The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl was all about defense, only the defense that prevailed was not the expected one.
No. 6 Boise State finishes a perfect 14-0 with a 17-10 victory over No. 4 TCU.
How the game was won: Boise State's defense proved more than a match for TCU's vaunted crew, holding the Horned Frogs to just 308 yards -- 161 below their season average of 469 yards per game -- while Broncos coach Chris Petersen again reached into his bag of trickeration for a gutsy fake punt from his own 33, which set up the game-winning touchdown drive.
Turning point: With the score knotted at 10-10, and neither team doing much on offense, Boise State faced a fourth-and-9 from its own 33 with 9:47 left. Not a place -- or time -- most teams would be willing to take a risk. But Petersen called for a fake punt, and tight end Kyle Efaw was wide open down the middle for a pass from punter Kyle Brotzman that gained 29 yards to the TCU 38. Boise State's offense then caught fire, with three Kellen Moore passes putting the Broncos on the TCU 2-yard line, and Doug Martin flipping into the end zone for what would prove to be the game-winning score.
Stat of the game: 36 yards. That's how many rushing yards TCU had. The Horned Frogs entered the Fiesta Bowl ranked fifth in the nation in rushing, with an average of 256.5 yards per game
Player of the game: The Boise State defense. TCU was supposed to be the defensive powerhouse -- ranking No. 1 in the nation in total defense --- but the game belonged to Broncos defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox's crew, which held the Frogs to just 308 total yards. That offense ranked No. 4 in the nation with 469 yards per game. TCU was 1 of 12 on third down.
Unsung hero of the game: Boise State punter Kyle Brotzman. Brotzman punted eight times and averaged 44.4 yards per boot, including a 55-yard punt that pinned TCU on its 1-yard line on its final possession with 1:06 left. He also completed the pass on the critical fake punt that changed the tide of the game.
What it means: It means Boise State wins the national championship -- for non-automatically qualifying teams. It means TCU falls short of its dream season, a run that was dominant until it was stopped by a bunch of hungry Broncos. Boise State, which finishes a perfect 14-0, will finish ranked in the final top five, its highest-ever ranking.