LIBERTY BOWL TCU records 500th victory
The Horned Frogs defeated Colorado State 17-3 in the rain.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Ricky Madison ran for 111 yards and a touchdown as Texas Christian beat No. 23 Colorado State 17-3 Tuesday in the Liberty Bowl.
The victory is the Horned Frogs' 500th victory in school history.
Madison ran for 107 of those yards in the rainy second half as TCU's offense came alive after a sloppy opening by both teams.
What was expected to be a game pitting TCU's defense -- ranked first nationally against the run -- against a good Rams running game led by Cecil Sapp instead turned into a mistake-filled contest.
Sloppy first half
In the first half, the teams combined for three lost fumbles, two interceptions, a missed field goal and an unsuccessful faked field goal. Their sloppy play made for the lowest scoring first half of a Liberty Bowl since Penn State led Tulane 6-0 in 1979.
TCU (10-2) finally put together a seven-play, 62-yard scoring drive led Lonta Hobbs in the closing minutes of the second quarter. The freshman ran for 39 yards in the drive, capped when Sean Stilley threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to LaTarence Dunbar with 1:21 remaining to put TCU up 7-0 at the break.
Colorado State (10-4) countered quickly in the third quarter with a 46-yard field goal by Jeff Babcock at 11:22. The score -- which tied Babcock's career long -- came on a four-play drive for negative-6 yards.
The Rams had another opportunity for points on their next possession, when short back-to-back runs by Sapp brought them to the TCU 22. But two penalties and a play for negative yardage pushed them back to the 38, and they had to punt.
The Rams were held to 89 yards rushing -- compared with 197 for TCU -- for their lowest total of the season. TCU also outgained Colorado State 338-149.
TCU added cushion in the fourth when Nick Browne scored on a 25-yard field goal with 6:57 remaining. Madison then scored just over three minutes after the field goal for the final margin.
Sapp looked set for a big game early, rushing 59 yards on the second play from scrimmage. It was the longest such run allowed by TCU this season. He followed it with a 25-yard run on the Rams' second possession.
Sapp's first run brought Colorado State to the TCU 11, but the Rams couldn't capitalize on the drive. Though they set up for a field goal, they instead attempted a fake with holder Joey Cuppari passing to an open Brandon Alconcel in the end zone. But Alconcel dropped the pass.
Sapp finished with 106 yards -- although 84 of them came on those first two runs. Despite that, the total gives him his ninth 100-yard game of the season, tying a school record set by Steve Bartalo in 1986.
The Liberty Bowl is sponsored by AXA.