This is a special bowl game season live game blog featuring TCU vs. Boise State in the Poinsettia Bowl.

First Quarter

15:00

Well, Boise State starts the game off pulling a return play out of its bag of tricks. Ian Johnson fakes falling down and Vinny Perratta takes the kick about 7 yards before passing across the field to Johnson, who gains another 26 yards on the return.

14:50

BSU begins its first possession of the game at the 49-yard line. Nice 8-yard pickup on a pass from Kellen Moore to Jeremy Childs. Not a good start for the TCU defense.

12:51

The Broncos are moving down the field methodically, dinking and dunking their way toward a score. They’re now at the TCU 34 facing a second-and-15.

12:08

Horrible call by the officials — Moore threw way over his receiver and the refs called pass interference on nothing more than incidental contact. That’s a 15-yard gimme for the Broncos.

11:36

The Horned Frogs stiffen and force a field goal attempt. Kyle Brotzman nails a 30-yard chip shot. Boise State 3, TCU 0.

10:36

The Frogs went three-and-out on their first possession. Broncos take over at their 36-yard line after no return on the punt.

9:22

A super catch by Austin Pettis on a wayward pass by Moore (19 yards). BSU is looking pretty confident.

7:41

Johnson gets the handoff and rips off a 20-yard run for pay dirt. Touchdown! TCU has its back to the wall halfway through the first quarter.

7:00

The Frogs look pretty wobbly. They’ll be punting again if the officials’ review doesn’t overturn a pass that was ruled incomplete on the field. Well, the call was overturned and TCU has its first chain-mover of the night.

4: 50

Another TCU first down. This game is going to be pretty disappointing if the Frogs don’t tighten the difference on this drive.

2:59

Frog QB Andy Dalton had a wide-open receiver at the goal line and he underthrew the ball, which was picked off by Boise.

2:31

Is anyone else sick of hearing about Ian Johnson’s marriage proposal to his girlfriend after the Fiesta Bowl win over the Sooners two years ago? Here we go again…

1:24

Boise tries a screen to Johnson on third-and-long. Now there’s the speed we expected to see from TCU as Johnson goes nowhere after the catch. Punt coming up to TCU. No gain on the return. End of the first quarter coming up. The Frogs are on the move again, nearing midfield.

End of First Quarter: Boise State 10, TCU 0

Time to hit the taco bar the wife has set up. She rocks.

Second Quarter

14:12

The Frogs are on the move inside Bronco territory…Dalton just overthrew an open receiver at the 5-yard line…third-and-6 from the 36-yard line…they didn’t make it. Fourth-and-3 from the 33. Gary Patterson is going for it. Stupid call and the Frogs are stopped on a short side sweep. I don’t know why so many teams suffer from such obvious play-calling in situations like this. BSU normally doesn’t. Credit Chris Peterson for that. You know you are going to see some trickery, but you don’t know how or where. TCU should have run a misdirection play there. If you are going to choke on fourth-and-3, at least give yourself a chance to make a huge play instead of barely edging out the first-down marker–or, as in this case, coming up with no gain.

11:01

BSU was forced to punt, and TCU starts from its own 6-yard line. And Dalton just overthrew a WIDE-open receiver at the 35. If he gets the ball there, this is a three-point game.

9:28

TCU running back Aaron Brown just ripped off a highlight reel 26-yard gainer. Injury timeout. The Frogs are in Bronco territory for the third time this half. Ball’s spotted at the 31-yard line of BSU.

7:54

Holy Frog Man! Dalton was just intercepted on a screen play by No. 94 of Boise State, and he chug-a-lugs the rock all the way to the TCU 12! Unbelievable. OK, TCU’s better half has now forced a third-and-18 with about 6 1/2 minutes to go. Fourth-and-4. Field goal attempt from 24 yards out–it’s good. Boise State 13, TCU 0.

2:26

This game is flying by and that 13-point margin is looming huge right now. TCU has a great defense, but its offense is not the type designed to play catchup ball. Situation not looking good right now. Both teams are playing good ball, but Boise isn’t making the mistakes like Dalton is.

