Horned Frogs shut down nation's top running back

Wednesday, December 20, 2006
TCU quarterback Jeff Ballard dived over Northern Illinois linebacker T.J. Griffen while scoring on a 10-yard run in the second quarter of the Poinsettia Bowl on Tuesday. (JACK SMITH ~ Associated Press)

SAN DIEGO -- Garrett Wolfe had nowhere to run.

The national rushing leader was held to only 28 yards, a whopping 130 below his average, and the No. 25 TCU Horned Frogs won a Poinsettia Bowl mismatch against Northern Illinois, 37-7 on Tuesday night.

While Wolfe was repeatedly stuffed by one of the nation's best defenses, led by end Tommy Blake, Horned Frogs quarterback Jeff Ballard ran for three touchdowns and threw for another.

Ballard looked more like a running back as he scored on runs of 10, 1 and 6 yards. He threw a 6-yard TD pass to tight end Brent Hecht. TCU tailback Lonta Hobbs scored on a 4-yard run.

TCU (11-2) won 11 games for the third time in four years, all under coach Gary Patterson. NIU finished 7-6.

Wolfe, a senior from Chicago, came in leading the nation with an average of 158.3 yards rushing and 178.9 all-purpose yards. But TCU was fourth nationally in run defense after allowing only 67.6 yards per game.

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