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December 2, 2012

It's MSU vs TCU in Tempe

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    EAST LANSING - Michigan State accepted a bid Sunday evening to play Texas Christian University in the Buffalo WIld Wings Bowl, on Nov. 29 at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe, Ariz.

    Kickoff is set for 10:15 p.m EST, and will be televised on ESPN.

    TCU (7-5) finished in a tie for fifth place in the Horned Frogs' first season in the Big 12.

    TCU won at least 11 games every season between 2008 and 2011 in rising as a national power in the Mountain West Conference, including a 13-0 season in 2010 with a Rose Bowl victory over Wisconsin, finished ranked No. 2 in the country.

    Their run of success resulted in being invited to the Big 12 in 2012.

    This marks the sixth straight season in which Michigan State plays in a bowl game, the longest streak in program history.

    Michigan State (6-6) will try to win its second straight bowl game under Mark Dantonio. The Spartans upended Georgia in overtime at the Outback Bowl last season.

    The Spartans earned bowl eligibility with a 26-10 victory at Minnesota last weekend.

    "When we played at Minnesota we were standing on the edge of that cliff and you had to make a decision on how hard you were going to play and what was going to happen," Dantonio said Sunday night. "Nothing is a done deal, I hope everybody understands that. All you have to do is look at last night's (Big Ten Championship) football game to understand that. A year ago we were playing in that football game and there was a lot of disappointment tonight, a year ago. Disappointment is part of life, it is how you handle it and that you move forward."

    Despite playing in a lesser bowl game this year, there is less disappointment within the Spartan program on this night.

    "It is a fresh season," Dantonio said. "It is about competing and I can tell you that we have a lot of Spartans and a lot of people will come to our football games. That is just the nature of this program, whether they come from California, Arizona, Colorado or from the Michigan area or the Midwest. I think Michigan State fans will show up, they always have."

    Players will focus on final exams in the coming days. Last week, MSU coaches traveled for recruiting.

    "We've given our guys an opportunity to step away from football for a week," Dantonio said. "We will get them back involved next weekend. This does sort of take your football level down a little bit, concentrate on school and get away from it.

    "I think one of the most important parts of any program is can you keep your players fresh? Can you keep them energized for a full 13, 14 weeks? Sometimes this gives them that opportunity. We've had great experiences at bowl games off the field and we will continue to do that. Our focus will be to win.

    Putting another trophy in the case at the Skandalaris Center will be a source of motivation, as will finishing on the plus side of .500.

    "It's big, it defines and winning program and a losing program for that year," Dantonio said. "We want to make sure that it is on the front end, the winning end."

    TCU's first rose to national prominence in the 1930s when the Frogs were a member of the powerful Southwest Conference, along with Texas, Arkansas, Texas A&M and others.

    TCU won a share of the 1935 National Championship and the outright National Championship in 1938, behind the arm of Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Davey O'Brien.

    When the Southwest Conference disbanded in 1996 and members merged with the Big 8 to form the Big 12, TCU was not invited. TCU has since risen to power under coach Gary Patterson. He is 115-34 as head coach of the Horned Frogs, dating back to 2002 when he took over after Dennis Franchione left to become head coach at Alabama.

    TCU is 13-14-1 all-time in bowl games.

    The Horned Frogs have won six of their last seven bowl games, including a 31-24 victory over Louisiana Tech in last year's Poinsettia Bowl.

    TCU lost to Boise State, 17-10, three seasons ago in the Fiesta Bowl.

    Prior to that, TCU won four straight bowl games:

  • 27-24 vs. Iowa State in the 2005 Houston Bowl.

  • 37-7 vs. Northern Illinois in the 2006 Poinsettia Bowl.

  • 20-13 vs. Houston in the 2007 Texas Bowl.

  • 17-16 vs. Boise State in the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl.




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