FORT WORTH, Texas – Jeff Ballard passed for two touchdowns and ran for two more as No. 25 TCU held off a charge from winless Army for a 38-17 victory Saturday night.

The Horned Frogs (6-1) won their fifth consecutive game, while Army (0-6) dropped its 11th straight, tying Rice for the longest losing streak in the nation.

Ballard completed 22 of 29 passes for 219 yards, but it was his 3-yard touchdown run – a bootleg that included a perfect stiff-arm – that finally put away the pesky Black Knights, giving the Frogs a 31-17 lead with 5:54 left in the game.

Ballard scored again on a 7-yard run 1:04 later after an interception by Quincy Butler set up TCU at the Army 12-yard line. Ballard, who stepped in for injured starter Tye Gunn three games ago, finished with 45 yards rushing.

TCU seemed ready to take control early, dominating the first quarter. The Frogs methodically drove 67 yards in 5:36 on the opening possession to taking a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard dive by Robert Merrill and added another lengthy drive that ended with Ballard’s 11-yard touchdown pass to Cory Rodgers with 26 seconds left in the period.

But the Black Knights managed to hang around, scoring on a quick strike when Scott Wesley broke a third-and-inches play 42 yards for a touchdown and thoroughly outplaying TCU in the second quarter.

After watching TCU hold the ball for more than 11 minutes in the first period, Army did the same in the second. The Black Knights narrowed the TCU lead to 14-10 with Justin Koenig’s 23-yard field goal and had a chance to close within one, but Koenig’s 37-yard attempt on the last play of the first half was wide right.

The Frogs extended their lead to 24-10 with two more long drives that led to Chris Manfredini’s 27-yard field goal and a TD pass from Ballard to Aaron Brown, who spun away from a hard hit at the 10 and breezed into the end zone.

Still, the Frogs couldn’t seem to shake Army, which responded with a 66-yard march, highlighted by a 37-yard completion from Zac Dahman to Jeremy Trimble on fourth-and-4. That set up Carlton Jones’ 3-yard touchdown run, cutting the TCU lead to seven with 8:10 left.

But Ballard and Merrill ended the suspense with a screen pass that Merrill turned into a 29-yard gain to the Army 11. Ballard scored two plays later.

AP-ES-10-15-05 2245EDT


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