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POINSETTIA BOWL

Texas Christian stops Wolfe and wins, 37-7

December 20, 2006|From the Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — Garrett Wolfe had nowhere to run.

The national rushing leader was held to 28 yards -- 130 below his average -- and No. 25 Texas Christian won a Poinsettia Bowl mismatch against Northern Illinois, 37-7, Tuesday night.

"We stopped him before he got started," said Horned Frogs end Tommy Blake, the leader of one of the nation's best defenses.

The rest was left to Texas Christian quarterback Jeff Ballard.

Ballard looked more like a running back as he scored on runs of 10, one and six yards. He threw a six-yard scoring pass to tight end Brent Hecht and finished with 258 passing yards.

The Horned Frogs' Lonta Hobbs ran for 109 yards and one touchdown in 18 carries.

"You know, Garrett is a great back," Northern Illinois Coach Joe Novak said. "But I don't care if you're Superman, if you're not getting them blocked, you're not going anywhere. We didn't block them well enough to give Garrett a chance."

Wolfe entered leading the nation with an average of 158.3 rushing yards and 178.9 all-purpose yards.

The Horned Frogs, though, were fourth nationally in run defense after giving up 67.6 yards a game. Texas Christian kept alive its string of not allowing a 100-yard rusher, one of only four teams to do so this season.

Northern Illinois had terrible field position most of the game, and Texas Christian brought its safeties close to the line to stop Wolfe.

"We did what we could but they were all over the place," Wolfe said. "It gets frustrating but with the type of mind-set I have, the next play could be a big play. The opportunities came far and few."

Texas Christian (11-2) won 11 games for the third time in four years under Coach Gary Patterson. Northern Illinois finished 7-6.

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