Tank Carder in right place, time for TCU

PASADENA, Calif. -- They say that sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. But more times, being good creates the luck.

Take TCU's winning play against Wisconsin for instance. The Badgers needed a two-point conversion to tie the Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio with two minutes left. They lined up in the shotgun with four wide receivers.

The Horned Frogs had a double blitz on, with a linebacker and a safety firing in. But the backside safety misread his coverage and left receiver Jacob Pedersen wide open in the end zone. To make matters worse, linebacker Tank Carder got stuffed on his blitz attempt.

But here's where the good part came into play. Carder, knowing he couldn't get to quarterback Scott Tolzien, decided to take a step back from his blocker and then jump. He timed it just right and knocked down the pass to seal the victory.

"We were lucky Tank was in the game," head coach Gary Patterson said.

And the Horned Frogs are lucky Carder is so good. The junior earned Rose Bowl defensive MVP honors for his efforts, which included the only two sacks in the game.

"He ate up the D-line and knew exactly where to fit," fellow linebacker Tanner Brock said. "He had an MVP day for sure."

Carder's second sack was crucial. TCU took the opening possession of the second half in for a touchdown and a 21-13 lead. Wisconsin came right back the next drive and had a third-and-6 on the Horned Frogs' 37. But Carder flew into the backfield and leveled Tolzien for an 8-yard loss to force a punt.

"I felt like it gave us a lift," Carder said. "I felt like it changed the momentum of the game."

Carder, a former youth BMX world champion, was the Mountain West Conference defensive player of the year in 2010. But he only had 2.5 sacks all season, a number he almost equaled in the Horned Frogs' biggest game ever.

"Somebody had to show up, and somebody did," defensive lineman Cory Grant said. "He had the game of his life at the right time."

A good -- and lucky -- time for TCU.