Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl Quick Hits: Michigan State 17, TCU 16

By Tom Fornelli | College Football Writer
Le'Veon Bell did just about everything for the Michigan State offense on Saturday night. (US Presswire)

MICHIGAN STATE WON: And if you turned this game off at halftime you are probably very confused right now. TCU only had a 13-0 lead at the break but considering Michigan State managed only 76 yards of offense in the entire half it may as well have been 31-0. But the Spartans would finally get things going in the second half as its defense put the clamps on TCU's offense.

Le'Veon Bell was the workhorse for Michigan State, as is usually the case. He finished the day with 145 yards rushing and a touchdown but it was his 29-yard pass in the third quarter that helped set up Michigan State's first touchdown of the game. Those 29 passing yards were also more yards than starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell would manage in the entire game, as he finished with 28 yards.

Still, the biggest play of the game was a muffed punt. TCU's Skye Dawson made the mistake of fielding a punt inside his own 10-yard line and only made matters worse from there. Dawson muffed the punt, and instead of falling on it tried to pick it up. It did not work, as Michigan State recovered inside the 5-yard line and Le'Veon Bell would score two plays later to make it 14-13 Spartans.

TCU would respond with a nice drive that ended with freshman kicker drilling a 53-yard field goal to reclaim the lead for the Horned Frogs with less than three minutes left. Unfortunately for TCU the Spartans would put together a drive of their own and Dan Conroy would make a 47-yard field goal of his own with a minute left that proved to be the game-winner.

WHY MICHIGAN STATE WON: I said in the primer for this game that this one would be settled by turnovers and special teams. Well, a muffed punt return by Skye Dawson turned this game on its head. Still, the unsung hero is Michigan State's defense. It dominated the second half as Trevone Boykin -- who appeared to be less than 100% -- just didn't have any time to get anything done in the third and fourth quarter, with the Michigan State defense hurrying him into bad throws. For once the Spartans defense put forth a great effort and actually saw its offense score enough points to get the win.

WHEN MICHIGAN STATE WON: When Trevone Boykin's pass on 4th and 17 in the closing seconds fell incomplete.

WHAT MICHIGAN STATE WON: Talk about a cathartic victory for Michigan State. After losing five games by a combined total of 13 points this season it was finally Sparty's turn to rip the heart out of somebody in the final minutes. This was also Michigan State's second consecutive bowl win and gives the Spartans a winning record in what was a disappointing season.

WHAT TCU LOST: TCU got its heart broken, but the way it played in the second half it probably didn't deserve to win anyway. Of course, when you have a team as young as TCU does, sometimes finishing and playing a full 60 minutes is a problem, and it was tonight. A win would have felt nice, and an 8-5 season would have been something to be proud of. Instead the Horned Frogs will have to settle for 7-6.

THAT WAS CRAZY: In the calendar year of 2012 Michigan State picked up wins against Georgia, Boise State and TCU. However, it could only claim three wins in the Big Ten during a season in which the conference was weaker than it had been in years.

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