NCF Nation: Tostitos Fiesta Bowl 2009 bowls

1. Boise State’s 17-10 defeat of TCU in the Fiesta Bowl proved there’s something to be said for having been there before. The Broncos played a solid, unspectacular game on offense and great defense. The Horned Frogs looked tight from the beginning and never relaxed. Boise State used only one trick play but the fourth-quarter fake punt blew open the game. Those of us who advocated TCU for the BCS National Championship Game don’t look so bright.

2. Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram said he knew his life had changed when he people stopped him for an autograph or a cell-phone photo in cities like Atlanta or Chicago. The Alabama sophomore said he wasn’t ashamed that he cried on national television as he accepted the trophy. The emotion overwhelmed him. When was the last time he cried? Ingram thought. “I don’t know. Probably gettin’ a whuppin’ or something when I was little,” he said.

3. In Rich Brooks’ case, the numbers not only fail to tell the story, they flat out lie. In 25 seasons as a head coach at Oregon and Kentucky, Brooks went 130-156-4 (.455). That winning percentage would get you fired in most places. But Brooks took hollowed-out programs, tore them down and built them back up. At both schools, his best years came at the end of his tenure. Brooks retired Monday and college football is a less talented place.

TCU will use this as motivation

January, 5, 2010
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- If there’s one thing that TCU could learn from Boise State after Monday’s Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, it’s that losing is a powerful motivation.

[+] EnlargeAndy Dalton
Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesTCU and junior quarterback Andy Dalton can use Boise State as a model for what they can do next season.
The Broncos lost to the Horned Frogs 17-16 in the Poinsettia Bowl last year and spent the entire offseason using “one point” as motivation. Several players said their goal was to use that loss and turn it into a positive the following season. The Broncos did with a 17-10 win over the Horned Frogs in the Fiesta Bowl.

Now, it’s TCU’s turn to use this game as motivation for 2010.

“We played a very good Boise State team tonight,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “We came up short. For me, I don’t think that we backed down the mountain at all. It would been nice for us to win. That was our intention. But for me to say that we fell, that we stumbled and fell down, that football team there has only lost one ballgame in two seasons.

“We have a lot of young players. We are losing some good players. If you want to be a great program, not just a great team, which I think is what we’ve become, then we’ll regroup, we’ll move forward and we’ll get ready to go.”

The Horned Frogs lose six starters off this year’s team, but all of the players behind them have playing experience and some have even started games this season. One of those returning players is quarterback Andy Dalton, who had one of the worst games of his career on Monday.

Dalton had been the reason the TCU offense came into the game averaging more than 40 points a game. He ranked fifth in the country in passing efficiency.

But on Monday, all of those stats went by the wayside against a Boise State defense that confused Dalton with several different fronts and looks.

Dalton said losing the Fiesta Bowl doesn't take away from an otherwise great season. The Horned Frogs won the Mountain West title, were ranked higher than ever before and became just the second TCU team to start 12-0.

“We did a lot of good things this year,” Dalton said. “We understand that, but we also have a foul taste in our mouth that we have after this game. All these underclassmen, we’re going to take this and just make it motivation for next year. And hopefully we can really improve and win a big game like this.”
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- When Thursday’s Citi BCS National Championship game is over, there will be two undefeated teams remaining.

[+] EnlargeKellen Moore
Kirby Lee/US PresswireKellen Moore had reason to celebrate after completing 23 of 39 passes for 211 yards in a Boise State victory.
Boise State will be one of them and the controversy will begin.

The Broncos defense shut down No. 4 TCU in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl Monday to not only plant their flag atop of the non-automatic qualifying ranks, but also finish among the nation’s elite.

But do the Broncos deserve to be No. 1 or split the national title? That won’t likely happen, but coach Chris Petersen said his team did everything it was asked to do.

“It is a dream season because we can only beat the teams on our schedule,” Petersen said. “And so we don’t think about anything other than that. One of our goals is to go to a BCS game and then win the bowl game. So both of those things happened and we couldn’t ask for more.”

Because Boise State was ranked sixth in the AP rankings and Florida, which defeated Cincinnati in its bowl game, was ranked fifth, the Broncos will probably finish third when the final polls come out.

Boise State does have the distinction of becoming just the second team to go 14-0 in FBS history. Either Texas or Alabama will join the Broncos after the title game.

The win also sets up the Broncos nicely for next season, especially with just two senior starters lost from this year’s team. Petersen, who acknowledged that he doesn’t like to talk about preseason rankings, said he expects his team to be highly ranked at the start of the 2010 season heading into the opener against Virginia Tech.

The Broncos also play Oregon State and Wyoming, which won its bowl game this season.

“We’ll have a decent ranking coming into the season,” Petersen said. “Preseason rankings, I’ve said this all along, they just don’t mean much to us. Certainly, with the schedule we’re going to play next year, you know, I think we could be ranked low. If we could beat the teams on our schedule, we would jump dramatically. So, you know, we’ll talk about those a long time from right now.”
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

Boise State takes the lead

January, 4, 2010
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- For the second consecutive Fiesta Bowl, Boise State uses a trick play to gain an advantage.

Punter Kyle Brotzman threw a 21-yard pass to Kyle Efaw off a fake punt play to keep a drive alive and ultimately lead to the go-ahead score. Prior to that play, Boise State had been able to do little on offense. Once the trick play was completed, TCU’s defense was back on its heels and Boise State took advantage.

