Michigan State senior kicker Dan Conroy nailed a 47-yard field goal with 1:01 left to give the Spartans (7-6) a 17-16 victory over TCU (7-6) in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
Le’Veon Bell carried the load for the struggling Spartan offense as he had 32 carries for 145 yards and a touchdown.
The Horned Frog offense did a very good job of containing Bell in the first half, holding him to 38 yards. TCU held MSU scoreless in the first 30 minutes and went into the half leading 13-0 after a Matthew Tucker 4-yard touchdown run and two field goals from kicker Jaden Oberkrom.
With the lack of offense from the Spartans in the first half, the defense knew that they would have to buckle down, and that’s exactly what they did.
Michigan State held TCU to only 84 total yards and a field goal in the second half — which came late in the fourth quarter.
Unfortunately for the Spartans, the offense was not able to match the defenses production. Quarterback Andrew Maxwell was benched in third quarter for redshirt freshman Connor Cook. Cook came in and led the Spartans on a 90-yard touchdown drive — MSU’s longest of the season — which was capped off with a 15-yard touchdown reception by freshman Aaron Burbridge with 34 seconds left in the third.
MSU freshman Aaron Burbridge scores on a 15-yard pass from Connor Cook. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
That score gave MSU their first score of the game.
With seven minutes left in the game, Bell scored a touchdown on a 4-yard rush, giving MSU a 14-13 lead. Oberkrom retaliated with a field goal almost five minutes later giving TCU a 16-14 lead.
After Conroy made his 47-yard field goal to give MSU the lead with 1:01 left, the MSU defense held the Horned Frog offense to a four-and-out to win the game.
Michigan State has now won their last two bowl games, and after a disappointing regular season, a 7-6 record doesn’t look to bad.
Moving forward the Spartans offense has the potential to be much more productive next season but it all depends on if Bell and tight end Dion Sims will return for their senior seasons.