1:01 AM CST, December 30, 2012
TEMPE, Ariz. -- Senior Dan Conroy made a 47-yard field goal with 1:01 remaining and junior halfback LeVeon Bell rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown to lead Michigan State to a comeback 17-16 victory over TCU in the inaugural Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl at Sun Devil Stadium.
TCU freshman Jaden Oberkrom had given the Horned Frogs a 16-14 lead on a 53-yard field goal with 2:42 remaining. But freshman reserve quarterback Connor Cook led the Spartans on a 45-yard drive in less than two minutes, completing two passes and benefiting from a defensive holding penalty in the secondary after a third-down incompletion.
Cook, who had completed five passes this season while playing in two games, was 4-for-7 for 47 yards. He also led the Spartans on their first scoring drive, a 90-yard march that ended with his 15-yard pass to Aaron Burbridge with 34 seconds left in the third quarter as the Spartans overcame a 13-0 halftime deficit.
Bell gave the Spartans a 14-13 lead on a 4-yard touchdown run with 7:00 remaining, two plays after TCU punt returner Skye Dawson muffed a punt deep in his own territory that Spartans' safety R.J. Williamson recovered on the 4-yard line.
Bell, the Big Ten's leading rusher with 1,638 yards, got better as the game wore on. After being held to 38 yards on 11 carries in the first half, he had 55 yards in the third quarter and had 52 more in the fourth as the bigger Spartans' offensive front wore down TCU. He was named the most valuable offensive player.
Conroy hit a 28-yard field goal in the third overtime to beat Georgia, 33-30, in the Outback Bowel after the 2011 season.
Michigan State (7-6) has 29 victories since 2010, tied with Nebraska and Virginia Tech for 14th among BCS schools.
TCU redshirt freshman quarterback Tyrone Boykin accounted for 238 yards total offense, but the Horned Frogs had only five first downs in the second half.
The second meeting between the two schools -- the first was 59 years ago, a 26-19 victory at Michigan State on Oct. 20, 1953 -- was slow to develop.
The initial first down of the game came on a pass interference penalty against Michigan State midway through the first quarter, and TCU used that as a springboard for a 73-yard scoring drive that ended on halfback Matthew Tucker's 4-yard touchdown run. Tucker lined in the slot left in a five-wide receiver formation, took a handoff after going in motion and ran untouched around the right side. It was senior Tucker's 33rd career touchdown, third in school history.
Oberkrom kicked a 47-yard field goal on TCU's next possession, set up on a 59-yard pass from Boykin to Kolby Listenbee on the final play of the first quarter. It was freshman Listenbee's first catch of the season.
Boykin's 61-yard pass to Josh Boyce set up Oberkrom's 31-yard field goal for a 13-0 lead with 8:18 remaining in the first half.
Cook took over at quarterback on the first series of the second quarter and completed a pass for the Spartans' initial first down before another punt. Michigan State had 29 yards and no first downs in three possessions in the first quarter behind starter Andrew Maxwell, who returned on the next series.
NOTES: TCU made its school record eighth consecutive bowl appearance, and its 11 in 12 seasons under coach Gary Patterson. Michigan State played in a bowl game for a school-record sixth straight season, all under coach Mark Dantonio. ... TCU played more true freshmen (16) than scholarship seniors (11) this season. ... Michigan State's senior class entered the bowl season 34-18 in the last four seasons, second in school history to the 37 victories by last year's senior class. TCU's seniors were 43-8 in the last five seasons, counting a redshirt year.