NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Texas Christian University quarterback Andy Dalton was quick to talk about the Lord in a post-game interview following TCU’s 21-19 win over Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl Jan. 1.
Dalton, the offensive player of the game, was interviewed by ESPN’s Erin Andrews, who asked him if TCU, as a non-automatic qualifier for the Rose Bowl, were playing “for the little guys out there.”
“That’s what we were doing,” Dalton said. “We weren’t just playing for TCU. We were playing for all the non-AQ schools out there. It’s an attitude that we have. There’s a verse in the Bible, in 1 Peter 5:6, that says, ‘Humble yourself, and under God’s mighty hand He will exalt you in due time.’ And that’s what happened today.”
The Horned Frogs, ranked third in the Bowl Championship Series standings prior to the game, finished the season 13-0. Dalton completed 15-of-23 passes for 219 yards and one touchdown against the Badgers. He also added a rushing touchdown.
A Dec. 24 article in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram explored not only the on-field legacy that Dalton, a senior, will leave at TCU after setting school records for wins, passing yards and touchdowns, but the spiritual legacy he’ll leave behind as well.
Dalton was one of 11 TCU students who created a weekly nondenominational gathering called Ignite, according to the Star-Telegram. The group’s first meeting came April 5, the same night as the NCAA men’s basketball championship. Leaders weren’t sure how many to expect.
“He placed it on our hearts to do something like this,” Dalton said in the article. “And we walked in there and the place was packed. We had around 400 people the first night.”
This year’s average attendance at the meeting has been more than 700.
“College is a time where a lot of people try to find themselves,” Dalton said in the Star-Telegram. “If you’ve grown up in a church, college is a time you may branch away from that. We felt TCU had been a little complacent in its faith and having something like this would kind of spark up the campus.”
In the Dec. 2010 edition of Sharing the Victory, the magazine of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Dalton discussed how his faith in the Lord affects the way he plays on the field.
“Like 1 Chronicles 29:11-12 says, everything belongs to God and God alone,” Dalton said. “My talents and abilities are all from Him. So, when I take the field to play and use those abilities, it is my way of giving thanks to Him for all He has given me.”
At BeyondTheUltimate.org, a website for Christian athletes and coaches, Dalton describes how he was saved as a third grader when the pastor at First Baptist Church in Katy, Texas, was visiting his home. He grew up in a Christian household, he said.
“One thing I have realized when growing in my faith is that I can’t be passive in my relationship with God,” he wrote. “It is truly a relationship and I need to keep up with it. God has given us prayer. I can talk to God at any time. That is a special thing to be able to talk to the Creator of the universe whenever I want. He wants me to tell Him my feelings, goals, wants, and more. All He wants is just to spend some time with me. He has also given us the Bible to help teach us. There are so many stories and lessons to be learned from just picking up the Bible and taking some time to read it.”
He added, “I feel truly blessed to be in the position I am in today. I know I wouldn’t be where I am without God’s help. He has provided me with so much and I am so thankful. To see what He has done — not only for me but for my team and others around us — has been unbelievable. There has been hard work involved, but nothing would have happened without Christ.”
Tim Ellsworth is editor of BPSports.net and also works as director of news and media relations at Union University in Jackson, Tenn.