TCU vs. Michigan State

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Two strangers, TCU and Michigan State, who have not met on the gridiron since 1953, clash in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl at Arizona State University’s Sun Devil Stadium on December 29.

“As we kick off our first major sponsorship with this bowl game, we extend our congratulations to the TCU Horned Frogs and the Michigan State Spartans,” said Kathy Benning, Buffalo Wild Wings executive vice president, global brand and business development. “We have long been a game-day destination, and on Dec. 29, the destination will be Tempe, Arizona. We look forward to welcoming college football fans, students and alumni to what we predict will be an exciting match up.”

The Big 12 Conference Horned Frogs appear in their eighth consecutive bowl game and the 11th since Gary Patterson became head coach in 2001. Ranked no. 17 nationally in early polling, TCU climbed as high as no. 13 before losing three of four games in October. The young Frogs have played more true freshmen (16) than it has scholarship seniors (11). They are tied for the national lead for most combined true and redshirt freshmen (28).

Fielding a young but staunch defense, TCU held six opponents to season-low point totals — Grambling State (0), Kansas (6), Virginia (7), Baylor (21), Kansas State (23) and Texas (13). The Frogs led the Big 12 in several defensive categories — total defense (332.0 yards per game), passes intercepted (21), third-down defense (29.6 pct.), rushing defense (103.9 yards per game), first downs allowed (17.3 per game) and turnovers gained (31). Only three teams (Baylor, Oklahoma State, Oklahoma) topped 400 yards total offense against TCU.

Since 2005, TCU’s 84-18 (.824) composite record is the second-best mark in the nation. Also, TCU is one of just three schools (Florida, Utah) to win at least six bowl games in the last seven seasons.

The Big Ten Conference Spartans marched through a harrowing gauntlet of close games in a schedule ranked the Big Ten’s toughest and fifth most difficult in the nation. Nine of Michigan State’s 2012 opponents competed in bowl games a year ago and eight of the 112 are bowl eligible this season. Only one of MSU’s six losses was more than four points. Its five conference losses came by just 13 combined points.

The Spartans entered the season ranked no. 13 in two polls, MSU’s highest preseason ranking since 1979.

Michigan State led the Big Ten in several defensive categories — scoring defense (16.3 points per game), total defense (273.2 yards per game), rushing defense (99.6 yards per game), and opponent third-down conversions (30.9 pct.).

The Spartans have appeared in eight bowl games since 2001. Their senior class owns a 34-18 records since 2009, the second most wins by any senior class in the 116-year history of Michigan State football. Since 2008, MSU has won 27 conference games, most in the Big Ten.

TCU-Michigan State All-Time Series
Michigan State defeated TCU 26-19 on October 10, 1953 in East Lansing in the only previous meeting between the two schools.

TCU & Michigan State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
TCU: Making first Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl appearance.
Michigan State: Making first Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl appearance

This Season
TCU (7-5, 4-5 Big 12 Conference): Appearing in eighth consecutive bowl game and 11th in 12 years since Gary Patterson became head coach in 2001 … opened the season ranked no. 17 in the USA Today preseason poll … climbed as high as no. 13 before losing three of four games from Oct. 6-27 … 2-3 in five games against ranked opponents, all in the final six games of the season … six of TCU’s opponents this season scored a season-low point total against the Frogs: Grambling State (0), Kansas (6), Virginia (7), Baylor (21), Kansas State (23) and Texas (13) … TCU has played more true freshman (16) than it has scholarship seniors (11) and is tied with Texas for the most true freshman played in the nation… the Frogs are tied for the national lead in most combined true and redshirt freshman (28) played … TCU’s perfect completion percentage (17-17) vs. Grambling State in the season opener set an NCAA record for most pass attempts without an incompletion … led the Big 12 in several defensive categories, including total defense (332.0 ypg), passes intercepted (21), third-down defense (29.6 pct), rushing defense (103.9 ypg), first downs allowed (17.3 per game) and turnovers gained (31) … only three teams — Baylor (432), Oklahoma State (47), and Oklahoma, (421) — topped 400 yards total offense vs. the Frogs … defense did not allow a touchdown until the fourth quarter of the third game.

Michigan State (6–6, 3–5 Big Ten Conference): Appearing in eighth bowl game since 2001 … opened the season 3-1 in non-conference play but lost five of their eight Big Ten games by 13 combined points, a stretch that included three ranked opponents (Ohio State, Michigan, Nebraska) … 1–4 vs. five ranked opponents with the lone win coming vs. Boise State in week one … only non-conference defeat was a 20-3 loss to Notre Dame, the Spartans only loss of more than four points … based on cumulative opposition, MSU possessed the Big Ten’s toughest schedule and the nation’s fifth-most difficult slate … nine of Michigan State’s 2012 opponents competed in bowl games last season and eight of the 12 are bowl eligible this season … one of three teams in the FBS to play three ranked opponents before October 1 (Boise State, Notre Dame, Ohio State), the first time the Spartans had done so since 1987 … entered the season ranked no. 13 in the AP and USA Today Preseason polls, MSU’s highest preseason ranking since 1979 (no. 10) … 2-5 in home games, only their 10th losing season in Spartan Stadium’s 89-year history and the first since 2006 … led the Big Ten in several defensive categories, including scoring defense (16.3 ppg), total defense (273.2 ypg), rushing defense (99.6 ypg) and opponent third-down conversions (30.9 pct.) … also ranked second in the conference in pass defense efficiency (99.0) and third in passing defense (173.7 ypg).

