By BRETT MARTEL
AP Sports Writer
NEW ORLEANS - Tye Gunn completed two crucial third-down passes, then scored on a 4-yard bootleg as No. 25 TCU held off a furious comeback by Tulane for a 38-35 victory Monday night.
Gunn orchestrated the 11-play, 61-yard drive that lasted 5:33 after Tulane had scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns - the last on a 35-yard fumble return - to pull within 31-28 with 7:39 left.
After Gunn put TCU up 38-28, Tulane drove 77 yards for a touchdown with 24 seconds left, but could not recover the onside kick in the season opener for the Conference USA teams.
Lonta Hobbs scored three touchdowns on short runs for the Horned Frogs, while Ricky Madison added an 80 touchdown on a short swing pass from Gunn.
Madison finished with 206 total yards, 115 on the ground.
Gunn was 17-of-27 for 243 yards and Hobbs ran for 62 yards.
Tulane didn't score an offensive touchdown until the fourth quarter against TCU, which had the top-ranked defense in the country last season.
Tulane's J.P. Losman was 25-of-42 for 303 yards, but he threw two interceptions, including one that set up TCU's final scoring drive. It came one play after Tulane had recovered a fumble near midfield with more than six minutes to go.
Mewelde Moore, who has rushed for more than 1,000 yards in three straight seasons for Tulane, was held to 42 yards rushing and one touchdown.
Roydell Williams caught five passes for 110 yards and a TD for the Green Wave.
A 41-yard field goal by Nick Browne gave TCU a 10-0 lead shortly before
halftime. Tulane cut the lead to 10-7 on the ensuing kickoff, when returner
Fred Smith sprinted out from his goal line, squeezed through a wedge of
blockers and outran the kicker for a 100-yard touchdown.
Hobbs scored from 2 yards to give the Horned Frogs a 24-7 lead and he made it 31-7 on a 4-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
The crowd in the Louisiana Superdome was 28,966, relatively good for Tulane, which considered eliminating football or changing from Division I-A to Division III last spring. The athletic department and boosters saved the 110-year-old program by doubling season ticket sales to about 15,000 and raising more than $4 million.