TCU, Michigan State in Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — There might not be anything wild going on at the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
Well, at least not on offense.
In its first season with a new name, the bowl could have a decidedly defensive feel when TCU and Michigan State meet at Sun Devil Stadium on Dec. 29.
"Both teams have outstanding defenses," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. "But you never know how games are going to play out."
Oklahoma and Iowa were locked in a defensive struggle in last year's game, then known as the Insight Bowl, before the Sooners pulled away for a 31-14 victory.
This one could be even lower-scoring.
Playing the nation's fifth-toughest schedule, Michigan State (6-6) finished the regular season fourth in total defense, allowing 273.2 yards per game. The Spartans finished 10th in scoring defense, giving up 16.3 points per game.
TCU (7-5) was 18th nationally in total defense, allowing 332 yards per game, and held six of its 12 opponents to season-low scoring while giving up 23.8 points per game.
It has to keep up in the bowl game, right? Well, not everyone agrees on that.
"I've always said be careful what you wish for, what you talk about, because it usually changes when you give two teams a month to prepare for a ballgame," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "They said when I played in the Rose Bowl it was going to be a scoring fest. It ended up 21-19. For us, we want to find a way to win the ballgame."
TCU had an up-and-down first season in the Big 12.
Playing more true freshmen (16) than seniors (11), the Horned Frogs won their first four games, then lost three of four, including a 56-53 shootout in triple overtime to Texas Tech.
TCU bounced back to beat West Virginia in double overtime in another wild game to become bowl eligible, then picked up another big win by beating Texas in Austin on Nov. 24 before closing out the season with a 24-17 loss to Oklahoma.
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