GLENDALE, Ariz. — The TCU Horned Frogs have won the Fiesta Bowl and will be headed to the national championship!
TCU defeated Michigan, 51-45, in Glendale, Ariz. on Saturday night in the highest-scoring Fiesta Bowl ever (96 points).
Fitting for New Years Eve, the game between TCU and Michigan had fireworks from the start, and the theatrics didn't stop for hours.
Here's how it played out.
Michigan running back Donovan Edwards broke off a 54-yard run on the first play from scrimmage, and quarterback J.J. McCarthy scrambled all around the field on a five-yard pick-up on third and goal. The Wolverines went for it on fourth and goal from the two-yard line and did not convert a jet sweep reverse. The reverse was supposed to be a pass back to the quarterback, but TCU was not fooled by the trickery and turned the ball over on downs.
After going three-and-out on their own opening drive, TCU still scored first on a 41-yard interception return for a touchdown by Bud Clark.
TCU quarterback Max Duggan doubled the Horned Frogs lead, 14-0, punching the ball in from one yard out on a 12-play, 76-yard drive.
Michigan finally got onto the scoreboard in the second quarter with a 42-yard field goal by Jake Moody.
The Wolverines immediately struck again with an interception and 50-yard pass from McCarthy to Roman Wilson. Michigan fumbled the ball, however, on the next play at the one-yard line, and TCU recovered the fumble in the end zone for a touchback.
Duggan extended the first half lead to 21-3 with a six-yard touchdown pass to Taye Barber.
Moody made a 59-yard field goal at the end of the half to narrow the first half lead to 21-6. TCU got the ball first in the second half and were forced into a three-and-out. On Michigan's first second-half drive, they drove the length of the field, but were held to a field goal to narrow the Horned Frogs lead to 21-9.
After a Duggan interception, McCarthy hit another shot – this time on a flea flicker – for a 34-yard touchdown to Ronnie Bell.
Duggan responded with a 46-yard pass to wide receiver Quentin Johnston, and running back Emari Demercado capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run.
Late in the third quarter, Dee Winters snagged TCU's second interception return for a touchdown of the game, extending TCU's lead to 34-16.
Michigan would not go away, however. McCarthy called his own number, rushing for 39 yards and again for a 20-yard touchdown. The Wolverines went for a two-point conversion, but failed, leaving them down 34-22 late in the third quarter.
Demercado then ripped off a 69-yard run, followed by a quick quarterback sneak by Duggan for a one-yard touchdown, giving TCU a 41-22 lead.
Michigan scored again with seconds left in the third, marking 44 total points scored by both teams in the quarter alone. Michigan recovered a fumble on the last play of the third quarter, losing to TCU 41-30 headed into the fourth.
Wilson took an end-around handoff on the second play of the fourth quarter for an 18-yard touchdown. A two-point conversion by Bell narrowed the Horned Frog lead to only three points: 41-38.
When all momentum seemed to be in Michigan's favor, Duggan found Johnston on a shallow drag route on third and long that Johnston took 76 yards to the house.
A 31-yard punt return by Derius Davis set up TCU with a short field and an opportunity to throw a knockout punch in the game. TCU managed to get a 33-yard field goal to give the Horned Frogs a 51-38 lead with just over 10 minutes in regulation.
A nine-play, 56-yard drive ending with a five-yard touchdown pass from McCarthy to Wilson with just over three minutes in regulation brought the Wolverines back within six: 51-45.
TCU ran out the remaining three minutes of clock to win the game.
This was the first time TCU and Michigan had ever played each other. The Horned Frogs will go on to play Georgia for the national championship.
TCU's only national championship in program history was in 1938, led by Heisman-winning quarterback Davey O'Brien. Michigan's last national championship came in 1997.
PHOTOS: TCU Horned Frogs vs. Michigan Wolverines in Fiesta Bowl
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