The 2012-2013 Bowl Blitz Invitational presented by STAT BOX STORIES continues with the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, which matches up the TCU Horned Frogs (7-5, 4-5 Big 12) and Michigan State Spartans (6-6, 3-5 Big Ten). STAT BOX STORIES owner Brian Parker took control of the Horned Frogs looking to bring home a bowl win for the Big 12 in TCU’s first season as members of the conference.
Horned Frogs capitalize on Michigan State miscues, take home 41-20 win in Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
Tempe, A.Z. – For a Michigan State squad which has had difficulty putting points on the board all season, the task of going up against a tough defense like the one in TCU was not cause for celebration heading into Bowl Season. After a five-turnover performance by the Spartans offense essentially gifted the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl to the Horned Frogs, few could say it was an unexpected result.
The game began quietly enough, with nearly five minutes passing before either team got on the board. TCU began the scoring with an impressive 13-yard rushing touchdown by HB #29, the first of two scoring runs for him on the game. Michigan State narrowed the lead to 7-3 mid-way through the second quarter, but then TCU extended their lead to 14-3 on a 1-yard run with 1:18 left in the first half.
Poor decision-making for Michigan State led to an interception deep in their own end, leaving TCU plenty of time to score again on a 5-yard pass from QB #2 to TE #83 with 28 seconds remaining in the half to take a 21-3 lead. The Spartans managed to convert a 44-yard field goal in the waning seconds, but a tough task lay ahead of them down 21-6.
Michigan State’s opening drive of the second half ended in disaster with another interception, and the Horned Frogs wasted no time capitalizing with a 16-yard touchdown run less than a minute into the third quarter to go up 28-6. The Spartans gave the ball back almost as quickly as they’d received it on their next drive, setting up a back-breaking 83-yard touchdown run by QB #2 on an option keeper. By the time TCU kicked a 47-yard field goal, the 38-6 score had the game comfortably in hand.
The Spartans did rally at the end of the third quarter to score their first touchdown of the game on a 14-yard pass from QB #4 to WR #13, but they were unable to build up enough momentum to truly fight their way back into the game. A TCU 32-yard field goal finished their scoring at 41 in the fourth quarter, and shortly thereafter a 16-yard pass from QB #4 to WR #14 for Michigan State cemented their final point total at 20 for the game.
Player of the Game: TCU HB #29, who carried the ball 26 times for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns as a key part of the Horned Frogs’ ground attack.
It was over when… TCU scored back-to-back touchdowns off of Michigan State interceptions to begin the second half. An already daunting 21-6 lead quickly ballooned out to 35-6 and put the game entirely out of reach.
Game Ball goes to… TCU QB #2, who was efficient in the passing game despite low yardage totals and contributed on the ground with an 83-yard option keeper for a touchdown.
Stat of the Game: 250-to-16. That was the comparison in rushing yards for the game, skewed heavily in favor of TCU. Although Michigan State put up gaudy passing numbers compared to the Horned Frogs, much of it was against a conservative zone defense in the later stages of the game.
Statistical Tidbits: Each team played to their strengths in the game on offense; TCU rushed 39 times for 250 yards and four touchdowns, while Michigan State had 40 pass attempts for 322 yards and two touchdowns. … Michigan State rushed 11 times and gained only 16 yards for the game. … TCU had one fourth down attempt and converted it, while Michigan State failed to convert a fake punt pass in the first quarter. … TCU finished officially 5-for-6 in red zone attempts, though their “missed” visit inside the Spartans’ 20-yard-line came on their final drive of the game as they ran out the clock. … The Horned Frogs punted three times, while Michigan State only punted once. TCU did not have a single turnover, however, while the Spartans gave the ball away five times.