By Garin Turner
The College Football Semifinals begin on New Year’s Eve with the first matchup at 4 PM EST on ESPN when the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines (13-0) face No. 3 TCU (12-1) in the VrboFiesta Bowl in Phoenix, Arizona. Despite losing in the Big 12 Championship game to Kansas State 31-28 the selection committee felt TCU did enough to earn its spot in the playoff.
TCU defeated five of the six ranked teams they played this year including a stretch of four straight. A lot of those games the Horned Frogs came from double-digit margins. They beat Kansas State earlier in the year.
TCU’s QB is Max Duggan and he’s a good one. He’s thrown for 30 touchdowns with just four interceptions completing 64% of his passes for 3,321 yards. RB Kendre Miller has 1,342 yards and 17 touchdowns. Duggan has 404 rushing yards and six TDs. Quentin Johnston has 903 yards on 53 receptions and five touchdowns.
They’ll look to score on a Michigan team that’s just allowing 13.4 points a game and 277.1 yards of total offense. Junior Colson leads the Wolverines in tackles with 95. He has two sacks on the season.
Michigan will be without its leading rusher Blake Corum due to a knee injury he suffered against the Illini. Corum had 1,463 yards on 247 carries with 18 touchdowns. He may have been a Heisman finalist if not the winner had he not been hurt. The Wolverines have a capable running back behind him in Donovan Edwards. Edwards has 872 yards on 112 attempts and seven touchdowns. He rushed for 185 yards and a score in the Big 10 Championship win against Purdue and 216 yards and two scores against Ohio State.
JJ McCarthy is the QB for the Wolverines. After a competition to begin the year with Cade McNamara, McCarthy has helped lead the Wolverines to the semifinals. McCarthy has 20 touchdowns with only three interceptions for 2,376 yards. He’s had trouble with the deep ball for most of the year but hit some big plays against the Buckeyes earlier in the year.
A win here for either team will put them in the College Football Championship game on January 9th against the winner of the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs vs. No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes.