Dallas Colleges: Andy Dalton

Instant analysis: No. 3 TCU 55, Iowa State 3

December, 6, 2014
FORT WORTH, Texas -- TCU completed its body of work in the regular season by handling its business with a 55-3 win against an overmatched Iowa State team (2-10) on Senior Day at Amon G. Carter Stadium. The third-ranked Horned Frogs (11-1) rested their case for a spot in the inaugural College Football Playoff in impressive fashion.

Let's take a look at how it happened.

How the game was won: After a first half that TCU dominated everywhere but the scoreboard (17-3), the Frogs slammed on the gas in the third quarter. Quarterback Trevone Boykin found running back Aaron Green for a 54-yard touchdown strike on the fourth play of the second half. Safety Derrick Kindred added a 44-yard pick-six later as TCU finished with 31 points in the quarter.

Game ball goes to: Trevone Boykin. The Frogs junior completed 15 of his first 19 pass attempts and finished the game 30-of-41 passing for 460 yards with four touchdowns and an interception. He also had his first career touchdown catch to put TCU on the board. Boykin, who broke Andy Dalton's single-season team record for touchdown passes, won't win the Heisman Trophy, but he might get an invitation to New York as a finalist.

Playoff implication: TCU did nothing to hurt its position at No. 3 in the playoff rankings on the eve of the selections. If the Frogs somehow fall, it's because of what Baylor and Ohio State do later today in games against superior competition. TCU has impressed the selection committee for months and continued to do so Saturday.

Best play: The Frogs went razzle dazzle minutes into the game, as wide receiver David Porter caught a lateral from Boykin, then threw back to Boykin, who followed a convoy of linemen 55 yards to the end zone.

What's next: TCU will play close attention to tonight's Kansas State-Baylor game in Waco, as a Baylor loss would settle the Big 12 playoff debate between the teams. Gary Patterson's squad then will await its College Football Playoff fate, as the selections are announced Sunday at 12:45 p.m. ET about 30 miles from here at the Gaylord Texan Resort.

Andy Dalton brings TCU work ethic to Cincinnati Bengals

November, 18, 2011
Andy DaltonJim Brown/US PresswireAndy Dalton's quiet leadership has helped turn things around in Cincinnati.
Andy Dalton got married in July and reported to the Cincinnati Bengals in August when the NFL lockout ended. There is no sign of either honeymoon ending soon.

The understated former TCU quarterback who led the underdog Horned Frogs to consecutive BCS bowl games and a riveting Rose Bowl championship as a senior is applying his humble, hard-working approach to the Bengals. He is orchestrating one of the major surprise stories of the NFL season, quickly and remarkably restoring credibility to one of the league’s more chaotic -- and downtrodden -- franchises.

In the Queen City, Dalton is dubbed the "Red Rifle" for his fiery red hair and an arm that isn’t exactly a cannon. It’s certainly been steady enough to lift the Bengals to a 6-3 start after winning just four games all of last season.

Remember, this is a franchise that has stumbled through a mindboggling number of arrests and suspensions; that regrettably joined Terrell Owens with Chad Ochocinco; whose franchise quarterback, Carson Palmer, became so disenchanted with the organization’s chronic dysfunction that he walked away after last season vowing never to play another game in tiger stripes.

Could a more volatile situation exist across the NFL for a rookie quarterback with no option other than to start?

“I wasn’t worried about anything that happened in the past. I was coming into a new situation where there was basically just open competition for the quarterback job,” Dalton said in a phone interview this week. “I was just trying to be myself and try to do what I can to help this team. I think that’s the attitude everyone’s kind of taken here. We have a young team that’s really hungry and wants to be really good. It’s the practice we put in and the effort and time, and I think that’s helped with our success.”

Whether Dalton and the Bengals can keep this going and contend for an AFC playoff berth will unfold over the next seven weeks. They lost a tough, 24-17 decision for first place to North Division rival Pittsburgh Steelers. Dalton threw two touchdowns through three quarters, but was picked-off twice in Pittsburgh territory in a scoreless fourth quarter.

Sunday’s divisional opponent is another difficult defensive draw and first matchup against the Baltimore Ravens, also 6-3. That Dalton’s favorite target, rookie A.J. Green (41 catches, 635 yards and six touchdowns), left last week’s game with an injury and might not play Sunday doesn’t make the task easier.

Andy Dalton
Kirby Lee/Image of Sport/US PresswireAndy Dalton's work ethic and humble demeanor convinced Bengals coach Marvin Lewis to keep coming back "You could tell that they were very high on what he could do and how he did it and how he handled himself," TCU coach Gary Patterson said.
“If you really want to see what it’s like to be a quarterback, go play the Ravens and the Steelers with the way they play defense,” said Gary Patterson, Dalton’s TCU coach and one of his biggest promoters. “He’s got his hands full, so let’s see how he does. He’s probably going 24 hours [a day] doing what he’s doing.”

That’s how Dalton operated even before he became the Red Rifle. His study habits are legendary at TCU and a week rarely goes by when Patterson doesn’t reference “Dalton’s teams” as an example of discipline and determination that he doesn’t always see from this season’s younger bunch of Frogs.

Patterson tells stories of Dalton sitting in a darkened film room on the team’s day off or of firing up his laptop to break down the road game he just completed before the bus driver can find his keys to whisk the team to the airport.

“My time is devoted to football and there’s a lot that goes on, and it’s not just while I’m here,” Dalton said, speaking of the Bengals’ practice facility. “I’ve got a laptop at home that I watch film on, and it’s kind of fun because I get my wife watching it, too, and I try to teach her what’s going on. It’s definitely been a lot of fun and I’m definitely enjoying it.”

Dalton’s work habits, demeanor, steadiness and dedication convinced Bengals coach Marvin Lewis and new offensive coordinator Jay Gruden to keep coming back to the TCU campus to work him out. They’d open the playbook to the new West Coast offense they’d install when the lockout ended and let Dalton familiarize himself with it by running plays on TCU’s practice field.

A group of TCU’s talented senior receivers and defensive backs joined him and, each time, the Bengals walked away more impressed with his accuracy and understanding. The 6-2 Dalton is shorter than most NFL quarterbacks, and he certainly isn’t the physical specimen that is fellow rookie Cam Newton, whose Carolina Panthers have matched last season’s win total of two.

But the Bengals concentrated on the qualities that allowed Dalton to lead Katy High School to the state championship game and then rewrite TCU’s record books as a four-year starter. They focused on a quarterback that didn’t have his best day in the 2010 Fiesta Bowl loss, and then who dedicated his senior season to making amends. His teammates followed. The Frogs beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl to finish undefeated and No. 2 in the nation.

“I think their coaching staff took the right approach. They were the last team here before the draft. I mean they had five coaches here,” Patterson said. “I’m standing out there with the Bengals head coach and their offensive coordinator and a couple of other assistant coaches and they’re throwing the ball all over the place. And you can tell that they were very high on what he could do and how he did it and how he handled himself. So, it was not a surprise to me that the Bengals took him.”

He has delivered as advertised: smart, accurate, decisive, even-keeled, competitive and even dangerous. Dalton has provided stability for a franchise in desperate need of a rudder at the game’s most important position.

“I came in with an open mind and I came into a great situation getting drafted here,” Dalton said. “I felt like the coaches trusted me and had confidence in me early on, so I was just trying to be myself.”

Through nine games, no rookie quarterback since the 1970 merger has thrown more touchdowns than Dalton’s 14. Dan Marino and Jim Plunkett both had 13. Dalton is on pace to break Peyton Manning’s rookie record of 26 touchdown passes in 1998.