1:37

Gotta love Lou Holtz right now; he’s talking about how weak the Western Athletic Conference is, and how Boise State would not be undefeated if it was playing in a tougher conference like the Mountain West. Punt coming up from the Bronco end zone…

1:22

TCU’s last chance to score in the first half. They are starting from their own 40-yard line…a scrambling first-down pass for a first down takes the Frogs down to the 33…another pass completion takes it to the 15. No timeouts…TCU needs to get out of bounds. Dalton pitches to Brown and he weaves his way into the end zone for a touchdown! That was a super run. The point after is good. BSU 13, TCU 7.

:24

The Broncos fumble the kickoff but they recover. Lucky, lucky, lucky. The momentum has definitely changed. BSU lost a total of 7 yards in the second quarter. Moore takes a knee and that’s the end of the first half.

Halftime: Boise State 13, TCU 7

If Dalton doesn’t throw two ill-advised passes in the first half, the Frogs are up by 7-10 points instead of down by six at the half. TCU has 246 total yards to Boise State’s 106. More stats to note. Boise has 14 net yards rushing. Moore is 14 for 20, but he has a paltry 4.8 yards per attempt. The Frogs need to keep the momentum going with their first possession next half. They can’t give it back.

More halftime thoughts…TCU’s defense is proving that its domination of the high-octane BYU and Utah offenses wasn’t a fluke this year. I think they were the best team in the Mountain West Conference this season. Utah totally lucked out that the Frogs missed two field goals back in November in the Ute 13-10 win. If TCU had a better quarterback than Dalton, the Frogs would be playing in the Sugar Bowl instead of Utah.

Mark May, Holtz and Rece Davis are repeating what I just pointed out. TCU has captured the momentum and it needs to keep it if it wants to win.

Third Quarter

15:00

The Frogs return the kickoff to the 16-yard line. Man, that smoke from the halftime show is fogging up the TV screen.

13:45

Another wide-open receiver for TCU, but this time the ball was there and the receiver dropped it. Third-and-5 now…Dalton pegs a nice slant pass and 88 makes a great catch in traffic for the first down. Frogs at the 42 and moving…

12:01

Nice screen pass by the Frogs good for a first down inside Bronco territory. A nice run by Brown is negated by a holding call. TCU has 35 yards in penalties so far. BSU has only 5. Second-and-14 from the Bronco 48. Dalton just lucked out–he should have been intercepted…Fourth-and-5 and TCU nails a nice punt down to the BSU 6-yard line.

10:15

This Bronco possession is going to be key to the game. They cannot afford to hand the ball right back to TCU.

9:15

Moore just got some fantastic protection while he stood in the end zone and hit a wide-open Vinny Perretta at the 40…he makes it all the way down to the TCU 36. So much for the momentum, TCU.

5:53

TCU is pushing BSU back out of field goal range…Moore just got a gift when a TCU linebacker dropped an errant pass that hit him in the gut. TCU holds and the Broncos miss a 38-yard field goal attempt.

5:13

Dalton FINALLY hit a wide-open receiver (Jimmy Young) for a 28-yard gain. LaDainian Tomlinson is giving some good vibes to his pals on the sideline and Dalton just ripped off a big gain down to the BSU 24-yard line. TCU needs to score on this possession.

2:38

Fourth-and-1. TCU goes for it, gets it. First down on the 12 of BSU. This is a great drive by the Frogs. Don’t muff it up, Dalton.

:50

The Frogs self-destruct and it’s fourth-and-13…field goal attempt coming up…and it’s good from 33 yards out.Boise State 13, TCU 10

Barring any big plays in the next 46 seconds, the third quarter will end with the Broncos up by three. This is as good of a game–and as close–as everyone predicted.

Fourth Quarter

15:00

This is it, Bronco and Frog fans. Fifteen minutes to glory. TCU clearly has the momentum. They lead BSU in total yards, 364 to 185, and in first downs, 21 to 10. Not to be repetitious, but if Dalton doesn’t throw those two interceptions, the Frogs would be running away with this game.

14:15

TCU just got flagged for pass interference on a BSU trick play. Broncos move to the 40-yard line of the Frogs. Third-and-8 and Texas Christian holds with great pass coverage. As our boys on ESPN just noted, Moore has been getting excellent pass protection tonight. The Frogs have been trying to get by with a four-man rush. They’ve only blitzed a couple times and they got to Moore on one of those attempts. BSU punts for a touchback. TCU has the ball again with 13:32 remaining in the game.

