In the biggest upset since the introduction of the College Football Playoff, third-seeded TCU rode its underdog status to a 51-45 win over Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl. The Frogs are the first Big 12 team to reach the title game in theCFP era.
It was a back-and-forth affair that saw the two teams score 44 points in the third quarter.
Early on in the game, there were signs of an explosion. The Wolverines walked away with zero points after a fourth down try near the red zone was stopped.
Bud Clark returned a J.J. McCarthy pass for a touchdown on the next Michigan drive. The Frogs' third pick-six of the season put them up 7-1.
The Frogs' defense was the star of the first half, as Michigan entered the Frogs' red zone three times and came away with only nine points.
The advantage of the Air Raid's pace and speed was used by the Horned Frogs to get out in front. The Frogs took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on a 12-play, 76-yard drive. Michigan had allowed more than 14 points in the first quarter in each of the past two years, and went on to lose both times.
On the other side of the ball, Duggan was pulling out all the stops, even though Michigan struggled to take advantage. In the first half, he wasn't particularly accurate through the air, but with his legs, he danced his way to first downs and continued to push the Frogs down the field.
The play that was most indicative of the problem was when Duggan rolled out of the pocket with 4:56 left in the second quarter and avoided the Michigan defense to find Taye Barber for 6 yards and six more points. The touchdown capped a 10-play, 83-yard drive that gave the Frogs a commanding 21-6 halftime lead.
The teams combined for 44 points in the third quarter, highlighted by a flea-flicker touchdown from McCarthy, a pick-six from the Michigan quarterback, and three touchdown drives.
Michigan had two of those drives. The Wolverines were trying to claw back. Running back Emari Demercado broke loose for a 69-yard run that was followed by a 1-yard touchdown sneak by Duggan. Through three quarters, the Frogs scored 41 points. Going back to last season, the most Michigan had surrendered in a game was 37.
The throw of the game was made by Duggan after Michigan cut the lead to three points. While facing a defensive player in his face and a long third down, Duggan was able to find a crossing. The Frogs were up 10 when he took it 76 yards for a touchdown. The field goal extended the lead.
A methodical Michigan touchdown drive by McCarthy cut the lead once again, this time to six points with 3:18 left, setting the stage for the two teams. The Frogs needed to get two first downs in order to win the game. They had only 52 seconds to make a miracle, and they only got one.
The ball did not make it to the first-down marker after Michigan fumbled the ball with 35 seconds left in the game. The assistant coaches in the upstairs box yelled, "We're going to the Natty!" and all they had to do was take a knee. The season's upset was over.