Reserve quarterback Leon Clay threw two touchdown passes to freshman wide receiver Stephen Shipley, and the Texas Christian defense shut down Air Force quarterback Dee Dowis as the Horned Frogs upset the 19th-ranked Falcons, 27-9, Saturday in a non-conference game.
"We now know we can play with the best of them," said TCU linebacker Jason Cauble.
The Horned Frogs (4-3) held Dowis to 28 yards in eight carries. He completed five of 19 passes for 69 yards and one interception.
Air Force Coach Fisher DeBerry was disappointed with the Falcons (6-2).
"Our pride is tarnished and hurt, but I don't think the goals of our program have diminished," he said.
"This is an expensive way to learn a valuable lesson. This proves you have got to be ready to play every Saturday."
Clay broke the game open with an 86-yard touchdown pass play to Shipley in the third period. He threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Shipley in the fourth quarter.
"I felt like I was in a dream running down the sideline," Shipley said of the second-longest pass play in TCU history.
Clay completed 10 of 11 passes for 165 yards. He entered the game in the second quarter after starting quarterback Ron Jiles suffered a sprained wrist.
"I was nervous," said Clay, a redshirt freshman. "I had big butterflies. I was just trying to keep our momentum going. This is Ron's team."
Running back Tommy Palmer ran for a career-high 177 yards in 22 carries as the Horned Frogs pinned the Falcons with their second loss in a row.
TCU had two long drives on its first two possessions and took a 13-3 lead that stood until Clay threw his first touchdown pass to Shipley 6:46 into the third quarter.
Jiles drove the Horned Frogs 87 yards in 10 plays and scored on a three-yard run to give TCU a 6-0 lead. Randle Bradley blocked the extra-point try.
After a 27-yard field goal by the Falcons' Joe Wood, Palmer wrapped up a 64-yard scoring drive with a one-yard run.
The Falcons scored when Bill Wosilius slipped in from the two-yard line with 1:31 remaining in the game.