ARLINGTON, Texas -- No. 12 LSU didn't take full advantage of several golden scoring chances against 20th-ranked TCU in the first half of Saturday night's marquee nonconference showdown.
That all changed after intermission when the Tigers found the end zone three times to post a 37-27 victory over the Horned Frogs before a sellout crowd of 80,230 in the 2013 Cowboys Classic at AT&T Stadium.
Bruising LSU running back Terrance Magee rushed for two touchdowns in the third quarter and Zach Mettenberger passed for 251 yards and a score for the Tigers.
LSU (1-0) extended the nation's longest nonconference winning streak to 42 games, dating to 2002. But it wasn't easy against TCU, which enters the season as a Big 12 title hopeful.
Though LSU never trailed, the Horned Frogs (0-1) stayed within striking distance for much of the second half. TCU pulled to 30-27 with 10 straight points to start the fourth quarter.
It started after recovering a fumble at the LSU 6 early in the quarter, setting up a Waymon James touchdown run. TCU added Jaden Oberkrom's 39-yard field goal after an LSU punt.
LSU wrestled control right back on Odell Beckham's 75-yard kickoff return to the TCU 25. Mettenberger found Jarvis Landry on a 20-yard score three plays later to push the lead back to 10.
Magee (95 yards rushing) had scoring runs of 52 and 3 yards in the third quarter as the Tigers opened up a 30-17 edge. LSU piled up 448 yards of total offense. Beckham and Landry each had more than 100 yards receiving.
TCU quarterback Casey Pachall (9-16, one interception) passed for only 75 yards, with backup Trevone Boykin adding 70. The Frogs had just 259 yards of offense.
The first 30 minutes had a little bit of everything -- big plays, defensive stops, turnovers and swings in momentum. Colby Delahoussaye drilled his third field goal as the half expired and LSU took a 16-10 lead into the locker room.
The Tigers had a chance to open an early double-digit lead, but TCU's defense held firm when backed up against its end zone. LSU had a first-and-goal on each of its first two possessions but had to settle for two short Delahoussaye field goals.
Mettenberger had three passes into the end zone on those two possessions broken up. The latter two came after TCU fumbled a kickoff return, setting the Tigers up on the 10.
The Horned Frogs were down 6-0 before their offense finally touched the ball, but it could have been much worse. Behind returning quarterback Casey Pachall, TCU cut the lead in half on Jaden Oberkrom's 21-yard field goal.
Mettenberger quickly got the Tigers knocking on the door again with two deep pass completions to Beckham. LSU closed out the first quarter at the TCU 7 and scored the game's first touchdown three plays into the second on J.C. Copeland's 1-yard dive.
LSU's 13-3 lead lasted all of 15 seconds. TCU's B.J. Catalon took the ensuing kickoff 100 yards, making one cut and barely being touched along the way.
The Tigers closed out the half with another long drive that reached the 2-yard line but stalled thanks to two penalties. Officials originally ruled that the first half ended with LSU up 13-10 due to 10-second run off because an offensive player lost his helmet.
The Frogs left the field but were called back out after the officials corrected their previous ruling by explaining the clock should have stopped on an incomplete pass. Delahoussaye came on for another chip shot.
NOTES: TCU came into the game with a 21-10 record against BCS opponents since 2002. The Horned Frogs became a BCS member last season by moving into the Big 12. TCU hadn't faced an SEC team since beating Vanderbilt 30-14 in 2003. ... LSU came into the season with 85 wins since 2005, which is second in the country behind Boise State (93). TCU was tied for third with 84. ... The Tigers opened on a neutral field for the third time in the last four years. LSU has faced a Top 25-ranked opponent to start the season four times under coach Les Miles. ... TCU opened at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, for the second time in the last four years. The Frogs beat Oregon State 30-21 in 2010.