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Fiesta Bowl Position Battles: Specialists

Clutch Kickers and electric Returners look to make the difference in Playoff Semifinal

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Baylor Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

This is the 7th in our series of position battle matchup previews for the Fiesta Bowl College Football Playoff Semifinal, you can read all entries and other preview info HERE

Michigan Specialists:

Depth Chart:

PR: AJ Henning (JR); Ronnie Bell (SR)
KR: Roman Wilson (JR); AJ Henning (JR)
P: Brad Robbins (SR)
K: Jake Moody (SR)

Lou Groza finalist Jake Moody was perfect on extra points for the season with a deceivingly low 81% on field goals - 4 of his six misses came from over 50 yards, with a season long make of 54 yards vs. Michigan State. Moody’s only miss inside 30 yards was one that got blocked by Indiana. While perhaps not as dramatic as TCU’s Brazos Bazooka, Moody did hit a clutch kick in the final seconds against Illinois to lift the Wolverines to victory. The Wolverines rarely return kickoffs, with only 16 returns all season - as Michigan’s stingy defense rarely surrenders points there are few return opportunities, and they are happy to simply take the touchback to set the offense at the 25 and let it grind opponents. AJ Henning has been the primary Punt Returner for Michigan the past two seasons, averaging 7.1 yards per return in 2022 with one brought home for a TD, good for 2nd Team All-Big Ten. Punter Brad Robbins is a bomber, averaging 42 yards per punt with a long of 62 on the season; with only 38 punts this season due to the effectiveness of the offense, Robbins has been one of the least used punters in the nation.

TCU Specialists:

Depth Chart:

PR: Derius Davis (SR); Taye Barber (SR)
KR: Derius Davis (SR); Emari Demercado (SR)
P: Jordy Sandy (SR)
K: Griffin Kell (SR)

Griffin Kell is a Horned Frog hero, delivering one of the greatest plays in the history of TCU Football with his fire drill walk off 40-yard field goal to take down Baylor in Waco. Kell earned First Team All-Big 12, but has missed two extra points on 57 attempts and two field goals on 18 attempts (a 34-yarder in Austin & a 55-yarder in the Big 12 Title), with his longest make being a 54-yarder vs. Iowa State. Jordy Sandy has been a consistent figure for the Frogs, averaging 39.6 yards per punt in 2022, with a long of 59 yards and 15 punts dropped inside the 20 yard line. Derius Davis is one of the most dangerous returners in the country. A threat for a game breaking play any time he touches the ball, Davis has two punt return TDs this season, providing a key spark to open the scoring in TCU victories over Colorado and Texas Tech. Michigan may look to kick away from Davis, forcing the TCU Offense to earn every difficult yard against the elite Wolverine Defense.