TCU, with its first-year head coach and a former second-team quarterback, pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent college football history, with the Horned Frogs sprinting past Michigan.
Now, the Frogs move on to play for the national title against the winner of Saturday night’s Peach Bowl. That’s where defending national champion and top-ranked Georgia meets Ohio State.
TCU beat the Wolverines, 51-46 in what proved to be the highest-scoring game in Fiesta Bowl history. Sonny Dykes, in his first year as Frogs head coach, celebrated the victory on the sidelines as several of his players made snow angels in the purple and white confetti.
TCU Crashed the Playoff of Bluebloods
TCU definitely crashed this playoff party of blue bloods, dispensing with Michigan. No player on its roster has playoff experience. The Horned Frogs didn’t even win the Big 12 conference. They lost to Kansas State — their only defeat of the season — in the conference title game.
Max Duggan, the Heisman runner-up, helped engineer the upset. To think, Duggan started the year second team on the depth chart. He calmly led the Frogs to a 21-3 lead before holding on during a wild second half.
“Whoever has (the momentum) is probably going to be pretty successful,” Duggan told ESPN.
He added “we wanted to be the tougher team — that’s what we’re proud to be — tough and gritty.”
The Horned Frogs became the first team from the Big 12 and the first from the state of Texas to win a playoff game in the current CFP format. The last time TCU sniffed a national title was in 1938, when Davey O’Brien was king of the campus. Now, the best quarterback in the country wins the trophy bearing O’Brien’s name.
TCU very nearly made it in 2014, the first year of the CFP. But the playoff committee dropped them from third to sixth in the final poll, although the Frogs won their last regular-season game in a runaway. Coincidentally, earlier this month, the CFP committee decided to keep TCU in the final four, despite the Frogs loss in the Big 12 title game.
Duggan accounted for four touchdowns. He threw for a pair and rushed for two more. Michigan closed to within three, at 41-38, early in the fourth quarter. Then TCU scored a quick 10 points, including a 76-yard touchdown pass from Duggan to Quentin Johnston.
The TCU defense also provided big plays. The Frogs twice returned interceptions of Michigan QB JJ McCarthy for touchdowns. On the Wolverines final series of the game, the defense stopped Michigan on downs.