by jack magruder
The pick-six proved contagious. Elijah Hicks and Ashtyn
Davis scored on interception returns within a minute
of each other in the rst quarter of a 33-21 victory
over Colorado three weeks later, giving the Bears their
seventh victory. Davis had another interception as the
Bears had a season-high ve takeaways.
“We’ve had some ups and downs this season,” Wilcox
said, “and I thought our guys really battled through it,
to be honest. The character of the team really showed.
Our kids just kept ghting and believing in each other.
“I know it (Washington victory) generated some
con dence amongst them. I thought we got better as
the season wore on. We didn’t always play as well as
we would have liked, but really proud of how hard the
guys play and how hard they compete. We won some
games with the intangibles, I think.”
The tangibles factored in, of course. Halfback Patrick
Laird has 1,223 yards in total offense and nine
touchdowns as a run/pass catch threat out of the
back eld, and is 68 yards short of his second straight
1,000-yard rushing season. Chase Garbers emerged
as the No. 1 quarterback and has passed for 1,413
yards and 14 touchdowns while rushing for another 396
yards. No. 2 quarterback Brandon McIlwain has 1,165
Through it all the defense was a constant. The Golden
Bears entered the bowl season ranked No. 16 in the
FBS total defense, giving up just 319 yards a game,
and were 24th in points allowed at 21.3. They have ve
defensive touchdowns, tied with Alabama for fourth in
the nation, and their 17 interceptions are one short of
the national leaders.
Maybe the defensive bent is to be expected. Wilcox’s
father, Dave, was a rangy outside linebacker for the San
Francisco 49ers and is a member of the Pro Football
Hall of Fame.
“Since we’ve been here, I think we’ve de nitely made
some strides in that area,” Wilcox said. “We have some
players on that side of the ball that are really, really
coachable. The guys are really learning how to play the
game. Most importantly, they play extremely hard and
play together, and that always gives you a chance.”
TCU knows a thing or two about that side of the ball, also.
The Horned Frogs have given up an average of only
344 yards a game, and they held three opponents to
one touchdown and three others to two. They held 11
Chase Garbers, QB
Grayson Muehlstein, QB