TCU lands in Phoenix-area game against Michigan State

12/03/2012 12:15 AM

06/01/2014 12:40 AM

For the fifth consecutive season, TCU is headed west for a bowl.

The Horned Frogs meet Michigan State in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz., at 9:15 p.m. Dec. 29. It will be both teams' first time in the bowl, most recently known as the Insight Bowl.

The Frogs (7-5) take on the Spartans (6-6) at Sun Devil Stadium on the Arizona State campus. The two schools met once before in 1953, when TCU lost 26-19 at Michigan State.

"We're very excited about getting back to Phoenix-Scottsdale area," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "That's something we wanted to do again."

Both teams are anchored by top-ranked defenses. Michigan State ranks fourth in the nation, allowing 273.3 yards per game. TCU leads the offensive-minded Big 12 in defense and ranks 18th nationally, allowing 332 yards per game. MSU is giving up 16.3 points per game, 10th best in the nation, and TCU is 34th at 23.1 points allowed per game.

"That will be our challenge -- to try to produce points against a group that really hasn't given up a lot of points this season," Patterson said.

MSU finished fourth in the Big Ten's Legends Division with a 3-5 record. Eight of the Spartans' games, including five losses, were decided by four points or fewer, including seven in row, which tied an NCAA record.

Michigan State has two wins over Top 25 teams: No. 19 Boise State in the season opener and an overtime win at then-No. 25 Wisconsin on Oct. 27, which snapped the Badgers' 21-game home winning streak. The Spartans lost close games to undefeated teams: No. 1 Notre Dame and No. 3 Ohio State.

TCU earned a bowl berth for a school-record eighth consecutive season. MSU is in a bowl for a school-record sixth consecutive season, including the Outback Bowl last year, when the Spartans beat Georgia 33-30 in triple overtime for MSU's first bowl win since 2001.

TCU won the Poinsettia Bowl last year and has won six of its last seven bowls. The lone loss came in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., to Boise State after the 2009 season.

The last time TCU played a team from the Big Ten was in its 21-19 win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl after the 2010 season. Like the Badgers, MSU features a stout rushing attack. It's led by Le'Veon Bell, who is third in the FBS with 1,648 rushing yards.

"We already knew about Bell," Patterson said. "We have our hands full, obviously. ... We're going to have to physically get ready for this ball game. Both [Wisconsin in 2010 and Michigan State] are very powerful; both can come right at you."

Stefan Stevenson

817-390-7760

Twitter: @FollowtheFrogs

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