2011 SDCCU Poinsettia - TCU 31, La Tech 24

Posted Dec 21, 2011

2011-2012 Bowls - CFN's Preview & Prediction for the 2011 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia

2011 SDC Credit Union Poinsettia

TCU 31, Louisiana Tech 24

- 2011-2012 CFN Bowl Central

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National Rankings
T   L
28th Total Offense 49th
32nd Total Defense 55th
9th Scoring Offense 41st
30th Scoring Defense 34th
20th Rushing Offense 70th
29th Run Defense 25th
60th Passing Offense 45th
56th Passing Defense 96th
42nd Turnover Margin 11th
Position Rankings
relative to each other
5 Highest - 1 Lowest
T   L
5 Quarterbacks 3
5 RBs 3
4 Receivers 3
4.5 O Line 4
4 D Line 4
5 Linebackers 4
3 Secondary 2.5
4 Spec Teams 3.5
5 Coaching 3.5
TCU 31 … Louisiana Tech 24
- CFN Thoughts on the Game

TCU: The Horned Frogs held on to the ball for 36:28. … QB Casey Pachall completed 15-of-29 passes for 206 yards with a touchdown and a pick, and he ran for 31 yards. … Ed Wesley ran 16 times for 77 yards and a score. … Josh Boyce led the Horned Frogs with 5 catches for 66 yards, but Skye Dawson caught four passes for 85 yards and the game-winning scoring pass. … Anson Kelton averaged 43.8 yards with two put inside the 20 on five kicks.

Louisiana Tech: QB Colby Cameron completed 21-of-43 passes for 264 yards and two scores with a pick. … Hunter Lee ran 20 times for 64 yards and a score. … WR Myles White caught seven passes for 110 yards and a score, and Quinton White caught five passes for 67 yards and a score. … Ryan Allen averaged 43.2 yards per punt with two put inside the 20. … LB Jay Dudley made ten tackles with a tackle for loss.

(AP) SAN DIEGO -- Casey Pachall and the TCU Horned Frogs are headed to the Big 12 Conference on an eight-game winning streak.

Pachall highlighted a record-setting game with a 42-yard touchdown pass to Skye Dawson with 4:26 left to lift No. 16 TCU to a 31-24 victory against Louisiana Tech in the Poinsettia Bowl on Wednesday night.

It was the eighth straight victory for Mountain West Conference champion TCU (11-2), which moves to the Big 12 next year. It was the third time this season TCU overcame a fourth-quarter deficit to win, including a 36-35 victory at Boise State on Nov. 12, the Broncos' only loss.

"It feels great because it's going to give us a lot of momentum," Pachall said. "As a young team, no one expected us to get this far."

Pachall was 15 of 29 for 206 yards. He set school single-season records with 228 completions, 2,921 yards and a completion percentage of 66.5, breaking marks previously held by Andy Dalton.

On the winning play, the sophomore took the snap in the shotgun and Dawson ran past safety Chad Boyd to pull in the long pass.

Pachall said he changed the play when he saw a blitz coming.

"It was a great catch by Skye and a touchdown," the QB said.

"Once I saw single coverage, I pretty much knew I could get by the guy," Dawson said. "You have to secure the ball and get in the end zone."

TCU is 3-0 in the Poinsettia Bowl.

The Horned Frogs, who beat Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl last season, had hoped to make it to a BCS bowl for the third straight season.

"It didn't turn out the way we expected or how we wanted it to but we came out with a win," Dawson said."

Western Athletic Conference champion Louisiana Tech (8-5) had its seven-game winning streak snapped hours after coach Sonny Dykes agreed to a contract extension through 2017.

TCU tied the game at 24 on Luke Shivers' 1-yard run with 7:49 left that capped an 18-play, 72-yard drive that consumed 9 minutes, 21 seconds. A replay review took away one yard on a completion from Pachall to Matthew Tucker to bring up a fourth-and-1 from the Bulldogs' 9-yard line. Tucker gained six yards for the first down. On third-and-goal from the 8, a pass interference call against the Bulldogs in the end zone gave TCU a first down on the 2. Shivers scored two plays later.

The Bulldogs had to punt on their next drive and TCU scored the go-ahead touchdown six plays later.

Louisiana Tech seemed to have the momentum after turning two TCU turnovers into scores in the third quarter to take a 24-17 lead.

TCU's Brandon Carter fumbled a punt that was recovered on the 12, setting up Hunter Lee's 2-yard run that tied the game at 17.

Quinn Giles intercepted a pass from Pachall on the Louisiana Tech 39-yard line. Three plays later, Myles White made a sensational one-handed, over-the-shoulder catch of a 61-yard pass from Colby Cameron for a touchdown and a 24-17 lead.

White reached up for the ball with his right hand and pulled it in.