Dalton has completed 173-of-287 passes, a 60.3 completion rate with just nine interceptions. His accuracy and ability to manage the natural ebb and flow of a 60-minute game helped the Bengals win five consecutive games for the first time since 1988. He says each time he steps on the field he gains a greater understanding of what the NFL’s more complicated defensive schemes are attempting to do and how they try to disguise what they do.

“The style of our offense [at TCU] and the things that we were doing, the way we called plays and the way I was able to make checks at the line of scrimmage are very similar to what we’re doing here,” Dalton said. “The way I was coached and all that stuff really helped me out to get to this point. And, when I came in I feel like the coaches had a lot of confidence in me.”

Quickly and quite remarkably, Dalton picked up in the NFL where he left off at TCU.

“It was just going out and being myself, doing what I can to learn everything, to come in and show everybody that they can trust me,” Dalton said. “I think I did a good job of that.”

Gary Patterson talks World Series heartache

November, 1, 2011
FORT WORTH -- TCU coach Gary Patterson was born and raised in rural Kansas as a St. Louis Cardinals fan. He played second base, third base and designated hitter in junior college.

He's been around here long enough to be a converted Texas Rangers fan and he felt the team's heartache after blowing Game 6, and then losing the World Series to the Cards in Game 7. Patterson's Horned Frogs beat BYU at Cowboys Stadium on Friday night, playing at the same time as Game 7. Patterson said he was worried that the ending in St. Louis might not be a favorable one.

"You always worry about the team that has that we-got-nothing-to-lose attitude because maybe we maybe shouldn’t have been here anyway," Patterson said Tuesday. "They beat the Phillies and then they beat the Brewers, so I feel bad because Texas has done everything to deserve a chance to win a World Series and just came up short."

The Rangers lost Game 7, 6-2, on the heels of a of most improbable string of events in Game 6 that saw the Rangers take two-run leads into the bottom of the ninth and 10th innings and both times coming within one strike of winning the World Series. It didn't happen and the Cards forced a final game with an 11th-inning win.

"It’s a tough loss because it’s so hard to get to that part of the mountain," Patterson said. "I can’t even imagine what the feeling was of being so close in Game 6 like the Rangers were."

The closest Patterson could compare the heartache was the 2010 Fiesta Bowl loss to Boise State. TCU spent years trying to ascend to a BCS bowl game and finally there the Frogs fell victim to a Boise fake punt in the fourth quarter that led to the winning touchdown and a devastating 17-10 loss.

But, Patterson said, the response is what then matters most. The Frogs were led the next season by a veteran group that included quarterback Andy Dalton. They re-committed themselves, went 13-0 and won the Rose Bowl, something of a fairy tale come true.

"They could easily have said, 'there was our chance, we didn’t get there, we got beat, didn’t play very well," Patterson said. "And what they did, they came home and said, 'what do we have to do to raise our level so we can play at an even higher level and get back here again?' It usually comes down to ownership of the players, how badly they truly want it. It doesn’t matter what the coach wants."

Rangers manager Ron Washington will likely quickly come to the same conclusion when his team reconvenes in Suprise, Ariz., for spring training in 3 1/2 months.

Baylor wants to have 'nothing to lose'

September, 2, 2011
It didn't take long before all Baylor could do was hope a lesson could be learned. A win was out of the question pretty quickly.

"We had a face and there was dirt there, and next thing we knew, we found our face in the dirt," coach Art Briles told reporters this week.

In a little over seven minutes, a pair of long scores had TCU up 14-0. By halftime, the shaken Bears trailed 35-3. The Bears had a bowl streak to slay, and with a date against the top-five Horned Frogs, the nation would know Baylor with a win.

"As a team, I think we were extremely overhyped last year for that game," Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III said, "and it came up with a huge letdown.

Nobody would beat TCU the entire season, but Baylor didn't come close. Are things different this time? TCU's quarterback is different, at least. Baylor says it has a much different team this time around.

