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Fiesta Bowl Game Thread: Michigan vs. TCU

Join the conversation as the Horned Frogs and Wolverines battle in the College Football Playoff Semifinal

Syndication: Arizona Republic
TCU’s Sonny Dykes and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh will battle for a spot in the National Championship Game
Cheryl Evans/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

The #3 TCU Horned Frogs will compete for a spot in the National Championship Game, taking on the #2 Michigan Wolverines in t College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl. The game will be broadcast on ESPN at 3:00 PM CT from State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ. According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Michigan is a 7.5-point favorite, with an Over/Under Total of 58.

The first ever meeting between these two programs comes onan the sport’s biggest stage. Michigan enters as the Big Ten Champions, completing an undefeated season and going 25-2 over the past two campaigns, including consecutive years with wins over rival Ohio State. The Wolverines are retuning to the Playoff in back-to-back seasons, after losing in the 2021 Playoff against eventual National Champion Georgia Bulldogs in the Orange Bowl. Michigan will roll out one of the nation’s best rushing attacks, despite being without superstar RB Blake Corum. That rushing attack thrives thanks to the Joe Moore Award winning (nation’s top OL unit) Offensive Line and its anchor Consensus All-American Olu Oluwatimi, who himself was granted the Rimington (Best Center) and Outland (Best Interior Lineman). The Wolverine signal caller is J.J. McCarthy, the Sophomore took over the starting QB role and has thrived, particularly down the stretch, with 6 TDs in the past two games and just 3 interceptions all season. Defensively, the Wolverines are strong at all three levels, with elite talent and size at every position. Corners Will Johnson and DJ Turner may be the biggest combo the Frogs big wideouts have faced; Mazi Smith will push things up the middle while Mike Morris, Jaylen Harrell, and Eyabi Okie terrorize off the edge; Junior Colson and Michael Barrett at LB are tackling machines, always at the right spot; DBs Moore, Paige, and Sainristil are ball-hawks that stuff the run an eliminate the pass over the middle.

The Horned Frogs are the surprise first-time entrant to the College Football Playoff, coming off a 5-7 season that saw longtime Head Coach Gary Patterson let go, TCU ran through the regular season undefeated before dropping a heartbreaker in overtime of the Big 12 Championship vs. Kansas State. TCU QB Max Duggan was the Heisman runner-up and is the heartbeat of the Horned Frogs, so often picking the team up and willing it forward in the face of adversity. He has a wealth of weapons at his disposal, led by wideout Quentin Johnston’s big frame and ability with the ball in the air or in his hands. Speedsters Derius Davis and Taye Barber will look to break off some chunk plays, while big bodies of WR Savion Williams and TE Jared Wiley will be key in moving the ball against this vaunted Michigan Defense. RB Kendre Miller has scored in every game this season while averaging over 6 yards a carry for over 1,300 rush yards in 2022, going over 100 yards in seven games. On Defense, TCU has the Thorpe Award (Nation’s Best DB) winner Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson on one island and First Team All-Conference CB Josh Newton on the other side looking to lock down the Michigan wideouts. Up front, it will be True Freshman Damonic Williams at Nose Tackle, taking on Oluwatimi up the middle, while Dylan Horton will look to continue his strong play causing havoc in the backfield from the edge. The LB corps of Hodge, Hodges, and Winters will be challenged with sending new looks at Michigan to slow Donovan Edwards and the elite Michigan run game. Safety Mark Perry, team leader in solo tackles, has been excellent in his efforts to contain the run game, while fellow safeties Bud Clark and Millard Bradford will support the defense of Michigan’s aerial attack.

Every team and every fanbase dreams of participating in the College Football Playoffs, and while simply reaching this point is certainly an accomplishment, these teams will be fully focused on taking care of business in the Fiesta Bowl and advancing to the National Championship in Los Angeles, CA. Will it be the pesky underdog Horned Frogs or the blueblood Wolverines from the big bad B1G? Join us in the comment section below as we ride the game day rollercoaster together. Go Frogs!