College Football Playoff highlights: Michigan pulls close in Fiesta Bowl


The College Football Playoff semifinals are finally here, with the Fiesta Bowl kicking things off on Saturday with a matchup between No. 2 Michigan (13-0) and No. 3 TCU (12-1).

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.

[Related: Everything to know about the CFP semis]

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.

Fiesta Bowl: Michigan vs. TCU

… 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.

HUGE stand

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.

Bully ball

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.

Chaotic sequence

McCarthy hit tight ends Luke Schoonmaker and Colston Loveland for a pair of completions that combined for 48 yards and set up a 42-yard field goal from kicker Jake Moody.

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

Mike Sainristil is able to come up with the catch after TCU’s Derius Davis bobbled the ball, giving Michigan the interception and the ball in TCU territory.

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.

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