Joseph Turner's 17-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter gave No. 11 Texas Christian its first lead of the night, which the Horned Frogs preserved for a 17-16 victory over No. 9 and previously undefeated Boise State in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego.
Boise State (12-1) was trying to finish 13-0 for the second time in three seasons. The Broncos took a 10-0 lead on Ian Johnson's 20-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter, but their high-scoring offense bogged down against TCU's fast, aggressive defense.
TCU (11-2) piled up yards, if not points, until it finally wore down the Broncos' defense in the fourth quarter. The Horned Frogs moved 80 yards in 10 plays on the winning drive, with Turner finishing it off by shedding a tackle inside the 5-yard line and diving into the end zone for a 17-13 lead.
There wouldn't be a crazy, victorious finish for Johnson and the Broncos as there was two years ago in the memorable, highly entertaining overtime win over Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl.
After Turner's TD, Boise State got to the TCU 14 before having to settle for Kyle Brotzman's 33-yard field goal to pull to 17-16.
The Broncos got the ball back with six seconds left on their 33 and tried to lateral the ball after a catch, but Jeremy Childs' desperation flip was grabbed by TCU's Matt Panfil.
TCU outgained Boise State 472-250.
Johnson scored on a 20-yard run midway through the first quarter. It was his 58th career rushing TD, breaking former San Diego State star Marshall Faulk's WAC record and giving the Broncos a 10-0 lead.
Broncos quarterback Kellen Moore faked a sweep handoff to Childs, then handed to Johnson, who broke outside and found an open field. Officials brought to the ball to the sideline for Johnson to keep.
The Broncos needed the cushion, because TCU's fast, aggressive defense finally clamped down.
Boise State defensive end Bryon Hout intercepted Andy Dalton midway through the second quarter, and his 62-yard return included a nice spin move to get away from one TCU player and a stiff arm against another Horned Frog. Hout was a running back in high school.
Hout returned the ball to the TCU 11, but the Broncos had to settle for Brotzman's 24-yard field goal and a 13-0 lead.
TCU finally scored on Aaron Brown's 16-yard run just before halftime.
Brown had 102 yards on 14 carries, and Turner had 83 yards on 16 rushes.
Off the field
Alabama: : Nick Saban is the Associated Press Coach of the Year.
This is the second time Saban has won the award. He also was coach of the year with LSU in 2003.
Et cetera:: Miami (Ohio) hired Notre Dame offensive coordinator Mike Haywood as coach. Haywood, 44, becomes the sixth black coach among the 119 Bowl Subdivision schools. ... Fresh off its first bowl win in 10 years, Arizona plans to extend coach Mike Stoops' contract by three years, through 2013.