Credit: AP Photo
TCU quarterback Andy Dalton, left, offensive MVP, holds the Rose Bowl NCAA college football trophy while TCU linebacker Tank Carder, right, defensive MVP, kisses it after winning the game over Wisconsin on Saturday, Jan. 1, 2011, in Pasadena, Calif. TCU defeated Wisconsin 21-19. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Monday, Jan 3 at 11:09 AM
PASADENA, CA - Rickey was his name, however after gaining so much weight between the ages of two and three he was given the name Tank, which has stuck ever since.
Seven years before earning his starting linebacker position at TCU Tank Carder found himself lying in a hospital bed wondering if he would ever walk again. Carder suffered a punctured diaphragm, collapsed lung, broke his back in two places and needed two chest tubes following a car crash. It has been a long and difficult journey, a journey that has brought Carder to a place that not even he could have imagined.
Call it luck, call it fortune, call it being in the right place at the right time but make no mistake about it, you can certainly call it one of the biggest plays ever in the history of TCU Football. It’s a play that Frogs linebacker, Tank Carder will never forget.
With only two minutes remaining in a hard fought Rose Bowl match-up and Wisconsin trailing 21-19, the Badgers only needed a two-point conversion following their late fourth-quarter touchdown to tie the game in hopes of sending it into overtime.
“On the last play, I figured it was going to be a run. I guess coach P. saw something else, but they had been effectively running the ball for three to four yards the entire game,” says Carder.
As the Badgers made their way to the line of scrimmage amidst the screams of 94,000 fans, TCU’s Coach Gary Patterson decided to call for a double blitz. The Badgers on the other hand, surprisingly opted to call a pass play instead of staying with their successful running attack.
“Obviously somebody saw something in our red zone and goal line defense; they had something that was going to be an easy play,” Patterson said
Unfortunately, TCU’s backside safety misread the coverage and left Badgers receiver Jacob Pedersen wide open in the end zone. To make matters worst, Carder on an all out blitz was hit and got stuffed at the line of scrimmage, which prevented him from applying any pressure to Badgers QB Scott Tolzien.
“I was coming from the left side, so it was a wide dog blitz. I guess sometimes I get through; it just depends on how the blocking scheme of the O-line goes. Sometimes it gets through and sometimes you don’t,” says Carder.
Carder realizing there was no way that he had a chance of reaching Tolzien on the blitz, says he decided to do the next best thing, “I went to the blitz and got blocked and couldn’t get through the hole,” Carder says. “So I stopped, backed up, saw him cock his arm back and I jumped at the end of it.”
After knocking the conversion pass down, Carder was asked what was going through his head. “After I blocked it down it didn’t seem like that big of a play until it sunk in,” Carder said. ”They needed two points, and I swatted it down and stopped them from getting two points. It didn’t sink in until five minutes after I did it. It was like, yeah, all right.”
What at the moment appeared to Carder as just another routine play actually earned him the honor of Rose Bowl Defensive Most Valuable Player of the game and his team a victory in their very first Rose Bowl appearance.