Texas Christian won't be the national champion, but the Horned Frogs did all they could do.
TCU capped a 13-0 season by defeating Wisconsin, 21-19, Saturday in the 97th Rose Bowl game before a crowd of 94,118 and a national television audience.
The Horned Frogs' top-rated defense gave up 385 yards and Wisconsin was able to drive 77 yards in 10 plays to pull within tying distance near the end of the game, but TCU made big plays when it had to.
The biggest one: On a two-point conversion try following Montee Ball's four-yard touchdown with two minutes left in the game, Horned Frog linebacker Tank Carder batted down a Scott Tolzien pass to secure the win.
Wisconsin tight end Jacob Pedersen was open in the end zone on the play, but Carder, rushing on a blitz, read Tolzien's eyes and got his hands up in plenty of time.
Carder was chosen the defensive player of the game. TCU quarterback Andy Dalton was offensive player of the game. He completed 15 of 23 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown, and also led the Horned Frogs in rushing with 28 yards in nine carries.
Jeremy Kerley also had a strong game for TCU, catching six passes for 58 yards and returning two kickoffs for 51 yards.
Wisconsin, which finished 11-2, got 132 yards rushing from Ball in 22 carries and 76 yards rushing in 11 carries by John Clay -- who carried six times for 59 yards on the Badgers' final drive. Tolzien completed 12 of 21 passes for 159 yards.
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Wisconsin rediscovered John Clay a little too late -- and with the game on the line lost him again.
Clay, the Big Ten Conference's top offensive player in the 2009 season, was slowed by injuries this season. And in today's Rose Bowl game, even though he was healthy, he stayed something of an afterthought, getting only five carries until Wisconsin's final possession.
He had six carries for 59 yards as the Badgers drove 77 yards in 10 plays for the touchdown that pulled them to within a two-point conversion with two minutes left to play.
But then on a two-point try, Wisconsin tried a pass rather than give it to the back who carried it to within striking distance.
Scott Tolzien's pass, intended for tight end Jacob Pedersen, barely got out of his hand before it was knocked to the ground by Texas Christian linebacker Tank Carder.
Wisconsin tried an onside kick, but it was recovered by TCU senior Bart Johnson and the Horned Frogs ran out the clock in their 21-19 victory.
It's hard to believe these teams set a Rose Bowl record for scoring with 24 first-quarter points.
Since then, the defenses have settled in, with Texas Christian proving why it came into the game as the national leader in overall defense, giving up averages of only 11.4 points and 215.4 yards per game.