"I tracked the ball late," he said. "I reached out and by the grace of God it kind of fell into my body. I thought we were going to bust the game open from that point."

The teams traded field goals in the first half before Quinton Patton pulled in a 2-yard TD pass from Cameron. The play originally was ruled an incompletion, but was overturned after video review. Patton got one foot inbounds before tumbling out of the side of the end zone.

"I felt like we had the best of them in the first half," White said. "Against good teams, you can't be lackadaisical against them."

Late in the first half, TCU cornerback Greg McCoy jumped a route, intercepted Cameron and returned it 25 yards to the Bulldogs' 25. Four plays later, Ed Wesley ran 7 yards up the gut to tie the game at 10.

"They were hitting us in the mouth in the first half and we had to counter," Dawson said.

TCU had 190 yards rushing.

"I was a little disappointed in the way we played tonight," Dykes said. "I wish we would have played better. I think we would have had a good opportunity to win. But they made plays down the stretch when they needed to and we didn't."

TCU (10-2) vs. Louisiana Tech (8-4) Dec. 21, 8 pm, ESPN

Here's The Deal … Don't worry, TCU, soon you'll be invited past the velvet rope.

Just when you think TCU might have earned enough stripes to get the BCS benefit of the doubt, it gets rudely shoved out of the mix by not getting a chance to play in one of the big money games. The human polls weren't strong enough, and the computers didn't give the Horned Frogs enough credit for winning the Mountain West title and handing Boise State its only loss – at home, no less – and now they have to go from beating Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl to playing Louisiana Tech in the Poinsettia Bowl just a year later.

Next year, TCU will move on to the Big 12 and it'll have its own BCS fates in its hands on a yearly basis, but for now, the team needs to put a cap on an interesting season by winning its sixth bowl game in seven years.

The Horned Frogs were out of the spotlight almost instantly, as Robert Griffin set the foundation for his Heisman run by going ballistic. What everyone forgets, though, was that Casey Pachall and TCU scored 25 points in the fourth and almost pulled off the comeback win. The loss to SMU wasn't a plus, but it came in overtime, meaning TCU was roughly two plays away from being undefeated and playing for the national title. Instead, it's in the Poinsettia.

For Louisiana Tech, it's happy just getting an extra game. It's just the sixth bowl game in school history and the first since beating Northern Illinois in the 2008 Independence. Head coach Sonny Dykes might not have the dynamic and explosive offense many were thinking he'd install, but while Tech isn't Texas Tech, it comes in as one of the hottest teams in America winning seven straight and winning the WAC title after starting out the season 1-4. But while Nevada, Hawaii, and Fresno State are moving on to bigger and better things in the Mountain West, Tech is still stuck in the WAC – for now.

This is a Conference USA program sitting in the WAC, but there haven't been any feelers yet to move into a better geographic location. Could a win over TCU get the ball rolling? Realignment and expansion is just that flaky, and if the Bulldogs can show they're on the rise, that might be enough.

Beating Ole Miss in Oxford didn't' get much national play, and while five of the seven wins in the streak were on the road, there wasn't any national buzz whatsoever. This is the chance to show off a terrific defense that improved by leaps and bounds over the last few years, and it's a chance for Louisiana Tech to come up with one of its biggest wins in several seasons.

The Poinsettia Bowl has had a rough start with blowouts in four of the first six games including last year's 35-14 San Diego State pasting over Navy. TCU is 2-0 in the game, including a BCS-level 17-16 win over Boise State in 2008. TCU will show up, and it's up to Louisiana Tech to prove it's ready for the big time.

Why TCU Might Win: TCU might have too much firepower. The defense started to come around, even if it wasn't exactly TCU-like, but the offense was cranking out points throughout the year scoring 31 or more in every game but one – a 27-14 win over San Diego State. The passing game is ultra-efficient, the ground attack unstoppable at times, and the offensive line jelling over the second half of the year with great game after great game. Louisiana Tech might have a solid defense, but the offense hasn't been consistent, scoring more than 27 points just five times with one a 48-42 overtime performance against Central Arkansas. If this gets into any sort of a shootout, TCU is far better equipped.

Yes, the Louisiana Tech defense has been doing a great job, and yes, the run defense led the WAC giving up just 122 yards per game, but the teams that could run, did. Nevada rumbled for 253 yards and a score and Utah State and its spread ran for 166 yards and two touchdowns. TCU is second in the nation in third down efficiency behind Georgia Tech, while the Bulldogs are 94th, converting just 36.8% of the time. The Horned Frogs might just keep the ball away from Tech on long marches. However …

Why Louisiana Tech Might Win: … the Bulldog defense has been fantastic at getting off the field, ranking 11th in the nation in third down defense allowing teams to convert a mere 32.5% of their chances. Veteran defensive end Matt Broha and the front four have been terrific at getting into the backfield time and again, and while the D hasn't faced too many great running teams, it has only allowed eight touchdown runs on the year with two coming against Houston and two more against Utah State. The pass rush is in place to get to Pachall on a regular basis and force enough third down misfires to help out the offense; Louisiana Tech has cranked out 16 sacks in the last four games.

