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Broncos buck TCU's home crowd

12/24/2003

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Boise State proved it can win a bowl
game away from its blue-turfed home field.

Ryan Dinwiddie, who ended his career as the most efficient
passer in college football, threw for 325 yards and three
touchdowns to lead the Broncos (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP) to a 34-31 win Tuesday night over No. 19 TCU in the inaugural Fort Worth Bowl.

"We wanted to come out and play well against a quality
opponent," Dinwiddie said. "We definitely made this one close and
exciting."

Boise State (13-1) ended the season with 11 straight wins. The
Broncos' only previous bowl games were three wins the previous four
seasons in the Humanitarian Bowl on their campus.

Their bowl win on TCU's campus wasn't secured until sophomore Mike Wynn was well short on a 51-yard field goal attempt, the first kick in his college career, with 7 seconds left.

"It came down to the way it should be ... there is a fine line
between winning and losing, and we knew that coming in," Broncos
coach Dan Hawkins said.

TCU (11-2) had its school-record 13-game home winning streak
snapped. The Frogs had been in contention for a Bowl Championship
Series spot until their only regular-season loss Nov. 20 and then
turned down an invitation to last week's GMAC Bowl because it
conflicted with exams.

Dinwiddie hit 19 of 35 passes with two interceptions, but his
last touchdown was an 18-yarder to Derek Schouman for the winning
score with 12:43 left.

"This shows where we are as a program," Dinwiddie said. "We
played a quality opponent, didn't play our best and still got the
win."

The Broncos have won 24 of their last 25 games.

Dinwiddie finished the season with 4,356 yards passing. In his
career, he threw for 9,818 yards with 82 touchdowns and just 20
interceptions.

The Broncos missed a chance to clinch the game after Gabriel Franklin's diving interception with 5:41 left. He cut in front of receiver Reggie Harrell, snagging the ball just inches off the ground.

But Boise State then went three-and-out, giving the ball back to
TCU with 3:27 left.

TCU converted a fourth-and-10 from its 20 when Brandon Hassell passed to Harrell for 28 yards. The Frogs then converted on a fourth-and-1, when Lonta Hobbs just got the needed yard to the 28
with 40 seconds left.

After three incomplete passes and a penalty, Wynn came on
instead of Nick Browne, the senior who made 28 of 33 field goals
this season, including a 22-yarder earlier in the game. Browne said
a quad he strained in practice last week tightened up during
halftime.

T.J. Acree had eight catches for 150 yards, including a 27-yard touchdown in the first quarter that came just 1:20 after TCU's
opening score.

"We knew this was going to be a tough chore for us coming down here, but our guys had the attitude that we felt we could win,"
Hawkins said.

And TCU did its part to help out. Two fumbles by the Horned
Frogs led to Boise State's 10 second-half points.

On the first play of the second half, Andy Avalos recovered
Robert Merrill's fumble at the TCU 26. Three plays later, Tyler Jones kicked a 37-yard field goal to break the 24-24 halftime tie.

The Horned Frogs responded by going 81 yards in eight plays, the last coming on Hobbs' 7-yard TD run.

But Hobbs, who ran for 117 yards on 23 carries, fumbled early in the fourth quarter when the ball was knocked out by a teammate. Three plays later, Dinwiddie threw the game-winning TD.

Hassell's 21-yard option keeper put the Frogs up 21-7, just four plays after Elvis Gallegos intercepted a pass by Dinwiddie.

But Boise State needed two big plays in two minutes to get even.

Dinwiddie threw a 54-yard TD pass to Jeff Carpenter, a running back who was wide open down the middle of the field. After TCU went three-and-out, David Mickell broke loose for a 75-yard TD run.

"I thought we beat them on both sides of the football. Three big plays beat us," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "There's a
reason they've won a lot of games."

Hassell hit 13 of 26 passes for 160 yards and a touchdown, and ran for 110 yards and a score. Harrell had six catches for 107
yards.
The bowl was sponsored by PlainsCapital.