2010 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
BCS Bowl Game
39th Fiesta Bowl
1234 Total
Boise State 7307 17
TCU 0730 10
DateJanuary 4, 2010
StadiumUniversity of Phoenix Stadium
LocationGlendale, Arizona
MVPOffensive: Kyle Efaw
Defensive: Brandyn Thompson
National anthemMichael McDonald
RefereeBill LeMonnier (Big Ten Conference)
United States TV coverage
AnnouncersSam Rosen (play-by-play)
Tim Ryan (color)
Nielsen ratings8.2[1]
Fiesta Bowl
 < 2009  2011

The 2010 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl game was a post-season college football bowl game between the #4 TCU Horned Frogs, champions of the Mountain West Conference, and the #6 Boise State Broncos, champions of the Western Athletic Conference. The game was played Monday, January 4, 2010, at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The game was part of the 2009–10 Bowl Championship Series (BCS) of the 2009 NCAA Division I FBS football season and was the concluding game of the season for both teams involved.

For the second consecutive year, TCU and BSU faced off in a bowl game of historic significance. In the 2008 Poinsettia Bowl, TCU and Boise State played in the first non-BCS game ever in which both teams were ranked higher than both participants in a BCS bowl game in the same season (specifically the 2009 Orange Bowl), with the Horned Frogs winning 17–16.

Boise State would finish its season 14–0, making the Broncos the second team in BCS history (after Ohio State in 2002) to finish with a perfect 14–0 record; Alabama would become the third team to do so just a few nights later, defeating Texas 37–21 in the 2010 BCS National Championship Game.


The historic milestones of this game were:[2]

Also known as...

Because both non-AQ teams were placed in the same bowl game, the bowl was derisively referred to as the "Separate But Equal Bowl",[3] the "Quarantine Bowl", the "Fiasco Bowl", the "BCS Kids' Table",[4] etc. Some had called for a boycott because of this.[5] There was wide speculation that the BCS bowl selection committees maneuvered TCU and Boise State into the same bowl so as to deny them the chances to "embarrass" two AQ conference representatives in separate bowls, as Boise State had done in the 2007 Fiesta Bowl and Utah had done in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl and 2009 Sugar Bowl (prior to the game, non-AQ teams were 3–1 versus AQ teams in BCS bowls).[4][6] In response, Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker called those allegations "the biggest load of crap that I've ever heard in my life" and said that "[w]e're in the business of doing things that are on behalf of our bowl game and we don't do the bidding of someone else to our detriment."[7] This was a rematch of the Poinsettia Bowl from the previous season.

In the weeks prior to the game, a different controversy arose when past and present employees made public allegations that the Fiesta Bowl had made illegal campaign contributions.

WWE personality John Cena was the Grand Marshal and the coin tosser for the event.[8]

The Broncos won the game by a score of 17 points to 10.[9]

Game summary

Scoring summary

The 2010 Fiesta Bowl with Boise State against TCU
The 2010 Fiesta Bowl with Boise State against TCU
Scoring Play Score
1st Quarter
BSU — Brandyn Thompson 51-yard interception return (Kyle Brotzman kick), 11:40 BSU 7–0
2nd Quarter
BSU — Kyle Brotzman 40-yard field goal, 8:02 BSU 10–0
TCU — Curtis Clay 30-yard TD pass from Andy Dalton (Ross Evans kick), 0:49 BSU 10–7
3rd Quarter
TCU — Ross Evans 29-yard field goal, 3:52 TIE 10–10
4th Quarter
BSU — Doug Martin rush for 2 yards TD (Kyle Brotzman kick), 7:21 BSU 17–10


The key play of the game came in the fourth quarter when, faced with fourth down from their own 33, Boise State pulled off another Fiesta Bowl trick play, this time a fake punt, known as "The Riddler". Punter Kyle Brotzman threw a 30-yard pass to Kyle Efaw to keep the drive going, which ultimately resulted in Martin's touchdown run.[10]


  1. ^ Lewis, Jon (January 2010). "Double-digit drop for Fiesta Bowl". Sports Media Watch. Retrieved January 16, 2022.
  2. ^ "TCU (12–0), Boise State (13–0) to meet". ESPN.com. Associated Press. December 6, 2009. Archived from the original on December 9, 2009. Retrieved January 16, 2022.
  3. ^ Matthew Sanderson (December 7, 2009). "Boise Is In, But BCS Still Flawed". RealClearSports. Archived from the original on December 11, 2009. Retrieved December 7, 2009.
  4. ^ a b Cirminiello, Richard; Zemek, Matt; Bradley, Michael (December 31, 2009). "Pre-Bowl Thoughts – 2010 Fiesta Bowl". Scout.com. Archived from the original on February 22, 2012. Retrieved January 16, 2022.
  5. ^ Al Namias IV (December 7, 2009). "Poinsettia Bowl: 2008 Redux". Bleacher Report. Archived from the original on December 10, 2009. Retrieved December 7, 2009.
  6. ^ "Instant Analysis - The Bowl Announcement". Scout.com. December 7, 2009. Archived from the original on December 13, 2009. Retrieved December 23, 2009.
  7. ^ Graham Watson (December 7, 2009). "Fiesta Bowl wasn't looking at the non-AQ distinction". ESPN.com. Retrieved December 26, 2009.
  8. ^ "39th Annual Fort McDowell Fiesta Bowl Parade Grand Marshal John Cena". Fiesta Bowl. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 31 December 2009.
  9. ^ "Fake punt, TCU's INTs spark Boise State to 14–0, Fiesta win". ESPN. January 4, 2010. Archived from the original on January 6, 2010. Retrieved January 16, 2022.
  10. ^ Andrew Bagnato (January 5, 2010). "Boise State pulls out 17–10 Fiesta Bowl win". Fox News. Retrieved January 5, 2010.