Dec. 2, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State (6-6, 3-5 Big Ten) has accepted an invitation to play TCU (7-5, 4-5 Big 12) in the 24th-annual Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl (formerly known as the Copper and Insight Bowl) on Saturday, Dec. 29 in Tempe, Ariz. The Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl will be televised nationally by ESPN, with kickoff set for 10:15 p.m. EST.
The Spartans are bowl eligible for a school-record sixth consecutive year (2007 Champs Sports Bowl, 2009 Capital One Bowl, 2010 Alamo Bowl, 2011 Capital One Bowl, 2012 Outback Bowl, 2013 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl).
Michigan State is making its 23rd postseason bowl appearance overall, including its first-ever trip to the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. The Spartans are 8-14 (.364) in bowl games. MSU has compiled an 18-2-1 record (.881) against current members of the Big 12 Conference (1-0 vs. Baylor, 2-0 vs. Iowa State, 5-1 vs. Kansas, 5-0-1 vs. Kansas State, 1-0 vs. TCU, 0-1 vs. Texas Tech and 4-0 vs. West Virginia). With its 33-30 triple-overtime victory over No. 18 Georgia in the 2012 Outback Bowl, the Spartans ended a five-game losing streak in postseason play, posting their first bowl victory since defeating Fresno State, 44-35, in the 2001 Silicon Valley Football Classic.
"Mark Dantonio and his coaching staff have raised the expectations for our football program," MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis said. "And with its back against the wall, Michigan State made a program statement by winning its last regular-season game at Minnesota to become bowl eligible for a school-record sixth-straight season.
"We're looking forward to competing against a TCU program that has averaged 10 wins per season over the last 10 years. Almost every game this season has gone down to the wire, so we suspect the bowl game won't be any different.
"We're excited about making our first bowl trip to Tempe. Some of our fans were introduced to Greater Phoenix during the NCAA Regional last March, and they truly enjoyed the area. So we're looking forward to reconnecting with our alumni, donors and fans from the Southwest and Southern California."
"Our focus is on winning our last football game - the bowl game," Spartan head coach Mark Dantonio said. "It's important to send our seniors out with a victory, but it's equally important to use this opportunity as a springboard into next season. There's a huge difference between finishing the season with a winning record or a losing record.
"We have a tremendous amount of respect for Gary Patterson and his football program. I had an opportunity to compete against Gary during my first season at Cincinnati, and his teams are always well coached.
"Our two teams are similar in that fact that both performed extremely well on the road this season. TCU went 4-1 on the road in Big 12 games, including wins at Baylor, West Virginia and Texas.
"Coach Patterson's traditionally fields one of the nation's top defensive units and this year is no exception, as TCU ranks 10th in rushing defense and 18th in total defense. In addition, TCU has 32 takeaways, including 21 interceptions. True freshman defensive end Devonte Fields ranks among the Big 12 leaders in tackles for loss and sacks. The linebacker corps is extremely active.
"Offensively, TCU has three capable tailbacks, and red-shirt freshman Trevone Boykin has emerged as a dual-threat playmaker at quarterback. Boykin has accounted for more than 2,200 total yards and 18 touchdowns.
"TCU has a talented, young football team, and we're looking forward to this opportunity to represent the Big Ten in Tempe."
The 2012 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl marks the second-ever meeting between Michigan State and TCU. The first meeting came 59 years ago in Week 3 of the 1953 season, as MSU defeated the Horned Frogs, 26-19, in Spartan Stadium.
It also marks MSU's second-ever appearance in Sun Devil Stadium, as the Spartans lost the 1986 season opener at Arizona State, 20-17.
Michigan State receives an allotment of 11,000 tickets for the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl. Ticket prices range from $25-$125 each. Fans may order Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl tickets online at msuspartans.com (click "tickets" and proceed to the Spartan Online Ticket Office) or by calling the Spartan Ticket Office (open weekdays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.), locally at 355-1610 or outside the Lansing area at 1-800-GO-STATE.
For information about the MSU Alumni Association Official Bowl Tour, Spartan fans should call 888-471-3027 or visit msusportstours.com.