One year after ending an undefeated regular season with a loss in a BCS bowl game, the TCU Horned Frogs finished the job today, winning the 2011 Rose Bowl, 21-19 over the Wisconsin Badgers. The win completed TCU's first undefeated season since 1938, when the 11-0 Horned Frogs won the national championship after winning the Sugar Bowl. Linebacker Tank Carder knocked down a pass from Wisconsin quarterback Scott Tolzien on a two-point conversion attempt with 2:46 remaining that would have tied the game.
Horned Frogs quarterback Andy Dalton won offensive player of the game, accounting for a large percentage of TCU's offense. He completed 15 of 23 passes for 217 yards and one touchdown, and ran for 27 yards and a touchdown as well. Carder also had a crushing sack of Tolzien in the third quarter, and won defensive player of the game. TCU was 12-0 last year heading into the Fiesta Bowl, but lost to Boise St, 17-10.
Wisconsin running back Montee Ball began the game with a 40-yard run on the first play from scrimmage, and finished with 126 yards on 21 carries. The Badgers outgained the Horned Frogs, 386 yards to 302, but the difference in the game came on third down. TCU converted six of 10 third-down opportunities, while Wisconsin was successful just six of 15 times. A few of those conversions came on Wisconsin's final drive, which brought Wisconsin to within 21-19 and a chance to tie, which was denied by Carder and TCU.
The Horned Frogs became the first school from a non-automatic qualifying conference to win the Rose Bowl in the BCS era. It was the first appearance by TCU in the Granddaddy of them all. The Big Ten conference lost all five bowl games played today.