Arizona Nearly Upsets No. 19 TCU, Falls 13-10 In Overtime
By BOB BAUM
AP Sports Writer
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - Nick Browne kicked a 33-yard field goal in overtimeafter missing from 36 and 25 yards in regulation as No. 19 TCU escaped with a13-10 victory over Arizona on Saturday night.
The Horned Frogs' lone touchdown came on a 98-yard pass play from BrandonHassell to Reggie Harrell with 2:44 left in the first half. It was thesecond-longest play in TCU history and the longest ever allowed by Arizona.
The surprising Wildcats had the ball first in the overtime, but JeremyModkins intercepted Kris Heavner's pass on the second play. The Frogs (4-0) ranthe ball three times to set up the winning kick.
TCU was without its usual starting quarterback and top two tailbacks.
Freshman Robert Merrill gained 148 yards in 31 carries for the Frogs and hadan 80-yard touchdown run called back by a holding penalty. He ran three timesinto the line to set up the winning kick.
Heavner, a true freshman from Johnson City, Texas, completed 14 of 29 passesfor 276 yards and a touchdown in his first collegiate start. He threw threeinterceptions, however. Ricky Williams had five catches for 131 yards, all inthe first half.
Browne kicked a 24-yard field goal with 1:07 to send the game into overtimeand spoil Arizona's bid for its first victory over a ranked team in threeyears.
Heavner's 58-yard screen pass for a touchdown to tight end Steve Flemingtied it at 7 with 9:40 left in the third quarter, then Bobby Gill's 30-yardfield goal put the Wildcats ahead 10-7 with 10:11 remaining.
TCU drove from its 26 to the Arizona 9 late in regulation, but a holdingpenalty pushed the Frogs back, and they had to settle for Browne's tying kick.
It was sweet redemption for the kicker, who was 5-for-5 coming into the gameand was Conference USA special teams player of the week after going 3-for-3with a 50-yarder last week against Vanderbilt.
The Wildcats (1-4) had been outscored 166-30 in their last three games, werecoming off a 59-7 loss at Purdue. Rumors swirled about coach John Mackovic'sjob status.
But Arizona's hard-hitting defense and Heavner's passing kept the Wildcatsin it throughout.
The Wildcats drove to the TCU 29 late in the first half, but Heavnerunderthrew Williams over the middle and Marvin Godbolt intercepted on the Frogs2.
On the next play, Hassell retreated into the end zone, pump-faked once, thenthrew to a wide-open Harrell, who outraced all defenders to the end zone.
The 98-yard TD play was second only to TCU's 99-yard play from Scott Ankromto James Maness against Rice in 1984. The previous longest play allowed byArizona was a 91-yard pass from Stanford's Steve Stenstrom to Brian Manning in1993.
The Wildcats tied it at 7-7 with 9:40 left in the third quarter when Heavnerthrough an inside screen pass to Fleming, and the big tight end rambled to theend zone on a 58-yard play.
Gill missed a 37-yard field goal in the first quarter.
The game began with Mackovic under a cloud of uncertainty after about 20players were barred from the team dinner Friday night for failing to show upfor meetings with the coach earlier in the day. None of the players wassuspended, however.
TCU's regular starting quarterback, Ty Gunn, was in uniform on the sidelinesbut did not play. He has been sidelined since injuring his right shoulder inpractice on Sept. 9. Tailbacks Ricky Madison and Lanta Hobbs also are out withinjuries.
Hassell had never thrown a pass in a game and the freshman Merrill had nocarries until last week against Vanderbilt.