GLENDALE, Ariz. — Max Duggan was involved in four touchdowns as the TCU Horned Frogs held off a comeback attempt by the University of Michigan Wolverines to win 51-45 Saturday night in the Fiesta Bowl.
Third-seeded in the NCAA, the Horned Frogs (13-1) brought home two interceptions for a major and earned their bye to the American College Football National Championship.
The Horned Frogs, possibly the most unlikely university to advance to the NCAA four-team playoffs in nine-year history, will now face the University of Georgia Bulldogs at Sofi Stadium on Jan. 9.
After having a losing season in 2021 and chosen to finish seventh in the Big 12 Conference in head coach Sonny Dykes’ first year, the Horned Frogs will be looking to win the program’s first national title since 1938.
Duggan and his team will again be the underdogs. However, it didn’t change anything against the Wolverines (13-1), champions of the Big Ten Association.
It was the highest point total in Fiesta Bowl history and the second-highest NCAA playoff total, behind the Bulldogs’ 54-48 win over the University of Oklahoma Sooners on Jan. 1. 2018, during the Rose Bowl.
The Horned Frogs led 34-16 with 2:46 remaining in the third quarter when five consecutive offensive streaks ended in a touchdown.
An 18-yard touchdown from Roman Wilson on a reverse play and a successful two-point convert put the Wolverines 41-38 with 14:13 left in the fourth quarter.
Quentin Johnston then took a short pass from Duggan and made a spectacular run for a 76-yard major that gave the Horned Frogs a 10-point lead.
Duggan had 225 aerials and 57 on the ground, but was the victim of two interceptions. Johnston caught six for 163 yards and Emari Demercado added 150 rushing yards. All this against the third best defense in the country before the game.
Griffin Kell made a 33-yard field goal to extend the Horned Frogs lead to 51-38, but the Wolverines cut the lead to 51-45 when quarterback JJ McCarthy threw a five-yard touchdown pass to Wilson .
McCarthy was spectacular at times, rushing for 343 yards, 52 yards and three touchdowns. He also threw two costly interceptions that gave the Horned Frogs points.
Bulldogs 42 – Buckeyes 41
Stetson Bennett threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Adonai Mitchell in the final minute as the University of Georgia Bulldogs beat the Ohio State University Buckeyes 42-41 in the Peach Bowl.
The NCAA playoff favorites’ comeback was completed just after the stroke of midnight on Sunday when Noah Ruggles missed a 50-yard field goal attempt with just three seconds to go.
The Bulldogs (14-0) won their first national title since 1980 last year. They will attempt to be crowned national champions two years in a row for the first time in program history.
Quarterback CJ Stroud threw four touchdown passes for the Buckeyes (11-2), who led 38-24 in the fourth quarter. A 76-yard pass from Bennett to Arian Smith followed by a two-point convert managed to close the gap to 38-35.
Following Bennett’s pass to Mitchell with 54 seconds left, Stroud made a 27-yard run to put the Buckeyes on the Bulldogs’ 31 line.
Ruggles made a 48-yard field goal to give the Buckeyes a 41-35 lead and leave just 2:36 to Bennett and his offense.
Stroud completed 23 of 34 passes for 348 yards and had no interceptions.
Marvin Harrison Jr. caught five balls for 106 yards and two touchdowns for the Buckeyes. Emeka Egbuka added eight receptions for 112 yards and a major.
Bennett, who joined Stroud as a four-runner for the Heisman Trophy, had 23 of 34 attempts from the air caught for 398 yards. He threw three touchdown passes and one interception.