December 21, 2011
TCU outscored Louisiana Tech 14-0 in the fourth quarter to rally for a 31-24 Poinsettia Bowl win on Wednesday night (December 21). In the process, the Horned Frogs picked up their 6th bowl win in their last 7 tries and ended the 2011 season on an 8-game winning streak. TCU improved its overall bowl record to 13-14-1 while the Bulldogs dropped to 2-3.
Trailing 24-17, TCU quarterback Casey Pachall engineered an 18-play, 72-yard drive that consumed 9:21 and tied the game on Luke Shivers' 1-yard run with 7:49 remaining. A replay upheld the touchdown call after it appeared Shivers fumbled before reaching the goal line.
TCU then held Louisiana Tech to a 3-and-out and took the lead six plays later on Pachall's 42-yard pass to Skye Dawson. Another 3-and-out forced the Bulldogs to give up the ball again and they never got it back as TCU literally ran out the last 3:44.
The bowl win capped a record-setting season for Pachall who broke Andy Dalton's marks for yards (2,921), completions (228) and completion percentage (66.5).
It was Louisiana Tech's first loss since Colby Cameron took over at quarterback in the 3rd quarter of the game against Utah State. Cameron was 21-of-43 for 264 yards and a TD, but an interception led to A TCU score in the that tied the game at 10-apiece just before halftime.
TCU came into the game having captured its third straight undefeated MWC title in its final year in the conference as it moves to the Big East - no, wait - Big 12 next season. Louisiana Tech last won the WAC in 2001, but did so this year under second-year head coach Sonny Dykes.
TCU came within two BCS spots in the rankings of capturing a second straight BCS bowl bid. The Horned Frogs were the highest-ranked champions of a non-automatic qualifier conference but only finished 18th in the final BCS Standings. The defending Rose Bowl champions needed to be ranked at least 16th to gain automatic entry.
The last 8 Mountain West champions have gone through their respective conference schedules unscathed and there haven't been co-champions of the league since its first year of existence in 1999 when BYU, Colorado State and Utah shared the crown.
The WAC title was somewhat up for grabs after Boise State's defection to the Mountain West, which didn't work out too well for the Broncos. Boise State is relegated to the MAACO Bowl Las Vegas for the second straight season, thanks to a 1-point home loss to TCU on a missed field goal. The situation was eerily similar to its 2010 demise at Nevada.
TCU finished the regular season 11-2 overall and 7-0 in the Mountain West. The bowl win gives the Horned Frogs at least 11 victories for the third straight year, and double-digit wins for the 7th time in the last 9 years.
This was the Horned Frogs third appearance in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. They defeated Northern Illinois 37-7 in 2006 and beat then undefeated Boise State 17-16 in 2008.
Louisiana Tech saw its 7-game winning streak come to a close. The Bulldogs finish 8-5 after winning the WAC with a 6-1 conference mark. The 7-game winning streak was its longest since 1974 when the Bulldogs won 10 in-a-row.
The game was played at the 70,561-seat Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego which also serves as the home of the NFL's San Diego Chargers, college football's San Diego State Aztecs and the Holiday Bowl.
73.3% of CollegeFootballPoll.com voters picked TCU to win and the Congrove Computer Rankings projected the Horned Frogs as 10.20-point winners in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.