TCU -- 28

USC -- 19EL PASO, Texas -- TCU delivered a quick and crushing reminder to Southern Cal on postseason protocol: Tradition is no match for execution.

The overconfident, under-prepared Trojans found out the hard way, losing to underdog TCU 28-19 Thursday in the Sun Bowl.

It was TCU's first bowl win since 1957.

"I don't think we were ready to play," said Southern California coach Paul Hackett, who earlier in the week discounted the notion that the Trojans might not be emotionally ready to play in a bowl game outside of Pasadena, where the Trojans have won a record 20 Rose Bowls.

"Defensively they surprised us with their speed and quickness," Hackett said. "They angled and stunted and executed. They set a very impressive tempo."

Trojans freshman quarterback Carson Palmer was just as blunt in diagnosing his team's biggest mistake.

"We definitely took TCU for granted," Palmer said. "We thought we could do pretty much what we wanted, but they really shut us down."

The Horned Frogs, members of the Western Athletic Conference, held the Trojans to a Sun Bowl-record minus-23 yards rushing, while TCU tailback Basil Mitchell ran for 185 yards and two touchdowns.

"It doesn't matter what conference you play in," said Mitchell, who ran for 1,100 yards during the season. "You have to come out here and play. I knew we could move the ball, but I didn't know we could do it that way."

TCU's option sliced through Southern California's defense for 314 yards rushing and three first-half touchdowns. By the time the Trojans finally got moving with Palmer's passing, it was too late.

Southern California (8-5) came into the game off a 10-0 win over Notre Dame and a season in which they played seven bowl teams. The Trojans were 16-point favorites against a TCU team that was 6-5 in the regular season and finished fourth in the Mountain Division of the WAC.

The Trojans also were trying for their 26th bowl win, second only to Alabama's 28.

Undaunted, the Horned Frogs took control early, then finished off one of college football's biggest turnarounds.

"It's a big day for us. You couldn't buy what happened for us today," said TCU first-year coach Dennis Franchione, who last December took over a program that fired Pat Sullivan after a 1-10 season.

"The bottom line is we blocked well, we executed well and we put them in tough situations," Franchione said.

"We got the film and game plan and we realized we could play with this team," Franchione said in the midst of TCU's celebration. "We executed in all aspects of the game."