TCU is normally great at hanging on to the ball and forcing mistakes, and it wasn't bad this year, but the Bulldogs thrived on winning the turnover battle. There were two fumbles in the 44-0 regular season finale against New Mexico State, but that was coming off a stretch six games with just one fumble. On the other side, the defense has been a killer at takeaways with a whopping 17 turnovers in the last five games. Tech has been good at keeping the penalties to a minimum, the special teams have been strong, and team doesn't make a slew of mistakes; it does the little things right.

What To Watch Out For: Andy Dalton is turning in one of the greatest seasons in NFL history by a rookie quarterback, but Casey Pachall might be showing even more promise. The 6-4, 208-pound sophomore has the dual-threat ability to run if needed, but he has proven to become a whale of a passer throwing for an efficient 2,715 yards and 24 touchdowns with just six picks. The talent is there - several of the big name big boys wanted him – and now the one-time superstar recruit can close out with a bang and become one of the hot players going into 2012.

Louisiana Tech senior Adrien Cole is closing out a great career with the spotlight he has deserved for a few years. A huge hitter with nice range, he gets in on every stop and did more than ever to get into the backfield with 15 tackles for loss to go along with 121 stops. With 324 career tackles, three blocked kicks, six sacks, and against New Mexico State his first interception – for a 45-yard score – the WAC Defensive Player of the Year can do it all.

TCU senior linebacker Tank Carder will be forever known for batting down the two-point conversion attempt to seal the win over Wisconsin, but the two time Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year has done more throughout his career. With 6-3, 237-pound size, peerless instincts, and big-time hitting ability, he's a perfect fit for the middle, finishing the season with 66 tackles seven tackles for loss, and two picks for touchdowns. His stats might not be through the roof, but he's the ultimate playmaker.

What Will Happen: TCU will have too much offense. Louisiana Tech will hardly be a pushover, but the Horned Frogs aren't going to mail this in with the lines good enough to win the battle up front and the offensive balance too much for the Bulldogs to keep up with. Pachall will be terrific, Ed Wesley will run for 100 yards, and TCU will close out its Mountain West era with a solid, convincing win.

CFN Prediction: TCU 34 … Louisiana Tech 20
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: TCU -11   O/U: 55.5 

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How will TCU handle playing in this after it's seen Pasadena? If the Horned Frogs come out flat, they could be shocked by the quietly hot Bulldogs. Sonny Dykes has done a great job.

By Richard Cirminiello 
From dreams of playing in New Orleans to facing a team from Ruston, this will be a colossal letdown for the Horned Frogs.

By Matt Zemek
This is definitely a game in which the outcome will be determined solely by how much the favorite (TCU) cares.

By: Barrett Sallee
Follow me on Twitter: @BarrettSallee  
TCU narrowly missed out on the BCS. Do you see a let down from the Horned Frogs? I wouldn't totally discount it.

By Russ Mitchell
You think that TCU cares that Virginia Tech is playing in a BCS Bowl Game? Don't sleep on La Tech.

By Terry Johnson
How will TCU's vaunted ground game fare against a Bulldog defense that limits its opponents to a paltry 3.4 yards per carry?

By Phil Harrison
Follow me on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFN
TCU should probably be playing in a better bowl, but such is its existence prior to live in the Big 12.
Best Bowl Moments

Best Bulldog Bowl Moment: Louisiana Tech's bowl history consists of five appearances and just two victories, but the 2008 Independence Bowl was an ugly slog of a survival act. Tech's better triumph was its virginal bowl victory more than three decades ago. Bulldog quarterback Keith Thibodeaux was the MVP of the 1977 Independence Bowl against Louisville, throwing two touchdown passes in a 21-point first quarter outburst. Tech held on for a 24-14 victory to finish that season 9-1-2.

Best Horned Frog Bowl Moment: Generations before the current Frogs were even out of diapers, TCU was winning Southwest and national titles in the 1930s with All-Americans, such as Sammy Baugh and Davey O'Brien. O'Brien's 1938 TCU team capped off a perfect season with a 15-7 Sugar Bowl victory over then- No. 5 Carnegie Tech. Yes, that win deserves just as much praise as last season's 2011 Rose Bowl triumph over Wisconsin.

Poinsettia Bowl History
2010 San Diego State 35, Navy 17
2009 Utah 37, California 27
2008 TCU 17, Boise St 16
2007 Utah 35, Navy 32
2006 TCU 37, Northern Illinois 7
2005 Navy 51, Colorado State 30

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