Fiesta Bowl -January 1st
Late Interception Vaults Horned Frogs Over Bearcats in Battle of Unbeatens
TCU 41 Vs. Cincinnati 31
What if there were a playoff?.................
TCU's Gary Patterson was drained after a long week of Bowl preparation and personal awards. He had just been named the Bobby Dodd coach of the year and was wondering if his team was as focused as it needed to be on the Fiesta Bowl.
It turned out that his faith in the team was rewarded as the Horned frogs outlasted Cincinnati in a battle of unbeatens at the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale Arizona. TCU behind the passing of Andy Dalton 18-30 (270) and the rushing tandem of Joseph Turner (13-78) and Matthew Tucker's long 59 yard touchdown scamper through the heart of a surprised Bearcat defense bolted the favored Horned Frogs to a 27 -21 halftime lead.
In the second half the Bearcats started to show former coach Brian Kelly that he might have made a mistake bailing on them for the formerly "Fighting Irish." Andy Dalton took charge in the third quarter 10-11 (125) with a beautiful 27 yard strike to Jeremy Kerley mid way through the third quarter bolting Cincinnati to a 28-27 lead. TCU got the ball back and moved effortlessly down the field but an unfortunate fumble on the 15 going in left the third quarter going toe to toe with another legitimate undefeated team. These playoffs were proving once again that the way to win a national championship is to "earn it' on the field. Both TCU and Cincinnati were looking like good choices as high seeds in the first ever GridIron Gauntlet 16 Team Playoff.
The fourth quarter saw TCU score on a 37 yard fumble recovery that turned into a score and suddenly the score was 34 -28 with 8:00 left in the game. Cincinnati came right back on some nifty running by both Isaiah Pead and beautiful catch and run by Jacob Ramsey to narrow the score to 34 -31 with a 32 yard field goal with 3:29 remaining in the game.
TCU then went three and out and suddenly the nerves at the Fiesta Bowl were at a fever pitch. The Bearcats took over on their own 20 and started to move the ball with purpose right down the field. There was 45 seconds left when the "play" that ruined Cincinnati's season occurred!
Tony Pike rolled out to the right at Bearcat 20 and threw a strike Mardy Hilyard in the end zone nut he juggled the ball as he was hit by a Horned Frog Defender Rafael Priest and the ball popped straight up into Preist's hands with nothing but 103 yards and the Horned Frog end zone ahead. it was 103 yards of nothing but green as Priest crossed the line with 20 seconds left and a victory and date in Miami against number 1 Alabama.
These playoffs were proving to be a major hit with the Bowls (Former BCS Bowl ticket prices were 30% higher on StubHub), TV Networks (Fox and ESPN were up 40% on viewership), College Presidents (They realized the bowls were enhanced with a playoff and they were making more money), and fans (Former BCS Bowl attendance was completely sold out). It was an idea that was long overdue.
If you want a playoff it is time to stop blogging and start protesting . See you in 2010 as we hit it big time!