MOBILE, Ala. -- LaDainian Tomlinson ran for 124 yards and two touchdowns Wednesday to lead Texas Christian to a 28-14 win over No. 20 East Carolina in the inaugural Mobile Alabama Bowl.
It was the second consecutive bowl upset for TCU (8-4), which knocked off heavily favored Southern Cal in last year's Sun Bowl. East Carolina (9-3) was favored by six points at game time.
That didn't bother the Horned Frogs, who confused East Carolina with a two-quarterback option attack and completely shut down the Pirates' running game, holding them to minus-16 yards.
East Carolina went into the game focusing on stopping Tomlinson, whose 1,850 yards edged Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne for the NCAA Division I rushing title.
TCU, which alternated between quarterbacks Casey Printers and Patrick Batteaux, made it impossible for the Pirates to adjust.
Early in the first quarter, Printers gained seven yards on an option run to move TCU to the 2. Batteaux, a senior who runs the option better than Printers, came in on the next play and pitched the ball to Tomlinson, who ran in for the touchdown. That tied the game at 7 and TCU slowly pulled away.
The trio set up another touchdown the same way in the second quarter. Printers threw a 9-yard pass to Tomlinson and Batteaux came in on the next play and gained 35 yards on an option keeper that put TCU at the 19.
Tomlinson carried on four plays, finally scoring from three yards with 51 seconds left in the half. It gave the Horned Frogs a 21-7 halftime lead.
East Carolina, which couldn't run the ball against TCU, had to go to the air in the second half.
It initially worked, as David Garrard moved the Pirates down the field, setting up Jaimie Wilson's 13-yard touchdown run that made it 21-14 with 4:30 to play in the third quarter.
The Pirates' Forrest Foster then recovered an on-side kick, but TCU's defense held.
On the first play of East Carolina's next possession, Russell Garry intercepted Garrard's pass and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown. That gave TCU a 28-14 lead with 14:04 to play.