"Our mentality will be better, possibly, than what it was a year ago," Briles said. "Last year, we were certainly in a stage of wondering where we were as a football team."

This year, Baylor is a team that's tasted the postseason.

"I got a taste of what a steak dinner felt like, so now we’re looking to get back to the table and get a little bit more," Griffin said.

It's a team that knows it can move the ball against almost anyone, and it's a team that rediscovered its confidence when it began the season 7-2, despite finishing the season on a four-game losing streak.

"It was a wake-up call to the rest of the team that we just have to be better, It really helped us, it set us up for the rest of the year," Griffin said. "So, in all honesty, we can thank TCU for beating us last year, because it really woke us up."

This time, anyway, overhyping won't be the problem. National respect would come with a win over the defending Rose Bowl champions. A Friday night kickoff on ESPN assures that if it happens, millions will see it.

But opportunity? Baylor says it's best to ignore it. Briles has told his team this preseason that nobody wants to fight a boxer with nothing to lose.

"That’s the way we run it here. That’s the way any team wants to be. If you’re fighting and you’ve got something to lose, sometimes you can get a little conservative and you won’t attack your opponent," Griffin said. "So we’re going to go out and fight like there’s nothing on the line, like we have everything to gain and nothing to lose."

Who's got what when Frogs, Bears meet?

August, 29, 2011
The last time the Baylor Bears saw the TCU Horned Frogs a year ago in Forth Worth the game was over so swiftly and decisively that Bears speedster quarterback Robert Griffin III barely got out of neutral before everything else was inconsequential.

Andy Dalton diced the Bears for 11 consecutive completions to start the game and touchdowns on TCU's first five drives. By halftime the Frogs had racked up 558 yards and led hopeful, yet woefully overwhelmed Baylor, 35-3.

The teams meet again Friday night to open an intriguing 2011 season for both. This time the game will be played in Waco. This time the Bears return the experienced QB in Griffin as the 14th-ranked Frogs break in Dalton's replacement, sophomore Casey Pachall.

So what did the Bears take away from last season's 45-10 spanking?

"I guess you can't take a lot away from it because we didn’t leave much there," Baylor coach Art Briles said during Monday's Big 12 coaches teleconference. "We haven’t really discussed it that much."

Maybe not, but TCU coach Gary Patterson certainly doesn't buy that Bears have forgotten that September pummeling. Why else, Patterson noted, would the Bears, eager contenders in the Big 12 South, supposedly sign "Beat TCU" on posters during a meet-and-greet with fans?

"We know this, when a team plays with hatred, which is what they are going to be, then you have a caged animal," Patterson said. "You’re going to have to go in and take the ballgame. They signed every one of their posters down there, “Beat TCU” at Meet the Bears Days. We get online. We see what’s being said and I hear everything that’s below the line. You don’t hear anything from us because we’ve been where we’ve been and we understand we have to be the best football team we can be."

You also don't hear anything because for more than two weeks Patterson has had his practices locked down to outsiders and his players' mouths under lock and key as far as the media is concerned. The lone voice emanating from TCU practices for most of this long, hot month has been that of the head coach.

That's Patterson's M.O. before playing in-state opponents. He doesn't want to give his players an opportunity to fire up a foe with words. But, it's also because Patterson isn't exactly sure what he'll see from a team with plenty of new starters that don't get as much attention as the one under center.

As for Briles' bunch, he's certainly hoping that after rebounding to finish 7-6 and end a 16-year bowl drought last season that his team will more prepared to handle TCU this time around.

"Quite honestly, I think our mentality will be better possibly than what it was a year ago," he said. "Last year, certainly we were in a stage of wondering where we were as a football team. I think we grew a little bit as a team as the year went on as most teams do. But this year, I think starting out we’re farther along than what we were a year ago at this time."

