FORT WORTH, Texas -- The long-awaited Big 12 era for TCU is off to a nearly flawless start with a new stadium, an FBS record and the winningest coach in school history.
Oh, and another shutout.
Casey Pachall and Trevone Boykin combined to complete all 17 passes for TCU -- the most in FBS history without an incompletion -- and the 20th-ranked Horned Frogs scored on special teams and defense in a season-opening 56-0 victory over FCS team Grambling State on Saturday night.
"I guess if you were going to script a first ball game, this is the way we'd want to do it," coach Gary Patterson said.
After the game, Patterson was presented a crystal ball in recognition of his 110th career victory -- one more than Dutch Meyer, who led the Frogs to their only AP national championship in 1938. Patterson is 110-30 overall with 10 shutout victories one game into his 12th season.
"To be here is kind of amazing, to be a part of where you're going into a new conference and the opportunity to be a part of a new stadium," Patterson said. "And to get a chance to follow a legend and break that record is obviously pretty neat. It may not sink in, we've got too much in front of us."
After being one of only four FBS teams that didn't play on college football's opening weekend, TCU got off to a fast start in its first game as a Big 12 Conference member and debut of its $164 million completely redone stadium.
Deante' Gray, one of 12 true freshmen to play for TCU, returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown only 2 minutes into the game. Wayman James had a 1-yard TD run on the Frogs' first offensive possession before Elisha Olabode returned an interception 28 yards to make it 21-0 with 7:54 still left in the first quarter.
"Coming out all week, we were talking about how we can't play down to other teams' levels, and we knew that coming in," Pachall said. "Everybody from the get-go, in the locker room, had the right mindset and the right focus about them, and we were able to do what we did."
Pachall played only the first half, completing all nine of his passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns, two to Josh Boyce, while the Frogs jumped out to a 42-0 lead.
Boykin, a redshirt freshman, took over after halftime. He 34 yards for a score and threw a 7-yard TD to David Bush while hitting all eight of his passes for 75 yards.
After Gray fielded the ball, his first touch in college, he broke two tackles on the near side of the field, cut toward the middle and sprinted to the end zone. The Frogs were off and running.
"We knew the most important thing is to try to not turn the ball over and make mistakes, especially with a team like TCU," Grambling coach Doug Williams said. "And to give up a TD right off the bat on the first punt, certainly is not the way to start off. And the interception, that was some easy TDs."
It was quickly evident that there would be no repeat of Patterson's first home game as TCU's coach in 2001, an overtime loss against Northwestern State, another lower-division team from Louisiana. The Frogs have since won 11 consecutive home openers and been to two BCS games, including their 13-0 season two years ago capped by a Rose Bowl victory.
Boyce finished with four catches for 102 yards, and got his first touchdown on a 12-yard catch when he got into the end zone after his shoe came off at the 3-yard line. Later in the second quarter, Boyce took a short pass and turned it into a 66-yard score.
Grey had five punt returns for 160 yards, breaking TCU's single-season record that had stood since 1947.
TCU, which had a 69-0 win over New Mexico last October, plays its first Big 12 conference game next Saturday at Kansas. The Jayhawks (1-1) lost 25-24 to Rice on Saturday.
"I can't wait to go out there and have our Big 12 game," said defensive end Stansly Maponga, the most-experienced Frog with 26 career starts. "I'm ready for it."
The Horned Frogs, who won titles in three different leagues over the previous 16 seasons, have the nation's longest active conference winning streak. That is 24 in a row in the Mountain West while winning three consecutive titles without losing a league game."
The highlight for defending SWAC champion Grambling was its famous band, which got standing ovations from the crowd of 45,112 fans before, during and after an up-tempo halftime performance.
D.J. Williams, the quarterback and son of the Grambling coach and former Super Bowl MVP, Doug Williams, completed only 3 of 9 passes for 14 yards. The Tigers had only 70 total yards on 47 plays.
When TCU took its 24th offensive snap with just more than 3 minutes left in the first half, matching the number of plays by Grambling at that time, the Frogs were already up 42-0 and were up 293 to 31 in total yards.
"The most important this is we came in at halftime, I didn't want to see any quit," coach Williams said. "I thought they came back in the second half and played hard."
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