The last time Max Duggan was on the field after a game, he was in tears after losing the Big 12 Championship game to Kansas State. If there were any tears this afternoon, they were tears of joy as the TCU Horned Frogs defeated the Michigan Wolverines 51-45 in the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Arizona.
Duggan overcame a slow start to throw for 225 yards and two touchdowns, adding 57 rushing yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Duggan was not the only TCU player who had a big game. Emari Demercado had 150 yards rushing in relief of running back Kendre Miller who left the game with an injury.
The Horned Frogs jumped out to a 14-0 lead and never looked back. Michigan attempted to get back into the game, but never tied or led in the game. The Wolverines clawed back into the game and got within three points, but that is a close as they got.
Wolverines' quarterback J.J. McCarthy overcame some early turnovers to have the best game of his young career, throwing for a career-high 343 yards and two touchdowns. Michigan needed all of those yards because the running game could not get going. Running back Donovan Smith did have 119 yards rushing but 54 of those yards came on one run.
Michigan dug an early hole.
Miscues and turnovers hurt the Wolverines. The Horned Frogs returned two interceptions for touchdowns and were held to six points in the first half. The Wolverines also held opponents to under 10 points per game in the second half; they allowed 20 points in the third quarter. Anytime the Wolverines scored, the Horned Frogs had an answer in the second half.
TCU never got rattled.
Though the Horned Frogs were in a different position in the second half today -- playing with a lead instead of coming back -- the Frogs never got rattled. Michigan was never able to flip the score. Despite TCU allowing 39 second half points, the Horned Frogs did a great job of closing out the game.
Michigan had one last chance to tie the game and it was the TCU defense that kept the Wolverines behind the chains, forcing a turnover on downs.
This game was not an upset; TCU is the real deal. Whoever they play for the National Championship better bring their A game.