TCU set to report; alters two start times

August, 1, 2011
Up on the hill, the upper deck of Amon G. Carter Stadium is now visible over the tree tops as renovations to modernize the old stadium continue just as the Rose Bowl champion TCU Horned Frogs are set to report to camp Tuesday.

The $143 million face-lift won't be finished for the 2011 season, but the Frogs will still call it home. However, to manage certain aspects of game day, TCU has moved two home night games to daytime kickoff: the Sept. 24 game against Portland State has been moved from 6 p.m. to 1 p.m., and the Sept. 30 Friday night game against SMU is now at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1.

The Frogs, 13-0 last season, will have their first practice on Wednesday with temperatures expected to near 110 degrees, likely forcing coach Gary Patterson -- perhaps reluctantly -- to move at least some of the early work indoors.

The Frogs begin a season without quarterback Andy Dalton under center for the first time since 2006. They open on Friday night, Sept. 2 at Baylor on ESPN.

Previewing Week 1: Baylor

July, 4, 2011
You're counting down the days, I'm sure. We're so close, and yet so far from the season's opening weekend. I can't wait for it, and I'm sure every player in the Big 12 can't either. So, despite being a bit far off, we'll take a look at each team's opener, inspired by our friends over at the Big Ten Blog.

We'll start this series at the top of the alphabet.

Baylor Bears

Week 1 Opponent: Texas Christian

Coach: Gary Patterson (98-28, 12th season)

2010 record: 13-0 (8-0, Mountain West)

Returning starters: 10 (four offense, four defense, two specialists)

About the Horned Frogs: I didn't feel great about Baylor's chances to actually beat TCU last year in Fort Worth, but I thought it had a good chance to make things interesting. After the first quarter, it was 21-0.

This year, I think the same, but the Bears should have a much better shot of pulling the upset.

TCU loses more talent from last year's team than any team in the country except Auburn, which brings back just seven starters. That heavy turnover, plus playing in the season opener at home versus the third game of the year on the road last year, should favor the Bears, who will play host at Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco.

TCU must replace NFL-bound quarterback Andy Dalton, three offensive linemen and standout receiver Jeremy Kerley. Linebacker Tank Carder and his gratuitous arm bands are back, but both safeties must be replaced. Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III loves to go vertical to Josh Gordon and Kendall Wright, so look for him to do it, and the Horned Frogs' secondary coach, Chad Glasgow, is now at Texas Tech.

TCU should start the season somewhere in the top 20, but Baylor will have a great opportunity to notch an attention-grabbing win with a Friday night kickoff on national TV. The game will be broadcast at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.

Random factoid: TCU leads the series between the former Southwest Conference foes, 50-49-7. Baylor can even it up with a win.

Totally unscientific percentage chance Baylor wins: 42 percent. Baylor has lots of experience, especially on offense, and it's hard to imagine the defense being much worse than it was last year, especially against Dalton and the Horned Frogs' offense, which did anything it wanted to the Bears' D.

Will the player turnover be enough to offset TCU's advantages in overall talent and depth?

Andy Dalton could be Bengals' Week 1 starter

June, 11, 2011

Marvin Lewis calls in to 101 ESPN Radio in St. Louis to discuss the possibility of Andy Dalton as the Bengals' starting quarterback.
Fifteen players formerly of Metroplex colleges and high schools were drafted this weekend in the 2011 NFL Draft.

TCU led the area colleges in players picked with five, including the Cincinatti Bengals’ 35th overall pick of quarterback Andy Dalton in the second round. Dalton, a Katy, Texas, native, hold’s TCU’s record for most wins, going 42-7 in his four years as the Horned Frogs' starting QB.

Odessa native Marcus Cannon went in the fifth round to New England as the 138th pick in the draft. Just before the draft, Cannon was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, but he told ESPN Dallas’ Richard Durrett he was thankful to be selected. Cannon, an offensive lineman, was a two-time first team All-Mountain West selection at TCU.

