And we’ve already had at least one very large prediction submitted:
Michigan, the Big Ten champion, is making its second straight College Football Playoff appearance in search of its first national title since 1997. The Wolverines lost in the semifinals to Georgia last season in the Orange Bowl. TCU is in the playoff for the first time after starting the season unranked under first-year coach Sonny Dykes. The Horned Frogs would be the first Big 12 team to win a CFP game.
The winner will advance to the national championship game on Jan. 9 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, where it will face the winner of the Peach Bowl game later Saturday between No. 1 Georgia and No. 4 Ohio State.
Here are the highlights from the Fiesta Bowl.
… and we’re off!
On the first play from scrimmage, Michigan running back Donovan Edwards shot through the TCU defense for a 54-yard carry.
Shortly after the big run, Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy scrambled to the TCU 2-yard line on third-and-7. Michigan chose to go for it on fourth down but had its trick play denied by the TCU defense.
TCU went three-and-out after the goal-line stand, but then disaster struck for Michigan.
On the first play of the ensuing possession, McCarthy’s pass was intercepted by safety Bud Clark, who ran the pick back 41 yards for a TCU touchdown.
Michigan went three-and-out after the pick-six.
The Horned Frogs put together a 12-play touchdown drive that ended with a trio of runs from quarterback Max Duggan, who threw for 38 yards on the drive. TCU took a 14-0 lead.
On the first play of TCU’s next possession, Duggan’s pass was tipped and intercepted by defensive back Rod Moore. Then McCarthy hit wide receiver Roman Wilson for what was originally ruled a 49-yard touchdown. After further review, though, Wilson was ruled down at the 1-yard line.
Then linebacker Kalel Mullings came in for the carry and fumbled. TCU recovered the loose ball for a touchback.
TCU is rolling
After forcing Michigan to punt, TCU put together a 10-play touchdown drive, capped off by Duggan evading a sack and getting the ball to wide receiver Taye Barber, who ran into the end zone. The score gave TCU a 21-3 lead.
A defensive pass interference gave Michigan the ball at the TCU 41-yard line with five seconds remaining in the first half. Michigan brought out Moody to attempt a 59-yard field goal, which he made.
TCU led 21-6 at halftime.
Big play Bell
Michigan got to work to open the second half with McCarthy finding Ronnie Bell deep for a 43-yard reception that got the Wolverines to TCU’s 6-yard line.
Camara catches the Wolverines
Michigan wanted to run a screen pass with blockers in front on third down from TCU’s 3-yard line. But Horned Frogs corner Abe Camara read the play before the snap, blowing it up to get a tackle for loss and forcing the Wolverines to settle for three to make it a 21-9 game in the opening minutes of the second half.
The former receiver makes the grab instead for the INT
Flea flicking your way back into the game
Three plays after the interception, Michigan went to hit a home run – and it did. A perfectly executed flea-flicker allowed Bell to get wide open deep and haul in a 34-yard touchdown grab to make it 21-16.
TCU fights back
The Horned Frogs made sure they wouldn’t give the ball back to the Wolverines up by just five. On the first play of the following drive, Duggan found his most dependable receiver by connecting with Johnston for a 46-yard grab.
Five plays later, Emari Demercado ran in for the 1-yard score to put the Horned Frogs up by two score again and take a 28-16 lead with a few minutes left in the third.
TCU gets another pick-6!
The Horned Frogs put the Wolverines on the ropes again after getting another pick-6. Dee Winters read McCarthy’s eyes perfectly, getting the interception and the score. TCU bobbled the snap on the PAT, but the Horned Frogs went up 34-16 following the score.
McCarthy on the move
McCarthy battled right back after throwing a pick-6. First, he ran for a 39-yard gain and then on the next play, he ran for a 20-yard touchdown. Michigan went back to McCarthy for the 2-point conversion, but TCU stopped him that time to keep the score at 34-22.
Demercado broke open a 69-yard run right after McCarthy’s touchdown run to get TCU to the 1-yard line. On the following play, Duggan kept the ball himself for the score to put the Horned Frogs up 41-22 in the final minute of the third.
Michigan keeps ringing the Bell
The Michigan receiver made one last big play in the third, hauling in a 44-yard grab that was originally ruled a touchdown but review determined he was a yard short. On the next play, Mullings didn’t make the mistake he made earlier and held onto the ball as he fell into the end zone. McCarthy was able to run in for the 2-point conversion and make it a 41-30 game right before the end of the third quarter.
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