Frogs Shutout Army To Stay Undefeated
Oct 4, 2003
By STEPHEN HAWKINS
Hassell threw two touchdown passes, including a 40-yard strike to Bruce Galbert to start the second half Saturday night, and the Horned Frogs beat Army 27-0. Like Gunn, he's undefeated as a starter.
Freshman Robert Merrill had his third straight 100-yard rushing game for the Horned Frogs (5-0, 2-0 Conference USA) since replacing injured tailback Lonta Hobbs. Tyrone Sanders returned a questionable fumble 35 yards for a touchdown.
Army (0-5, 0-3) was limited to 204 yards, and hasn't beaten a ranked team since 1972.
Hassell, a fourth-year junior who had never thrown a pass before taking over for Gunn, was 13-for-21 passes for 162 yards - 151 after halftime - in what might have been his last start. He is 40-of-75 for 635 yards with four touchdowns and just one interception in his three games.
Gunn played for the first time since separating his right (throwing) shoulder in practice Sept. 9, and could return as the starter Friday night at South Florida. The sophomore, 6-0 as the starter, was 6-for-10 for 103 yards while playing the last four series of the first half.
The first two Gunn-led drives ended with field goals by Nick Browne, from 26 and 30 yards, to give the Frogs a 6-0 halftime lead.
Hassell took back over to start the second half, and threw a 24-yard pass to
Cory Rodgers, who made a one-handed grab and got control of the ball just
before being leveled by Taylor Justice. On the next play, Hassell hit Galbert,
who shed off a defender to make the catch and tumble into the end zone.
Rodgers caught a 15-yard TD pass with 4:12 left, ending a nine-play, 85-yard drive that milked more than four minutes off the clock.
Sanders' fumble return late in the third quarter gave TCU a 20-0 lead. Army tight end Doug Horaist ran after making a catch, and his backside appeared to be on the ground when the ball popped up into Sanders' hands.
On their previous drive, the Black Knights got a 62-yard pass from Zac Dahman to Clint Woody to the to the TCU 12. But on fourth-and-2 from the 4, Carlton Jones fumbled in the backfield.
The Black Knights gained 67 yards on just three plays in the first half. They had just 16 yards on their other 29 plays before halftime, plus had a 53-yard pass wiped out by a chop block penalty.
Dahman threw a 26-yard pass to Jacob Murphy to convert third-and-11 on the first play of the second quarter, then after a 15-yard personal foul penalty was tacked on, the two combined for 17 more to the TCU 21. But the Black Knights lost 10 yards on the next three plays, and Dahman's fourth-down pass was broken up in the end zone by Mark Walker.
Carlton Jones ran 24 yards on the first play after a fumble by Merrill. But Bo Schobel then had his third quarterback sack of the second quarter, and Walker intercepted Dahman's next pass.
Merrill fumbled at the end of a bruising 26-yard gain, stripped by Ryan Kent. The ball rolled 10 yards into the end zone and was covered by Mike Clark.
Merrill finished with 100 yards on 15 carries, getting one yard on his only carry of the fourth quarter. Hobbs, who injured his right ankle in the first quarter against Vanderbilt on Sept. 20, was in uniform for the second game without playing.