Following Cannon for the Frogs was wide receiver Jeremy Kerley at pick No. 153 to the New York Jets, where he will join former Frogs LaDainian Tomlinson and Drew Colman. Kerley was a first-team All-American return specialist and ranks ninth all time at TCU in career receptions. Kerley played his high school career for the Hutto Hippos.

Safety Colin Jones went to the San Fransico 49ers in the sixth round as the 190th pick overall. Jones was second on TCU during his senior season in tackles with 80 and tackles for loss with 11.5. He was a standout running back and four-year letterman at Bridgeport High School.

The Patriots dipped into the Fort Worth talent pool again in the seventh round, taking cornerback Malcom Williams No. 219 overall. Williams was a two-year letterman for the Frogs and played in high school at South Grand Prairie.

SMU sent a receiver to the NFL through the draft for the second straight year with Aldrick Robinson going to the Washington Redskins as the 178th pick overall, in the sixth round. He follows Emmanuel Sanders who went 82nd overall to the Pittsburg Stealers in the 2010 draft. Robinson, a Waxahachie native, set a school record at SMU with 14 touchdowns and finished second with 1,301 receiving yards in 2010.

Linebacker Von Miller formally of DeSoto went second overall to the Denver Broncos after recording 59 tackles and 1 INT in his 2010 season at Texas A&M.

Following Miller in the first round was Colleyville Heritage’s Christian Ponder as the 12th pick overall to the Minnesota Vikings. Ponder threw for 2,044 yards and 20 TDs in 2010 at Florida State.

In the fourth round, former Dallas St. Mark’s and Texas defensive end Sam Acho went to the Arizona Cardinals as the 103rd pick overall. In 2010, Acho made 60 tackles and forced two fumbles.

The Cowboys selected former Cedar Hill cornerback Josh Thomas in the fifth round, 143rd overall. Cedar Hill head coach Joey McGuire told ESPN Dallas’ Tim MacMahon that Thomas will be a very hard worker for the Cowboys.

Ten picks before Waxahachie’s Robinson was selected, offensive lineman Demarcus Love of Dallas Carter was selected by the Vikings in the sixth round.

Former Metroplex players flew off the board in a flurry in the seventh round, beginning with former Southlake Carroll quarterback Greg McElroy, 208th overall to the Jets. Along with winning a national championship at Alabama in 2009, McElroy threw for 2,987 yards and 20 touchdowns in 2010.

At pick 216, defensive back Mikail Baker, formally of Dallas Skyline and Baylor, went to the St. Louis Rams, three picks before South Grand Pairie’s Williams.

Bringing up the end of the draft were two players from the University of Oklahoma who had come from the Metroplex, Jonathan Nelson and Jeremy Beal. Nelson, a cornerback from Mansfield Summit, went to the Rams as the 229th pick. Beal, a defensive end from Carrollton Creekview, went to the Broncos as the 247th pick.

Five Horned Frogs headed to NFL Combine

February, 8, 2011
Five former TCU standouts have been invited to the 2011 NFL Combine: Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, quarterback Andy Dalton, defensive end Wayne Daniels and wide receivers Jeremy Kerley and Jimmy Young.

The Combine is held Feb. 23 - March 1 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

*Cannon, rated by ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. as the fifth-best offensive tackle available in the 2011 NFL Draft, is a three-time All-Mountain West Conference selection and a third-team All-American in 2010.

*Dalton was the nation's leader in career wins by an active quarterback this season. He posted a 42-7 record in his four years as a starter and was a three-time bowl game most valuable player. Dalton holds every major TCU passing record and was a two-time MWC Offensive
Player of the Year. He was a finalist for the Manning Award and Johnny Unitas Award while being a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award and Davey O'Brien Award. He finished ninth in Heisman Trophy voting. Dalton set TCU single-season records in 2010 with a 66.1 completion percentage and 27 touchdown passes. He threw just six interceptions.

