"Fear the Frog"? More like "Lick the Toad".
TCU brought plenty of bravado when it arrived in Glendale, Ariz., for the week-long festivities leading up to Monday night's Fiesta Bowl.
Boise State simply brought its game.
The Broncos' experience on the big stage clearly showed Monday night in a 17-10 victory over the Horned Frogs for BSU's second Fiesta Bowl victory in four years. Boise State became only the second team in FBS history to finish 14-0, joining the 2002 Ohio State Buckeyes.
TCU came in with the nation's top-ranked defense, but it was the Broncos who came up with three interceptions and held their foes to some 30 points under their scoring average. BSU cornerback Brandyn Thompson set the tone with his 51-yard interception return for a touchdown less than four minutes into the game.
The Broncos coaching staff then made a typical perfectly-timed gutsy call with a fake punt in the fourth quarter and the game tied at 10. Punter Kyle Brotzman threw a 29-yard pass to Kyle Efaw on 4th-and-9 to the TCU 38.
That set up Doug Martin's two-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth for the game-winning score.
The Frogs, who talked the talk before the game, couldn't hop the hop. First it was coach Gary Patterson who said the Mountain West Conference didn't need Boise State to reach BCS status because the conference already was making its case to be included.
Then linebacker Daryl Washington said that TCU was going to have its way with Broncos quarterback Kellen Moore. The sophomore didn't exactly have his way with the Horned Frogs, going 23-for-39 for 211 yards and no TDs.
But he didn't have any interceptions, either.
TCU QB Andy Dalton had three, not to mention a bobbled snap, and the Horned Frogs offense made a lot of mistakes as a unit and simply could not get in sync against the Broncos.
Boise State held TCU's fifth-ranked rushing offense to 36 yards—220.5 below its average. Stubbornly, the Frogs stayed committed to it when Dalton brought them back from a 10-0 deficit through the air.
TCU's first foray into college football's big-time postseason ended badly but will serve as valuable experience for the future. Ironically, Boise State visited TCU in the offseason to learn about defensive philosophies and concepts.
The Horned Frogs should've had their own notepads of how to play in big games. A 12-1 record will look and feel better in 10 years than it does right now.
That's of small consolation to TCU.
Most college football know-it-alls—like the author of this article—foolishly thought the Horned Frogs had too much talent on both sides of the ball and was too seasoned by its regular season schedule for the Broncos to compete.
We were wrong. But Boise State must be used to us by now. I wonder if they're starting to tire of making us eat our words.