For the second straight year, Boise State's chances of an undefeated season and maybe even a potential shot at the BCS title game were thwarted by a missed field goal.
Last season it was Kyle Brotzman who first missed a potential 26-yarder at the end of regulation at Nevada, then hooked a 29-yarder in overtime of an eventual 34-31 loss to the Wolf Pack. This time it was redshirt freshman Dan Goodale's turn.
Goodale missed way right from 39 yards on the final play of the game, allowing TCU (8-2, 5-0) to storm out of Bronco Stadium with a 36-35 upset and in sole possession of first place in the Mountain West Conference.
The fifth-ranked Broncos (8-1, 3-1) opted to set up the field goal rather than play for a touchdown. On third-and-five at the TCU 20-yard line, with 21 seconds and a timeout left, coach Chris Petersen told his Heisman Trophy contending quarterback Kellen Moore to run the ball to the center of the field. The Broncos then let the clock run down to one second and called timeout.
Goodale was 3-for-4 on field goals on the season but had missed six PATs. His longest attempt all year was only 32 yards.
"He's been kicking pretty well in practice and we thought he could make it," Petersen said.
The Horned Frogs, who rallied from a 35-28 deficit by scoring a touchdown and two-point conversion with 1:05 left after a Broncos fumble, all but clinched the Mountain West title. They have two league games remaining, both at home, against UNLV and Colorado State.
The Broncos' streak of 35 straight home wins, and nearly 13 years without a home conference loss, ended.
"To take down a team like that is amazing," TCU senior linebacker Tank Carder said.
• Boise State allowed two two-point conversions in the loss to TCU-and both times, they had players in position to stop them.
• Redshirt freshman wide receiver Matt Miller has 48 catches and seven TD catches this season. Both are school records for freshmen.
• Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore has thrown at least two touchdown passes in 22 straight games.
Keep An Eye On: RB D.J. Harper - Pressed into more extensive duty by an injury to Doug Martin, Harper has responded with back-to-back 100-yard games. He has rushed 37 times for 234 yards and three touchdowns in those games.
Looking Good: Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore completed 75 percent of his passes against TCU. He has completed at least that percentage of his throws in six of nine games this season and is at 74.3 percent on the season, which leads the nation. He has completed 69.4 percent of his passes in his career and has an outside chance to break the FBS records for single-season and career completion percentage.
Still Needs Work: The Broncos' depleted secondary is a major concern. They played most of the TCU game without their top three corners when the season started - Jerrell Gavins (out for year), Jamar Taylor (has missed most of past two games) and Ebo Makinde (injured in TCU game). The injuries left the Broncos inexperienced at cornerback and TCU used double moves to get its receivers open for touchdowns that covered 74, 75 and 69 yards in the first half. The Broncos adjusted in the second half and didn't give up the big play, but still allowed two critical touchdown drives and two-point conversions. One drive was kept alive by a pass-interference penalty.
Quote To Note: "I'm glad I don't have to face Kellen Moore again. … Like I told Kellen on the field, I'm happy for us but I'm also sad for them. I know how hard they've (worked)." - TCU coach Gary Patterson after the Frogs upset Boise State, 36-35.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
• Sophomore wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn, who hadn't been very productive since a big game in his season debut against Fresno State, had three catches for 46 yards against TCU.
• Junior wide receiver Mitch Burroughs served as the primary kickoff returner against TCU. He returned four kicks for 103 yards with a long of 40.
• True freshman wide receiver Dallas Burroughs had his first touchdown catch of the season. He caught a 54-yard TD pass at the goal line in the fourth quarter.
• Boise State played much of Saturday's game without its top three cornerbacks - Jerrell Gavins (out for the year), Jamar Taylor (started, but left early with nagging leg injury) and Ebo Makinde (leg injury). No updates were provided on the status of Taylor and Makinde. True freshman Lee Hightower and sophomore Quaylon Ewing-Burton played corner against TCU.
• Senior center Thomas Byrd missed the TCU game after returning to the starting lineup a week earlier against UNLV. He has nagging knee problems.
• Starting tailback Doug Martin didn't play until the final two minutes against TCU, and only got in because D.J. Harper injured an ankle and couldn't finish the game. Martin injured his foot in the UNLV game on Nov. 5.