GLENDALE, Ariz. — Max Duggan had four touchdown passes as the TCU Horned Frogs held off the University of Michigan Wolverines 51-45 in the Fiesta Bowl on Saturday night.
The Horned Frogs (13-1), ranked No. 3 in the NCAA, threw home two interceptions for one touchdown and a bye to the American College Football National Championship.
The Horned Frogs, the least likely university in their nine-year history to advance to the NCAA’s four-team playoff, will now face the University of Georgia Bulldogs on Jan. 9 at Sophie Stadium.
After a losing season in 2021 and a seventh-place finish in the Big 12 Conference in head coach Sonny Dykes’ first year, the Horned Frogs will look to win the program’s first national title since 1938.
Duggan and his team will be underdogs again. However, it didn’t change anything against the defending Big Ten Association champion Wolverines (13-1).
It was the highest scoring total in Fiesta Bowl history and the second-highest NCAA playoff total behind the Bulldogs’ 54-48 victory over the University of Oklahoma Sooners on Jan. 1, 2018, during the Rose Bowl.
The Horned Frogs led 34-16 with 2:46 left in the third quarter before five consecutive drives ended with a touchdown.
An 18-yard run from Roman Wilson and a successful two-point conversion put the Wolverines up 41-38 with 14:13 left in the fourth quarter.
Quentin Johnston then took a short pass from Duggan and made a spectacular 76-yard run for the senior, which gave the Horned Frogs a 10-point lead.
Duggan had 225 carries and 57 on the ground, but was victimized by two interceptions. Johnston had six catches for 163 yards and Emari Demercado added 150 rushing yards. All this against the nation’s third-best defense before the game.
Griffin Kell hit a 33-yard field goal to make it 51-38 for the Horned Frogs, but the Wolverines cut it 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 had 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 defeated the Ohio State University Buckeyes 42-41 in the Peach Bowl.
The NCAA playoff favorites’ comeback was complete after midnight Sunday when Noah Ruggles missed a 50-yard field goal attempt with just three seconds left.
The Bulldogs (14-0) won their first national championship since 1980 last year. They will try to become 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-pointer, closed the gap to 38-35.
After Bennett’s pass to Mitchell, Stroud scampered 27 yards with 54 seconds left to put the Buckeyes at the Bulldogs’ 31.
Ruggles hit a 48-yard field goal to give the Buckeyes a 41-35 lead and Bennett and his offense with just 2:36 left.
Stroud completed 23 of 34 passes for 348 yards and no interceptions.
Marvin Harrison Jr. He 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 joins Stroud as four running backs for the Heisman Trophy, went 23 of 34 through the air for 398 yards. He threw three touchdown passes and one interception.