FORT WORTH, Texas – In the end, the fourth-ranked TCU Horned Frogs did exactly what they were supposed to do against a lower-division FCS team.
A dominating 62-7 victory over Tennessee Tech extended the Horned Frogs' home winning streak to 15 games, yet still gave coach Gary Patterson plenty of teaching points after a penalty-filled game that led to a postgame apology Saturday night.
"I didn't want to score the last touchdown. We don't do style points. ... That's not the program that we are, period. I did not want to score 60," Patterson said. "I'm not unhappy. I'm just not going to come in here jumping up and down."
TCU (2-0) was running out the clock and didn't even throw a pass while scoring three times in the fourth quarter, including a 16-yard touchdown run by seldom-used fullback Ryan Hightower with 4 minutes left. The fifth-year senior appearing in only his fourth game cut left on a short run and had a wide-open lane to the end zone.
The Frogs were just that much better than Tennessee Tech (0-2), where Patterson earned a master's degree while serving as a graduate assistant from 1983-85.
Matthew Tucker ran for two touchdowns and Andy Dalton threw for a score while setting another TCU record, tying Max Knake's school record of 622 career completions with his second against the Golden Eagles. That was a 24-yard TD to Josh Boyce less than 5 minutes into the game to put TCU ahead to stay.
"I had no idea. I didn't know I broke anything," said Dalton, who also had a 19-yard TD run. "It shows I've been playing for a long time. I guess it's good to have, but not anything I'm focused on."
Dalton completed 15 of 21 passes for 182 yards in his 31st career victory, two more than "Slingin' Sammy" Baugh for the most at TCU and four more than Boise State's Kellen Moore for the most among active FCS quarterbacks. The fourth-year starter increased his career passing yardage number to 7,814 while still 66 attempts shy of Knake's mark of 1,115 set from 1992-95.
There would be no repeat of Patterson's first home game as the Frogs' coach in 2001, when they lost to lower-division Northwestern State of Louisiana. That was the last time they lost a home opener.
Or another Ohio Valley Conference team winning on the road against an FBS team like Jacksonville State at Mississippi last week. Patterson quickly made his team aware of the OVC upset in the first meeting this week.
A week after defeating then-No. 24 Oregon State 30-21 in a season opener about 20 miles away at Cowboys Stadium, it was TCU's home opener for the 80th season at Amon G. Carter Stadium, which will undergo a $105 million renovation after this season. And it was far from perfect.
TCU had seven penalties for 70 yards in the first half, including two personal fouls. An illegal block wiped out a 54-yard kickoff return by Jeremy Kerley after Tech's only touchdown which came on Tre Lamb's 11-yard pass to Tremain Hudson.
"People will perceive the game differently," Kerley said. "We know what it was, we know we have to make up for those mistakes. "
The Horned Frogs scored twice in the final 1:26 of the first half for a 35-7 lead after Tennessee Tech (0-2) fumbled on consecutive offensive plays.
"I have a very tired team right now," Tech coach Watson Brown said. "TCU executed really well and knocked the fool out of us. Each turnover was when we ran the ball and they just popped us. The combination of turnovers and them being very good, it was just too much."
Jason Teague returned an interception 29 yards for a touchdown at the end of the first quarter for a 21-0 lead, and forced the first of Tennessee Tech's fumbles that led to a score.
Cass Barnes took his first snap as Tech's quarterback late in the first half and fumbled the keeper after getting hit by Teague. Tanner Brock recovered at the Golden Eagles 39.
After a 37-yard pass was wiped out by a holding call — TCU's third in a 10-play span — Dalton hit Boyce for 32-yard gain. Kerley scored on a 5-yard run.
Doug Page then fumbled on the Golden Eagles' next snap at the 20, setting up Tucker's second TD. He leaped over the right side from a yard out.
Ed Wesley ran 11 times for 85 yards with a 7-yard TD to start the fourth quarter. Waymon James (15 yards) and Hightower also scored in the fourth quarter in TCU's highest-scoring game since a 67-7 victory over FCS team Stephen F. Austin in the 2008 home opener.
Tennessee Tech is the only FCS team that opened the season against consecutive Top 25 teams, having lost at 14th-ranked Arkansas 44-3 in its opener. The Golden Eagles are now 0-26 against FBS teams, including seven in Brown's four seasons.
"I am proud of my kids, they have fought hard for two weeks," Brown said. "We just have to hang together and get back home and start our second season."