TCU Thumbnail
TCU’s 29th bowl appearance (13-14-1) … 15 conference championships, including four Mountain West titles in seven seasons in the conference … appeared in a bowl game in a school-record eight consecutive years, 12 of the last 13 years and 14 of the last 16 campaigns … since 2005, TCU’s 84-18 (.824) composite record is the second-best mark in the nation … TCU is one of just three schools (Florida, Utah) to win at least six bowl games in the last seven seasons … one of only 20 schools to win multiple national championships (1935, ’38) and produce a Heisman Trophy winner (Davey O’Brien, 1938) … since the NCAA began tracking statistics in 1937, TCU is one of two programs (Alabama) to lead the nation in total defense at least five times, all in the last 12 seasons … the Frogs boast a 24-3 record (.889) in road and neutral-site games since 2009, the third-best mark in the nation … the 2012 senior class boasts a 43-8 record, including a 3-1 mark vs. top-five ranked opponents, 2-1 in bowl games and 19-5 at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

Michigan State Thumbnail
The Spartans have appeared in eight bowl games since 2001, including a triple-overtime win over 18th-ranked Georgia in last year’s Outback Bowl … last year’s win was their first in a bowl game since defeating Fresno State in the 2001 Silicon Valley Bowl … 8-14 in 22 bowl games and 3-9 in their last 12 bowl appearances dating to the 1993 Liberty Bowl … Michigan State has played 1,124 games since beginning football in 1896 with an overall record of 644–436–44 (.593) … 367–283–13 (.563) in 60 seasons of Big Ten action … the senior class owns a 34-18 (.654) record since 2009, the second most wins by any senior class in the 116-year history of Michigan State football … won 27 conference games since 2008, the most of any Big Ten team … 127-34-1 (.787) since 1990 when it scores 24 or more points … shared Big Ten title in 2010 (Wisconsin) and won the inaugural Big Ten Legends Division title in 2011.

TCU Head Coach Gary Patterson
The winningest coach in TCU history leads the Horned Frogs to their school-record eighth consecutive bowl game and 14th postseason contest in 16 years … completing 12th season as TCU’s head coach … boasts a career 116-35 (.768) regular-season record and is 7-4 in bowl appearances … one of just eight active coaches to win 100 games at their current schools, four of whom coach in the Big 12 (Kansas State’s Bill Snyder, Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops, Texas’ Mack Brown) … the Frogs have won seven conference titles with Patterson on staff in addition to posting nine of the school’s 13 10-win seasons … after just three winning seasons in 13 years (1985-97), TCU has won 75.8 percent (141-45) of its games since Patterson arrived on campus as the defensive coordinator in 1998 … led the Horned Frogs to back-to-back BCS appearances in 2009-10, including the 2011 Rose Bowl championship … guided TCU to a 13-0 record in 2010, the school’s first perfect campaign since winning the national championship in 1938 … in 2009, Patterson was selected for nine national coaching honors, including the Associated Press, Eddie Robinson and Walter Camp Coach of the Year awards after leading the Horned Frogs to a 12-1 record, a no. 6 ranking and a Tostitos Fiesta Bowl appearance … named Conference USA’s Coach of the Year in 2002 and twice won coach of the year honors in the Mountain West Conference (2005, ’09).

Michigan State Head Coach Mark Dantonio
Completing ninth season as a head coach and his sixth campaign at the Michigan State helm … career head-coaching record of 68-45 (.602) … 50–28 (30-18 Big Ten) at Michigan State and has led the Spartans to six consecutive bowl appearances for the first time in school history … boasts 27 conference wins since 2008, the most of any Big Ten team … lifetime 2–4 record in bowl games, including a 1-2 mark in three January bowl games … Big Ten Conference Coach of the Year in 2010 after leading the Spartans to a school-record 11 wins and a share of their first Big Ten championship since 1990 … 31-11 (.738) record at Spartan Stadium, including wins in 16 of the last 21 home games … former three-year head coach of the University of Cincinnati (2004-06), becaming the second head coach in Bearcats’ history to lead the school to a bowl game in his first season … served as the Ohio State defensive coordinator head coach Jim Tressel and for three seasons (2001-03), helping the Buckeyes to a combined 32-6 record and a national championship in 2002 … six-year assistant coach at Michigan State (1995-2000) under Nick Saban (1995-99) and Bobby Williams (2000).