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TCU, Georgia Reach National Title Game

Sports

TCU is playing for the school's first national title since 1938 after beating Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl. | Image by Norm Hall, Getty Images

The Texas Christian University Horned Frogs outlasted a withering back-and-forth scoring attack late in the 2022 Vrbo Fiesta Bowl, earning the school its first-ever opportunity at a national title. TCU won 51-45 over the Michigan Wolverines, who were favored to win the game. The Horned Frogs’ defense came up in big ways, forcing turnovers and scoring two touchdowns.

WHAT TO KNOW

TCU held as much as a 19-point advantage over Michigan not once but twice in the game. Michigan was able to battle back to a three-point disadvantage after two quick scoring drives and successful two-point conversion attempts. Michigan displayed uncharacteristic errors particularly early in the game that gave TCU chances to open up a significant lead they were able to hold through the final whistle.

There is likely to be plenty of debate about the game’s outcome after an early touchdown by Michigan was overturned with a ruling that the receiver was down short of the goal line. The TCU defense recovered a fumble on the next play. The video of the play shows that the referees miss-spotted the ball prior to the pass, moving the ball two yards farther back. The receiver also appears to only gain possession of the ball when in the end zone

TCU has never advanced to a College National Championship appearance before.

BY THE NUMBERS

TCU quarterback Max Duggan was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy this year, but his numbers against Michigan were far from impressive. Duggan completed 14 of 29 passes with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The interceptions, his fifth and sixth of the season, both came on deflections after receivers failed to make catches, and the defense was in position for the turnover.

Duggan was able to use his legs to add positive yardage and finished the game just behind running back Emari Demercado. Duggan rushed 15 times for 57 yards and scored two touchdowns. After a hot start, running back Kendre Miller was sidelined with a leg injury. He attempted to come back in the third quarter but was unable to be effective. Demercado had 157 yards on 17 carries and a touchdown but also committed a fumble late in the game that helped fuel the Michigan comeback.

Michigan opened the game with a 54-yard carry by Donovan Edwards, who finished the day with 119 yards rushing on 23 carries. After the long run, the offense was stifled on four consecutive drives and turned the ball over on downs. Frogs linebacker Dee Winters had perhaps the biggest game of his career, starting with the opening drive in which he was responsible for shutting down each chance.

Winters also recorded an interception and a touchdown in the game, picking off Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy and returning the ball for a score. Bud Clark also jumped a route early in the game for a pick six. Dylan Horton had a huge day after recording four sacks in the game for TCU.

WHO SAID?

Head Coach Sonny Dykes said after the game: “They believed in each other and they believed in us and I couldn’t be more excited to go play. I couldn’t be more proud of what these guys have accomplished. I can’t say enough about these guys and how thankful we are to be here.”

Quarterback Max Duggan said: “This is so exciting. We are going to celebrate this one, but we’ve got a bigger one coming up and that is the one we are looking forward to.”

UP NEXT

The TCU Horned Frogs will advance to the National Championship game held on January 9 in Inglewood, California at SoFi Stadium. They will face the winner of the Peach Bowl, No. 1 Georgia.

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