break against the up-and-coming TCU Horned Frogs on Thursday night in LaVell Edwards Stadium.
The Cougars have a defensive goal of holding opposing offenses to less than 24 points and not allowing any runner to gain more than 100 yards.
Those goals stayed intact in the 27-22 Cougar win that lifted BYU to 7-2 overall and 5-0 in league play.
Buoyed by timely sacks by Kelly Poppinga, David Nixon and Bryan Kehl, Poppinga added a interception to set up a take-charge touchdown. TCU converted just 4-of-14 third downs and was 0-of-3 on fourth down attempts.
TCU, which blitzed New Mexico 37-0 last week and turned the heads of MWC observers with better offensive play from freshman quarterback Andy Dalton, moved the ball on the Cougars, evident by a 94-yard fourth quarter drive. Dalton was especially effective in the game, taking off out of the pocket and running for big chunks of yardage.
But when it counted, the Frogs were limited to three field goals.
Dalton ended up as TCU's leading rusher, gaining 78 yards on 12 carries. But he lost 18 yards, mostly on sacks, and is in the books for gaining 60 on the Cougar defense. Aaron Brown, the league's preseason pick as the offensive player of the year, got seven carries and gained just 8 yards.
TCU's total offense registered in at 352 total yards. The Cougars came into the game allowing opponents 307.1 total yards, 15th in the nation.
Jan Jorgensen, who ranked second in the MWC in sacks, got his seventh of the season, and sacks by Nixon and Kehl on TCU's final drive of the game proved huge.
Dalton completed 18-of-30 passes and had one touchdown and an interception for 165 yards.
Marcus Jackson, the backup quarterback, completed 6-of-7 for 57 yards. Combined, TCU passed for 222 yards on a Cougar defense that averages giving up 209 yard to opponents.Safety Quinn Gooch suffered what may be a season-ending ACL tear. Kellen Fowler replaced Gooch.