Two teams facing the end of difficult seasons square off in Arizona.
The TCU Horned Frogs, playing the final game of their first season as members of the Big 12, are 2.5-point favorites over the Michigan State Spartans in the 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for 9:15 p.m. CT on Saturday, December 29.
The Horned Frogs' 2012 season was a roller coaster, highlighted by road wins over then-Top 25 opponents West Virginia and Texas, marred by the suspension of quarterback Casey Pachall and remembered for near-misses against Oklahoma and Texas Tech. TCU finished 7-5 overall and 4-5 in the Big 12, but went 3-5 after Pachall's suspension following a DWI arrest with losses to Iowa State and Oklahoma State. Despite the efforts of backup Trevone Boykin, the TCU offense struggled. In the high-flying Big 12, where five teams averaged more than 40 points per game, TCU managed just 29.3 points per game; the number decreased to 24.4 ppg without the benefit of overtime periods.
Michigan State also reaches the end of a disappointing campaign Saturday. A preseason favorite to win the Big Ten, the Spartans instead dropped three of their first four Big Ten contests en route to a 3-5 conference record and fourth place finish in the Legends Division. Michigan State played close to the margins all season: Only one of the program's eight conference contests was decided by more than four points, and their five losses were by a total of 13 points. Quarterback Andrew Maxwell struggled to fill the shoes of Kirk Cousins in his first season as the starter, completing just 52.9% of his pass attempts for 2,578 yards, 13 touchdowns, and nine interceptions. Michigan State is led by a stellar defense that conceded just 16.3 points per game, 10th nationally in that statistic.
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