*Daniels was a first-team All-American as he led the 2010 Horned Frogs with 14 tackles for loss and 6 1/2 sacks. Daniels and Dalton were the only two unanimous first-team All-MWC selections this season. He closed his TCU career by recording two tackles for loss among six
stops in the 21-19 Rose Bowl win over Wisconsin. He opened the season with two sacks in a 30-21 victory over Oregon State.

*Kerley, a first-team All-American as a return specialist, was one of three finalists for the Paul Hornung Award. He was the MWC Special Teams Player of the Year for the second straight season and the league's first-team All-MWCreturn specialist for the third consecutive year. He was one of just two players in the nation to rank in the top 20 in punt returns (12.9 yards) and kickoff returns (27.7 yards) this season. He also led TCU with 56 receptions and 10 touchdown catches.

*Young closed his career as one of the more productive receivers in TCU history. His 2,316 receiving yards rank second on the Horned Frogs' career list, while his 147 receptions place fifth. Young's 13 touchdown receptions are tied for fifth all-time. He was a three-time All-MWC performer. In his final game at TCU, he tied a season-high with five receptions for 57 yards in the Rose Bowl victory
over Wisconsin.

TCU celebrates Rose Bowl win in Fort Worth

January, 17, 2011
Gary PattersonTravis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comGary Patterson thanks fans at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum on Sunday celebrating TCU's Rose Bowl win.

Thousands gathered in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum on the campus of TCU on Sunday to shower their praises on the 2011 Rose Bowl Champions.

On hand to speak to the team, coaches and fans were Fort Worth mayor Mike Moncrief, TCU chancellor Victor Boschini as well as representatives from the state congress and the Rose Bowl.

The state congress invited the team to travel to Austin to be formally recognized in the capitol building in the near future.

Offensive and defensive standouts from the team addressed the crowd, including the two MVPs of the Rose Bowl, quarterback Andy Dalton and linebacker Tank Carder.

"It means a lot, especially with the turnout we had and all the fans," Carder said. "Especially all the fans that came out to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. I mean, it's just great to be a part of it and all the support that we are getting. I can't even explain the gratitude and the feeling it has given me."

TCU fans greet Rose Bowl champs

January, 2, 2011
Andy DaltonTravis L. Brown/ESPNDallas.comQuarterback Andy Dalton mingles with TCU fans after the team's return from its Rose Bowl victory.

FORT WORTH, Texas – An estimated crowd of more than 1,000 gathered outside Amon G. Carter Stadium on Sunday afternoon to greet the Rose Bowl champion TCU Horned Frogs.

Fans lined each side of Frog Alley on the TCU campus, stretching from Stadium Drive to the end of Amon G. Carter Stadium, as the players made their way up the line toward Daniel-Meyer Coliseum.

Rose Bowl offensive MVP Andy Dalton remained among the fans for almost an hour after the team had made its way through the receiving line to take pictures and sign autographs.

“To have a welcoming like this shows that everyone is excited about what we have accomplished,” Dalton said. “It’s great to come out here and see everyone here. ... I feel like we have been able to accomplish a lot. It’s a great time to be a Horned Frog right now. We made a big statement.”

Head coach Gary Patterson was one of the last to make his way through the crowd and shook as many hands as he could. While he and his team arrived home from being in the national spotlight at the Rose Bowl, Patterson said he doesn’t think that means the program has made it to the big time.

“We’ve worked hard climbing the mountain, but we still have a ways to go,” Patterson said. “I think where people make a mistake is when they think they’ve arrived. As long as I am here we aren’t going to feel like we’ve arrived at TCU. So we are going to keep trying to graduate, keep trying to work.”

TCU opens third with impressive TD

January, 1, 2011
PASADENA, Calif -- TCU opened the third quarter with a false start penalty, but the Frogs didn't lose their focus and rolled to a six-play, 71-yard touchdown drive to expand their lead to 21-13 with 11:56 to go.

