HOUSTON (AP) — Andy Dalton ran for a touchdown and Justin Watts had the go-ahead score to help TCU to a 20-13 win over Houston Friday night in the Texas Bowl.
It is TCU’s third bowl victory in as many years, the first time since 1936-39 the Horned Frogs have achieved the feat.
They started their bowl winning streak with a win over Iowa State in this bowl in 2005 when it was known as the Houston Bowl.
TCU (8-5) took its first lead of the game when Watts wove through the defense and danced into the end zone for an 8-yard touchdown that made it 17-10 early in the fourth quarter.
Watts and Ryan Christian split carries against Houston (8-5) after starter Joseph Turner injured his knee in the first quarter and didn’t return.
A 15-yard leaping reception by Jimmy Young on third down kept that drive going. Young outjumped Carson Blackmon to grab the ball and managed to keep his left leg in bounds as he landed.
It was initially ruled an incomplete pass, but the call was overturned after a review by officials.
The Cougars had a chance to tie it with less than 30 seconds to play but Case Keenum’s pass sailed just beyond the fingertips of Jeron Harvey in the end zone. He had two more shots at the end zone, but the ball fell short on the first one and Chase Ortiz hit him as he threw the second one to end the game.
Playing without coach Art Briles, who left in late November to coach at Baylor, the Cougars extended their bowl losing streak to eight games. Their last bowl win came in the 1980 Garden State Bowl.
Interim coach Chris Thurmond led a Houston team that often looked confused and shaky against TCU.
The Horned Frogs got to the Houston 2 later in the fourth quarter, but had to settle for a 35-yard field goal after a holding penalty followed by a 6-yard loss by Christian on third down.
Houston made it 20-13 with a 32-yard field goal by T.J. Lawrence with 1:57 remaining. Houston had a first down from the TCU 14, but Keenum was sacked by Ortiz for a 5-yard loss on third down to bring out Lawrence.
The Cougars tried an onside kick after the field goal, but TCU’s Brian Bonner recovered the ball.
Houston attempted a 48-yard field goal midway through the fourth quarter but it sailed wide right.