Texas Christian 22, Ball St. 16
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) _ Texas Christian rode a feisty defense and Leon Clay’s clutch passing to a shaky 22-16 victory Saturday night over Ball State.
The Cardinals (1-2) threw a terrible scare in the heavily favored Horned Frogs (2-0), scoring a safety and a touchdown in the closing minutes and recovering an on-sides kick at mid-field with 1:49 remaining.
But TCU snuffed out the threat, holding on downs at its 34.
Clay, the heart of the TCU offense, sustained an apparent ankle injury with 2:55 left and was carried from the field on a stretcher.
Trailing 7-2 and stunned by a goal line stand, the Frogs bounced back with a pair of sustained scoring drives, the first capped by Clay’s 14-yard pass to tight end Kelly Blackwell shortly before halftime.
TCU then took the second half kickoff and sailed 80 yards in 14 plays, using Clay’s passing for big yardage and Setrick Dickens’ 11-yard romp for the touchdown.
Ball State was its own worst enemy, handing TCU a safety with a bad snap out of the end zone in the first quarter and then similarly bungling an attempted punt to set up the Frogs’ third touchdown in the final period.
TCU took possession at the Cardinal 9 after the second poor snap and Clay winged a scoring pass to Toby Morey one play later.
With the Frogs holding a 22-7 lead, the Cardinals struck back for a safety when TCU centered the ball out of the end zone on a punting play. Two minutes later, after another TCU punt misfired, Cardinal quarterback Mike Neu tossed a 27-yard scoring pass to flanker Travis Moore.
Mike LeSure recovered the on-sides kick and Ball State got one last chance, a long shot that came up short.
The Cardinals took a 7-2 lead in the first period when tailback Corey Croom raced 44 yards for a touchdown after a roughing-the-kicker penalty kept the drive alive.