TCU upsets Michigan 51-45 in College Football Playoff semifinal

Posted at 9:32 AM, Jan 02, 2023

The TCU Horned Frogs are headed to the College Football Playoff championship after upsetting the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines 51-45 in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday night.

TCU dominated the first half, and held off Michigan’s attempt to come back in the second half, which led them to the win. This is the second straight year the Wolverines have been eliminated from the College Football Playoff semifinal.

The Wolverines started with the ball and on the first play of the game, Donovan Edwards ran it 54 yards to put the Wolverines near the red zone, but Michigan wasn't able to convert on a touchdown. J.J. McCarthy nearly scored evading rushers but came up two yards short, and a trick play was broken up by TCU.

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Michigan quickly stopped the Horned Frogs with a 3-and-out, but as Michigan got the ball, McCarthy threw an interception to Bud Clark who took it 41 yards for a touchdown, giving TCU the first points.

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The Wolverines went 3-and-out again, and TCU took advantage, going 76 yards on 12 plays in just over 5 minutes, capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run from QB Max Duggan to go up 14-0, which is where it stayed at the end of the first quarter.

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Michigan took over and went 51 yards down the field, behind a big pass from McCarthy to Schoonmaker, but was unable to get a first down near the TCU red zone, and had to settle for a 42-yard Jake Moody field goal to cut the lead to 14-3.

On TCU's ensuing drive, a tipped ball from Duggan ended up in the hands of Michigan DB Rod Moore for an interception, and then McCarthy threw a 51-yard pass to Roman Wilson. It was originally called a touchdown, but overturned, and then Michigan fumbled the ball on the hand-off, and TCU recovered it in the endzone for a touchback.

Michigan and TCU traded punts, and then the Horned Frogs got the ball back and went 10 plays for 83 yards and a touchdown to take a 21-3 lead with just under 5 minutes left in the first half.

The Wolverines got the ball back with 47 seconds and drove down the field, with the help of a pass interference call against TCU, and Moody kicked a 59-yard field goal to cut the lead to 21-6 at halftime.

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Michigan stopped TCU on their drive to start the half, and Michigan drove down the field but couldn't convert from the 3-yard line and had to settle for a 21-yard field goal, cutting the lead to 21-9.

The defense came up clutch with an interception, and Michigan converted quickly with a flea flicker that ended with a 34-yard touchdown pass from McCarthy to Bell, cutting the lead to 21-16.

TCU responded with a 75-yard touchdown pass on 6 plays, taking a 28-16 lead near the end of the third quarter.

With Michigan taking over, McCarthy threw another interception, this time to Dee Winters, which was taken for a touchdown and gave the Horned Frogs a 34-16 lead.

McCarthy led the Wolverines down the field to cut the lead 34-22 with 59 yards rushing, including a 20-yard run that ended with a touchdown, but a failed 2-point conversion.

The Horned Frogs responded with a quick drive, going 78 yards on 3 plays in less than a minute behind Emari Demercado's 69-yard run and a 1-yard touchdown run from Duggan to take a 41-22 lead.

McCarthy once again led the Wolverines down the field behind a 44-yard pass to Ronnie Bell, who came up just short and was followed by a 1-yard touchdown run by Kalel Mullings. McCarthy completed the 2-point conversion, cutting the lead to 41-30.

The Wolverines' defense stepped up again and forced a fumble on TCU's first play, right before the end of the third quarter, and Wilson ran 18 yards for a touchdown, with a Ronnie Bell run for a 2-point conversion, cutting the lead to 41-38.

TCU scored quickly on its ensuing drive on only 3 plays and 79 yards, taking a 48-38 lead, and then followed it up by a field goal after a long punt return from Derius Davis, giving TCU a 51-38 lead.

Both teams traded punts and with just under 4 minutes remaining, Michigan drove down the field on 9 plays and 56 yards to cut the lead to 51-45.

Michigan stopped TCU as the Horned Frogs tried to run out the clock, giving Michigan a chance at the comeback.

The Wolverines couldn't convert on their possession, sealing the win for TCU. They will play the winner of Ohio State vs. Georgia which happens later tonight.