Terrence Magee had two touchdowns on the ground in the second half as No. 12 LSU outlasted No. 20 TCU, 37-27, in the Cowboy Classic at AT&T Stadium.
Magee carried the ball 13 times for 95 yards, while Zach Mettenberger passed for 251 yards and a touchdown on 16-of-32 efficiency for the Tigers (1-0), who went 10-3 last season, but dropped a 25-24 contest to Clemson in the Chick- fil-A Bowl.
B.J. Catalon and Waymon James each had a score on the ground for the Horned Frogs (0-1), who went 7-6 last season and 4-5 in conference play during their first season in the Big 12. The team fell to Michigan State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, 17-16.
"I don't think athletically we'll play anybody that's going to be any more athletic in any other positions than what we just played tonight," TCU head coach Gary Patterson said.
LSU held a 16-10 lead at the half and used a turnover on the first play of the second half to add to its lead.
TCU began the third quarter with the ball, but Casey Pachall was picked off by Jalen Mills to give LSU the ball at its own 34. Three plays later, Magee took a handoff down the left sideline and into the end zone from 52 yards out for a 23-10 lead less than two minutes in.
The Horned Frogs answered on their next possession, as Catalon took a handoff on 3rd-and-4 into the end zone from 26 yards out to make it a 23-17 contest with just under nine minutes to play.
LSU came right back with a 14-play, 68-yard drive that was capped on a Magee 3-yard score with 2:49 to play in the third. LSU converted three third downs on the drive, including a 13-yard catch by Kadron Boone on 3rd-and-8.
The Tigers' first possession of the fourth quarter saw Alfred Blue fumble the ball inside his own 10, and the Horned Frogs took advantage on a 5-yard score from James to make it a 30-24 game with just over 13 minutes to play.
Following a three-and-out and short punt for LSU, TCU got a 39-yard field goal from Jaden Oberkrom to make it a three-point game with 7:35 to play.
Odell Beckham, though, returned the ensuing kickoff 75 yards to set up Mettenberger's 20-yard touchdown toss to Jarvis Landry for a 10-point lead with 6:09 remaining.
That put the nail in the coffin, as TCU went three-and-out and LSU killed off the rest of the clock.
"I certainly enjoyed the victory...(but) I think it was a sloppy opener at times for us," LSU head coach Les Miles said.
LSU got a 23-yard field goal from Colby Delahoussaye on its first drive, and recovered a fumble on the next kickoff, leading to a 28-yard field goal from Delahoussaye for a 6-0 lead.
Oberkrom countered with a 21-yard field goal to get TCU on the board, but the Tigers got in the end zone on their next touch as a 7-play drive that spanned the first and second quarters was finished on a 1-yard run from Copeland for a 13-3 lead.
It didn't stay that way long, though, as B.J. Catalon returned the kickoff 100 yards for a 13-10 game.
Delahoussaye hit a 23-yard field goal on the final play of the half to make it a 16-10 game.
LSU totaled 448 yards of offense, compared to just 259 from TCU ... Pachall and Trevone Boykin combined to go 15-for-28 for 145 yards and an interception for TCU ... Blue carried the ball 19 times for 89 yards ... Beckham had five catches for 118 yards, while Landry grabbed eight balls for 109 yards.