TCU linebacker Tank Carder put on quite the show in the Rose Bowl. First of all, Tank is the greatest name for a linebacker out there. Add in his crazy life story and you've got the recipe for the perfect human interest story. And, of course, he lived up to his name as the TCU Horned Frogs dropped the Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl, 21-19, thanks in large part to Carder's play.
With the game on the line as Wisconsin lined-up for a two-point conversion, Carder came through again for the Horned Frogs. The Badgers had a man open in the end zone after a blown defensive assignment, but Carder timed his leap perfectly, batting down Scott Tolziers pass to preserve the TCU win.
Carder was a born athlete, participating in about every sport imaginable as a kid. Before he took to football, Carder was a BMX prodigy, racing all over the world before he even hit his teenage years. After dominating the sport, winning seven national titles, Carder gave it all up and turned to football.
The route he took to TCU, however, is more amazing than his play in the Rose Bowl. At 13 years old, Carder was in a serious car accident and doctors wondered if he'd ever walk again. Carder, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the car after it hit a tree. He suffered a punctured diaphragm, broken back and two punctured lungs after the car rolled over him.
As you may have heard during the broadcast, Carder was unable to take the contact that came with football for the next three years, but longed for organized athletics after the accident. He became a kicker, getting off the field to avoid contact until doctors cleared him to go full-out on the field during his sophomore year in high school. Quite the far cry from what we saw today, isn't it?
On Saturday, Carter etched his name into TCU, and Rose Bowl, lore. The junior linebacker finished with nine tackles, a sack and the two-point conversion breakup. For his efforts, he was named the defensive player of the game.
In a Rose Bowl filled with plenty of captivating storylines, Carder may have just been the best.