12:40

Aaron Brown just ripped off another big gain-this time on a broken play–good for 18 yards. Then, just when the running game is humming, TCU starts to pass and Dalton overthrows another open receiver near the Bronco 10-yard line. Third-and-4 and Dalton runs for the first down, picking up 6 yards. They are down to the Bronco 31 with 10 minutes to go.

8:51

Joseph Turner just carried the ball twice–the second time from 23 yards out–and he scores on a phenomenally powerful run, stomping on Bronco players all the way to the goal line. Touchdown! Point after is good and TCU leads Boise State for the first time in the game, 17-13.

By the way, sports fans, I predicted a TCU win, 23-16, in my column last week. Still a chance to hit the mark on points…

8:31 to 4:47 and counting…

Austin Pettis, No. 87, just made an incredible leaping catch that saved the drive for BSU. Then, Perratta took a swing pass and raced down the sidelines to the TCU 32. A holding penalty pushes the Broncs backward, but the officials step in and make it even by calling pass interference. First down on the TCU 14…Third down and 8. The Frogs need to hold ’em to a field goal…Finally! The Frogs’ defensive line sacks Moore.

Brotzman nails a 33-yard field goal. TCU 17, Boise State 16. Now, we just need a TCU touchdown and a missed extra point and I’ll nail my prediction on the dime.

4:47

The Frogs just need to hold on to the ball and run the clock out for the win…my fingers are crossed for a TD and missed PAT…

Nice catch by tight end Shea Reagan–good for the first down. The replay officials have called a timeout to review the play. This is a big call–don’t muff it, Mr. Replay Official. He had his foot inbounds. Yessiree, Bob. The replay guy got it right. Four minutes and four seconds to go.

Our ESPN boys are discussing strategy for both teams. Does BSU bring the house? Should TCU play careful ball? Holtz says it’s imperative that TCU eats up all of the Broncos’ timeouts.

2:35

Big third-down play and Jeremy Kerley makes it by a nose on that stupid short side sweep…The Frogs are inside BSU territory with 2:06 on the clock. Peterson calls timeout.

There’s a lot at stake for both teams in this contest. Boise wants another undefeated season. They want to be able to claim supremacy over the MWC. They want to make a statement that they should be in a BCS bowl.

TCU wants to prove they are the class of the non-BCS teams.

2:02

Third-and-8 and Jimmy Young slips on a quick slant from the left WR position. Dalton is almost intercepted again. Instead, it’s dropped and BSU takes the punt and calls fair catch at its own 17.

1:49

Moore is pressured and tosses an interception! TCU has the ball on the Boise 33. The Broncos have just one timeout left, so this game is just about as good as over.

Credit Steven Hodge with the interception. He was just named the player of the game. He finished with 11 tackles, three tackles for loss, one sack and the pick.

:09 left…

Timeout by TCU. They just need to run the clock out on this play…Dalton runs for a few negative yards to take the clock down…six seconds left and BSU has the ball…you know it will be another trick play. Yep. But the Horned Frogs intercept a lateral between two receivers and that will do it.

FINAL SCORE: Texas Christian 17, Boise State 16

Final thoughts…TCU’s defense dominated Boise State’s offense. The old adage that “offense wins games, but defense wins championships” rang true tonight. TCU’s defense kept its team in the game, even when the Frogs were down 13 points.

Unofficial final stats are impressive for the Frogs. They held Boise State to 25 yards rushing and 252 total yards (that’s 205 yards below the Broncos’ season average)…Meanwhile, the WAC champs averaged yielding just 294 yards per game on defense, but TCU racked up 470 markers. BSU quarterback Kellen Moore was held 2.1 yards per attempt below his season average…both teams were even with two turnovers apiece. TCU ended up with 28 first downs to Boise’s 15.

Although this was just a one-point game, TCU dominated the Broncos. Any way you cut it, the WAC champs lost to the Mountain West’s second-place team–on the scoreboard and in the stats comparison.

These are both fine non-BCS teams that could give most upper-tier BCS schools a run for the money on any given day.

If you are a college football fan, you have to admit it was a great game, regardless of the outcome.