Again, a big play set it up. Quarterback Andy Dalton hit running back Ed Wesley, who took it 33 yards to the Wisconsin 25. On the play, two Badgers' defenders flailed at Wesley and then ran into one another to help spring Wesley free.

Fullback Luke Shivers capped the impressive drive with a 1-yard scoring run.

The pressure is on the Badgers, who have moved the football, but have been able to put the ball in the end zone just once.

TCU answers with key third downs

January, 1, 2011
PASADENA, Calif. -- TCU quarterback Andy Dalton led a poised, 10-play, 77-yard touchdown drive to push the Horned Frogs in front of Wisconsin, 7-3 after one possession for both offenses.

Dalton was 4-of-6 on the drive and he completed two third-down passes to Jimmy Young, one for 14 yards on third-and-10 and the second for 11 yards on third-and-10. The latter came after a motion penalty moved the ball back from the Wisconsin 32 to the 37.

The touchdown came on a 23-yard completion to senior Bart Johnson, who extended his consecutive game streak with a catch to 35.

TCU aims for staying power

December, 30, 2010
LOS ANGELES -- TCU is proudly carrying a banner at the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO.

"We're not just representing TCU," quarterback Andy Dalton said. "We're representing all the non-AQ schools."

The Horned Frogs are taking that responsibility very seriously this week, saying they have to play well for all the schools who might never get a chance to make it to this stage. As far as crusades go, though, this won't be a long one. TCU will soon be leaving that torch for someone else to pick up.

It is the first team from outside the six automatic-qualifying conferences to reach two consecutive BCS games, and it came the hard way as TCU has gone 12-0 the last two regular seasons. In 2012, the team will have much more margin for error as it joins the Big East and can still make the BCS just by winning the league.

"I'm actually a little envious of the younger players," said cornerback Greg McCoy, whose eligibility expires after the 2011 campaign. "We all worked hard for the future, and I know there's a lot of envy among the upperclassmen. But when you work hard, things get better. And we all know we contributed to this."

TCU's senior class played a major role in making the program attractive to the Big East, winning 35 games the previous three years. Many of those seniors are stars on this team, like four-year starter Andy Dalton, center Jake Kirkpatrick, receiver/returner Jeremy Kerley, safety Tejay Johnson and defensive end Wayne Daniels.

But the program has shown that it can reload. Last year's team lost All-America defensive end Jerry Hughes and linebacker Daryl Washington to the NFL. Daniels elevated his game, and redshirt freshman Stansly Maponga stepped in to replace Hughes' production at end. Sophomore Tanner Brock took over for Washington at middle linebacker and kept that position strong.

"We have a great coaching staff and the athletes to continue to be successful," senior right guard Josh Vernon said. "We don't rely on just one guy on offense or defense."

Can TCU keep this going? It's unrealistic to think the program will keep piling up undefeated regular seasons. But who's to say they can't become the top frogs in the Big East and turn into the next Virginia Tech, Miami or Florida State -- programs that went from humble beginnings to consistent national powers.

They're not far from that level now.

"I don't feel like we're the small guy," head coach Gary Patterson said. "We've only lost three games the last three years. We lost to Oklahoma that played in national championship game. We lost to Utah that beat Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, and then Boise State a year ago (in the Fiesta Bowl). So we've been in big games and we've proven we can play on a big stage. "

As long as Patterson stays in Fort Worth, the team should remain highly competitive. The school is in the midst of a $105 million renovation of Amon Carter Stadium, funded through private donations. Patterson's staff knows how to recruit and develop Texas talent.

There might not be many more Rose Bowls in the Horned Frogs' future, but Big East membership will allow them to compete for BCS games on an annual basis.

"Obviously we've done something right to get to go to the Big East, and hopefully we'll make that league better," Dalton said. "I can't see us dropping off. I think we'll just keep getting better."