Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 12/27/12
Michigan State and Texas Christian University each ranked in the Top 15 early this season, and both had definite BCS bowl possibilities. But the Horned Frogs (7-5) lost their quarterback four games into the season, and the Spartans (6-6) lost five games by a total of 13 points. And so they will meet at 10:15 p.m. Friday in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl in Tempe, Ariz. It could be titled the Home Alone Bowl. Each school went 0-4 in conference home games during disappointing seasons in the Big Ten (3-5, fourth in Legends Division) and Big 12 (4-5, tied for fifth). Both teams are looking to regain some respect, and the Spartans are playing to avoid a losing season. We're going to live on this game for the next eight months, MSU coach Mark Dantonio said at a recent press conference. There's no question about that. We saw how it went last year with the Outback Bowl. We also have seen how it's gone in the past when we haven't done so well in the bowl game. Spartans linebacker Denicos Allen added: It would be big. Coach always tells us the seniors want to leave a legacy and we are trying to set the tone for next season. We really think that would be a big boost into next season. It would be a big win, and back-to-back. I don't know when the last time that happened for this program. MSU broke a five-game bowl losing streak last year with a triple-overtime win over Georgia in the Outback Bowl, and last won consecutive bowls in the Jan. 1, 2000 Citrus Bowl over Florida (Nick Sabans last game) and the Dec. 31, 2001 Silicon Valley Football Classic against Fresno State. Beating the Horned Frogs could very well come down to two things: Containing quarterback Trevone Boykin, who replaced suspended starter Casey Pachall, and TCUs standout defensive ends, freshman Devonte Fields and junior Stansly Maponga. Fields, the Big 12 defensive player of the year in a media vote, had 17 tackles for lost yardage, nine sacks, three pass breakups, one interception, three quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and one recovered fumble. Maponga, born in Zimbabwe, had six tackles for lost yardage, 3 sacks, four quarterback hurries, two forced fumbles and two recovered fumbles. I think they've got a lot of similarities to Ohio State in regards to their front four, said Spartans offensive coordinator Dan Roushar. They're very movement driven, a lot of slanting and angling. And when they're reading, they move awfully well. Their defensive ends are both very, very good. Stansly, he gets an awful lot of help. People get help to him with chips and those kinds of things. His numbers aren't quite as strong as Fields', but I think their defensive ends are going to be as good as we've played against. They remind me a lot of our defense in many ways, just with their activity, their ability to run to the football and get off blocks and make plays. Dantonio had more live hitting in bowl practices to better prepare quarterback Andrew Maxwell, and also is considering more running plays for Maxwell. His longest run was 10 yards, and he lost 87 yards on 32 carries (including 19 sacks). Maxwell said, I think that's one of the things that I maybe wasn't as ready for as I could have been going into the season just really having a good feel for how much time you have back in the pocket. In (regular season) practice when you get sacked, it's really just a tag off on the hip. But to really have the pressure, to have the pocket coming in on you and have being hit be a reality, that's good work for me. Several Spartans commented that the spread offense and big-play capability of the Horned Frogs remind them of Northwestern. That begins with Boykin, a freshman quarterback. He stepped in for Pachall following the starters arrest for suspicion of drunken driving several months after admitting to marijuana use. Pachall went into an inpatient rehabilitation facility shortly after leading TCU to a 4-0 start by throwing for 948 yards with 10 touchdowns and one interception. Boykin is a better runner, but made more mistakes while learning the offense, throwing for 1,622 yards with 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions. TCU doesnt have a go-to running back like MSUs LeVeon Bell (1,648 yards), but does have able runners and deep-threat receivers in Josh Bryce (61 catches, 800 yards, seven touchdowns) and Brandon Carter (34 catches, 579 yards, six touchdowns). They look more like a Northwestern, said Spartans safety Kurtis Drummond. They have playmakers and move fast. They have an explosive offense and can make a big play. We just have to bring our enthusiasm and our energy and all be on the same page. EXTRA POINTS ...Dantonio and TCU coach Gary Patterson developed a friendship during years of attending Nike retreats. ...Patterson is 116-35 as the head coach in Fort Worth, and beat Wisconsin two years ago in the Rose Bowl ...The Spartans are 8-14 in bowl games, but 18-2-1 against current Big 12 members. ...The Horned Frogs are appearing in a school-record eighth straight bowl, while MSU is playing in its school-record sixth consecutive bowl ...TCU tied LSU and North Carolina for the most true and redshirt freshmen (28) playing this season, and TCU has more true freshmen (16) playing than scholarship seniors (11) ...Brad Nessler and Todd Blackledge are the ESPN broadcasters for the game.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER:
The 22 most iconic college football traditions
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Louisville's Lamar Jackson wins 2016 Heisman Trophy

Carmelo Anthony ‘skeptical’ of new CBA before Thursday deadline

Erik Spoelstra on sitting Hassan Whiteside: ‘This league is for competitors only’

Andrew McCutchen admits trade rumors left him ‘on edge’

Leicester City put up three goals in first 20 minutes against Manchester City

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Houston regent: Lane Kiffin ‘was not a safe hire’

Adam Jones takes a shot at Terrelle Pryor

Jeff Fisher, Les Snead deny ‘toxic’ relationship reports

‘Field of Dreams’ 24-diamond complex clears final hurdle, will build on site from film

Dorial Green-Beckham fined for wearing non-charity Yeezy cleats

Chargers GM won’t commit to Mike McCoy’s return in 2017

Winners, losers and what is still pending from baseball's 2016 Winter Meetings

The best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

Why UCLA's Lonzo Ball is the most interesting player in college hoops

The NBA goes courtside to curbside: Drinks and rides for discerning fans

Five teams on upset alert in NFL Week 14

CFB Crash Course, Graduation: Final grades and awards

NHL All-Star Game fans are in search of another John Scott

Box Score 12/9: Carey Price has had enough of your nonsense

MLB Winter Meetings, Day 4: News, notes and rumors

Matt Ryan is now Mr. Pick-Two

Ten most significant developments of the NBA season

Sporting life: Gifts for the fan who is always on point

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Winners, losers and what is still pending from the 2016 Winter Meetings

Why UCLA's Lonzo Ball is the most interesting player in college hoops

The NBA goes courtside to curbside: Drinks and rides for discerning fans

CFB Crash Course, Graduation: Final grades and awards

The five best (and worst) times athletes hosted 'SNL'

NHL All-Star Game fans are in search of another John Scott

Sporting life: Gifts for the fan who is always on point

Matt Ryan is now Mr. Pick-Two

MLB Winter Meetings, Day 4: News, notes and rumors

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker