BCS Fiesta Bowl Preview: Boise State vs. TCU

The third of five BCS Bowl Game previews heads west for the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. In what has been regarded by the detractors of the BCS as the “Protection Bowl”, the Fiesta Bowl should nonetheless be a good game as two at-large teams, the WAC Champion Boise State Broncos and the Mountain West Champion TCU Horned Frogs. These two teams met two years ago in the Poinsettia Bowl, with TCU winning 17-16 in San Diego.

: Both teams can put up a lot of points, but the advantage is in Boise State’s favor. Boise State has one of the best offenses in the country and it’s led by Kellen Moore, the sensational sophomore quarterback who leads the nation in touchdowns with 39 to only three interceptions. Along with Jeremy Avery running the ball, they are the prime reason the Broncos average 44.2 PPG, which is most in the country and eighth in the country in yards per game at 460.5. Moore was not even mentioned in Heisman voting, so he has motivation to show why he was snubbed in front of a national audience. The only thing standing in his way and the Broncos’ way is one of the stingiest defenses in the country.

TCU has just as efficient of an offense as Boise State. They are tied for third in the nation with Texas in points per game (40.7) and fourth in the nation in yards per game with 469.1. Gary Patterson has a great balance of offense with the run and the pass. QB Andy Dalton has not as many yards or touchdowns a Kellen Moore (2484 yards and 22 touchdowns), but TCU has a three headed rushing monster in Joseph Turner (732 yards, 11 TD), Michael Tucker (667 yards, 8 TD), and Edward Wesley (630 yards, 4 TD). Dalton has also been a decent runner this year, with 522 yards and three touchdowns as well.

Defense: Advantage goes to TCU. The Horned Frogs are sixth in the country in points allowed per game with 12.4 and allow the fewest yards with 233.3 YPG. They defeated two powerhouse Mountain West teams in Utah and BYU easily. This defense has the strong capability to slow down Kellen Moore and his aerial attack that is drawn up by Chris Petersen. Running the ball will be a tall task for Avery, as TCU has allowed only 966 yards all season long, which was second fewest only to the Texas Longhorns. If TCU can stop the run on Boise, and ground Kellen Moore, this game should be no problem for them.

Boise State has allowed 17.7 PPG, but has shown lately that their defense has some holes in it, especially in the running game. With the way TCU can attack you from so many ways on the ground, it may be tough for the Broncos to stop. The best way to take TCU out of their element is to stop the run, and make Dalton throw. The offense of the Horned Frogs is balanced, but they prefer to run a little more than the pass. If Dalton has to throw more than he and the coaches like to, it could really help Boise, especially if Moore and the offense can get down the field and score points in the opposition.

This game is going to come down to which defense shows up. All season long, TCU has been the team that has played the best and among the big boys. This game can show the BCS selectors why they should have received a better game against a big time team. However, do not be surprised if this is an offensive show. Advantage goes to TCU based on defense.

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