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 non-conference 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.
"There were great things," LSU coach Les Miles said. "We controlled the game the entire time. There are some things we need to fix. The things that we did right, we need to do over and over again."
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 non-conference 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.
"I felt the TCU played extremely well," Miles said. "You can see why some picked them to win their conference. They'll have a very good year."
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.
"I don't think there's any doubt we can play with them," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "We got stronger in the fourth quarter. We can't make mistakes.
"I take pride in my team. I thought they played hard. Everybody who says we can't compete against the SEC is wrong."
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 a 30-17 edge. Beckham and Landry each had more than 100 yards receiving. LSU piled up 448 yards of total offense in the first game for new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron.
"I felt Cam Cameron started his debut at LSU with a really strong job," Miles said.
TCU quarterback Casey Pachall (9 of 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.
"We played great in the red zone at times," Patterson said.
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 Pachall, TCU cut the lead in half on 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 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 because of the 10-second run-off after 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 star defensive end Devonte Fields and LSU's returning leading rusher Jeremy Hill were both suspended for the game. ... 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 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.