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MWC welcomes TCU to the conference

FORT WORTH — To commemorate TCU's initiation into the Mountain West Conference, the league went all out. Ten thousand MWC/TCU foam fingers were passed out to fans. Also, MWC tattoos and luggage tags were distributed to fans.

Dignitaries from both schools, as well as the conference, were on hand for the coin flip. At halftime, the TCU band played parts of the fight songs of all conference schools. Alumni from each school took part in the celebration.

At various times during the game, quotes from MWC coaches were played on the message screen, welcoming TCU to the conference.

THIS OLD HOUSE: Seventy-five-year-old Amon G. Carter Stadium, on the campus of TCU, has a long history. It played host to NFL star LaDainian Tomlinson, who set an NCAA single-game rushing mark of 406 yards in a game in 1999. It's also where Heisman winner Davey O'Brien and football Hall of Famer Sammy Baugh made their marks.

Plans are currently being considered to upgrade the building, which is in its 75th year.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that at last year's Fort Worth Bowl, pipes froze, leaving corporate sponsors shivering in the press box. Another problem: tiny locker space. The visiting locker room is in need of upgrades. Since the Mountain West Conference is hoping to get a permanent agreement with the Fort Worth Bowl, the league got an up-close look at the facility this week. Conference commissioner Craig Thompson and other league officials were in attendance at Thursday's game.

EXTRA POINTS: NFL scouts from the Bengals, Browns, Chargers, Dolphins , Jets, Patriots, Ravens, Texans and Titans attended the game — as did a representative of the Las Vegas Bowl . . . TCU coach Gary Patterson is a former Utah State assistant . . . The Utes were supported by family and friends of Texas products Robert Conley (La Marque), Brian Johnson (Baytown), Jordan Johnson (Mesquite) and Brice McCain (Terrell) . . . The Utes wore their new white Nike road uniforms for the first time.

ODDS & ENDS:Quinton Ganther's first-quarter scoring run was the first TD Utah has scored in the first quarter this season . . . Brian Johnson's first-quarter interception was his first of the year . . . Utah's last overtime appearance was Nov. 1, 2003. Utah won that game 45-43 over Air Force. The Utes' last extra session loss was Oct. 26, 2002, in a 42-35 double-overtime loss to New Mexico . . . TCU's last overtime win was a 48-45 decision against Northwestern last season . . . Utah safety Eric Weddle: "We're going to see what this team is all about." . . . Added Weddle: "This is not going to be a one-game year." . . . The stats reflected the game's closeness, with Utah gaining 317 yards on offense, TCU 316. However, Utah had nearly 10 more minutes in time of possession.