By Casey Keefe
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Rose Bowl: TCU 21 Wisconsin 19
Down by 8 points with 7:32 remaining, Wisconsin went on a marathon drive showcasing the power football which propelled them all season long. Their offensive line started to wear down the Horned Frogs defense and the running back duo of John Clay and Montee Ball pounded the rock.
Poised and resilient, the Badgers completed the 10 play drive with Ball’s 4 yard touchdown run, bringing them within two points with 2 minutes left. On the 2 point conversion attempt, Quarterback Scott Tolzien saw a wide open receiver in the end zone, but his pass was knocked down by Tank Carder.
A desperation on-side kick attempt was recovered by TCU, and they proceeded to run out the clock. That was that.
– Tank Carder, TCU, LB: 2 sacks, game-saving pass knockdown
– Andy Dalton, TCU, QB: 15/23, 219 yards, TD
What It Means:
TCU becomes the first school not from an automatic-BCS-bid conference to win the Rose Bowl. They completed an undefeated 13-0 season and surely helped feed into the hunger for a playoff system in college football.
Head coach Gary Patterson had his Horned Frogs ready to play. Facing a long layoff and the disappointment of being passed up for the BCS Title game, TCU was sharp and focused. They out-toughed the Badgers and beat them at their own game.
Wisconsin dominated the stat sheet and held a 37min-23min advantage in time of possession – But if there’s one thing we know it’s that games aren’t played on paper. TCU didn’t sustain many drives, but they did manage to hit on several big plays, including some real key third down conversions.
Whenever a big play was needed TCU was there to make it – whether it was on offense, defense or special teams with the onside kick recovery.
TCU has been a dominant program for several years now, but it is incredible to think how far they’ve come. There’s not too many better ways to finish a season than by knocking off the Big 10 champs in the Granddaddy of Them All.
Wisconsin’s loss capped an 0-5 day for the Big 10 conference. What was the best conference in the regular season has completely crapped the bed in the postseason.
Needless to say, TCU will be a welcomed addition to the Big East in a few years.
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma 48 Connecticut 20
Playing the role of the stubborn stepchild, the Huskies just refused to let go of this game. Whenever it looked like Oklahoma was going to pull away UConn fought back to keep themselves alive. Down 14 points in the fourth quarter however, they needed a stop.
With 11 minutes left, Landry Jones and company finally began to hammer down the nail in the coffin. Jones drove the Sooners down the field on a 10 play, 88 yard drive which featured two enormous third down conversions. This all resulted in Jones 5 yard touchdown pass to Ryan Broyles in the corner of the end zone.
With the score extended to 41-20, Bob Stoops and the Sooners could finally breathe a little easier. Connecticut never seriously threatened after this point.
– Landry Jones, Okla, QB: 34/49, 429 yards, 3 TD’s, INT
– Ryan Broyles, Okla, WR: 13 receptions, 170 yards, TD (all while puking his brains out)
What It Means:
It was a sour end to UConn’s magical run. The final score is not indicative of how competitive or close this game was. Randy Edsall’s team battled tooth and nail with the Sooners, and showed no signs of nerves playing on the big stage of a BCS bowl.
Jordan Todman (32 carries, 121 yards) put together another outstanding effort – but it wasn’t enough. The Huskies offense as a whole stalled too many times. There were too many poor throws by Zach Frazer, and too many dropped passes by receivers. For the second straight game the offense failed to score a touchdown.
Defensively the Huskies did everything they could. They managed to make a few big plays, but in the end could not get the big stop. Jones, Broyles and DeMarco Murray proved to be too much.
There is no such thing as a moral victory, but the experience of playing on this stage is priceless for a UConn program which isn’t even a decade old when it comes to playing FBS football.
It did add insult to injury when Jordan Todman announced right after the game that he’s forgoing his senior season and will be entering the NFL draft. Todman will be missed, that’s for sure, but Randy Edsall has this team going in the right direction. Playing in the Fiesta Bowl against a traditional power such as Oklahoma is a phenomenal building block.
Speaking of the Sooners, they break their 0-5 mark in BCS bowls. It wasn’t a perfect game for Bob Stoops’ bunch, but they got the win and that’s all that matters.
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