With the way TCU’s offense and Boise State’s defense have been playing, it’s going to be tough tie this up.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- The Tostitos Fiesta Bowl has turned out to be quite the defensive contest.

Boise State has 218 yards of total offense through three quarter and TCU has 203. TCU’s season-low in total offense this season is 388 and Boise State’s is 361 in the opener against Oregon.

Boise State actually has not been tied in the second half this season and has never trailed.

Seems like one of those games where the team with the ball last wins.

No one has seized momentum

January, 4, 2010
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It’s probably too early to say that the momentum of this game has shifted, but it’s apparent that TCU has found something it likes in the Boise State defense.

I think what’s most interesting is that TCU has really gotten away from the run, and a lot of that has to do with the Broncos really bearing down and filling their gaps. The Boise State run defense has played well.

But the Boise State offense hasn't really been able to put together a consistent drive. It’s had some flashes, but penalties and a fumble have really halted their drives.

It really feels like this game is a treadmill. It’s going, but it’s not really getting anywhere.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It’s almost eerie how similar this game is to last year’s Poinsettia Bowl.

Last year, Boise State got out to a big lead and then TCU scored late in the half to make it a game. That’s the same thing that happened in the first half of that game and momentum is definitely on TCU’s side.

The Broncos will get the ball first in the second half in what might be the most important drive of the game.

Turning point: With 49 seconds remaining in the first half, Andy Dalton threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Curtis Clay to cut Boise State’s lead to 10-7.

Stat of the half: TCU has just 28 rushing yards. TCU came into the game as the dominant running team, but the Broncos have been better running the ball with 48 rushing yards, though 18 of those yards came on an end around early in the game.

Best player in the half: Boise State receiver Titus Young is in the midst of a breakout game with 76 yards of total offense in the first half. At one point in the second quarter, he had more yards of total offense than TCU as a team.

Looks a lot like last year

January, 4, 2010
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- History seems to be repeating itself.

A year ago in the Poinsettia Bowl, Boise State jumped out to a 10-0 lead (even stretched it to 13-0) before the Horned Frogs kind of snapped out of their funk and started getting going on both sides of the ball.

The TCU defense has played well, but Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore has played better. He’s had a lot of time in the backfield to deliver some pretty passes, which have put the Broncos in scoring position. The things that are killing Boise State -- and did last year as well -- are the penalties in the red zone.

TCU’s offense has been atrocious, especially the offensive line, which has been penalty-ridden and even snapped a ball over quarterback Andy Dalton’s head.

Boise State has dominated this game and if not for the TCU defense, this could be a lot worse.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Boise State kicker Kyle Brotzman, who missed a 36-yard field goal in the first quarter, has struggled from the left hash this season.

According to the Idaho Statesman, Brotzman is 4-of-11 from the left hash and 13-of-13 from everywhere else on the field.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Through one quarter it’s clear to see that Boise State came to play and TCU did not.

The Broncos have looked good on both sides of the ball and while it’s just 7-0, the Broncos have dominated this game.

Not sure if it’s nerves or just Boise State is the better team, but TCU’s offense needs to get it together or this could start to get ugly.

Dalton injured, returns

January, 4, 2010
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- TCU quarterback Andy Dalton was helped off the field after being slammed on a cornerback blitz. After a few minutes of laying on the field, he jogged off the field under his own power.

Backup Marcus Jackson, played the final play of that series and rushed for seven yards.

Dalton, who came back in the next series after having the wind knocked out of him, has not played well through the first quarter of the game. He’s completed just 3 of 7 passes, thrown a pick-6 and has nearly thrown two other interceptions.

Boise State strikes first

January, 4, 2010
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- So far, TCU quarterback Andy Dalton has not looked sharp in this game.

He shorthanded a pass to Antoine Hicks that cornerback Brandyn Thompson intercepted and ran back 51 yards for the first score of the game. Dalton has nearly thrown three picks in this contest. He needs to settle down if TCU wants to win this game. The defense won't be able to keep Boise State down for long.

This already is looking a lot like last year’s start, which is not the way TCU wanted to kickoff this game.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Boise State receiver Austin Pettis might play in tonight Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, but judging by his pregame warmup, he won’t be that effective.

Pettis ran just a couple routes during warmup and at the end of both he came up a little lame, walked to the sideline or end zone and took off his helmet. He might be able to be a decent red zone threat because his hands still looked good, but he won’t be able to bump and run with the TCU secondary.

It will be interesting to see how Boise State is able to use him in this game.
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Greetings from Glendale and the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

We’re a little more than an hour away from kickoff here at University of Phoenix Stadium and both teams are on the field warming up.

There are a few fans in here, but mostly people are loitering around outside. There’s a lot of orange and blue and a lot of purple, and from the crowd outside and the traffic, it looks like this game will be sold out.

Both teams have pom-poms on their seats throughout the stadium, so it shouldn’t be hard to figure out who’s routing for whom. Word is that the Mountain West ordered about 8,000 pom-poms to put on chairs, but that the Fiesta Bowl told Boise State about the pom-poms and the Broncos purchase 20,000 pom-poms. So, this competition started well before either one of these teams took the field.

This should be a fun game to watch. During last year's meeting between the two teams, turnovers and the lack of the red zone offense really set the tone for the game and so that’s what both teams will be looking to correct tonight.

Boise State receiver Austin Pettis was lightly jogging without a noticeable limp. It will be interesting to see how effective he is and what situations he’s used in throughout the game.