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Spartans to face TCU in Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl

December 3, 2012
The Daily News

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - There might not be anything wild going on at the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

Well, at least not on offense.

In its first season with a new name, the bowl could have a decidedly defensive feel when TCU and Michigan State meet at Sun Devil Stadium on Dec. 29.

"Both teams have outstanding defenses," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. "But you never know how games are going to play out."

Oklahoma and Iowa were locked in a defensive struggle in last year's game, then known as the Insight Bowl, before the Sooners pulled away for a 31-14 victory.

This one could be even lower-scoring.

Playing the nation's fifth-toughest schedule, Michigan State (6-6) finished the regular season fourth in total defense, allowing 273.2 yards per game. The Spartans finished 10th in scoring defense, giving up 16.3 points per game.

TCU (7-5) was 18th nationally in total defense, allowing 332 yards per game, and held six of its 12 opponents to season-low scoring while giving up 23.8 points per game.

It has to keep up in the bowl game, right? Well, not everyone agrees on that.

"I've always said be careful what you wish for, what you talk about, because it usually changes when you give two teams a month to prepare for a ballgame," TCU coach Gary Patterson said. "They said when I played in the Rose Bowl it was going to be a scoring fest. It ended up 21-19. For us, we want to find a way to win the ballgame."

The Spartans only loss in their first four games was to Notre Dame before losing five of its final eight.

The problem for the Spartans was pulling out close games. Their five losses in the Big Ten were by a combined 13 points.

"The main thing when you look at our football team, we've got to finish, there's no question about that," Dantonio said. "But we can play. The margin of victory has been very, very narrow for either party, whether you're playing us or we're playing you."

 
 

 

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