Well, once again I have been shown that no one can predict the chaos of college football. The National Semifinals between TCU and Michigan and Georgia and Ohio State were madness on New Year’s Eve. Both games went back and forth and were close till the very end of the game. Both games were high-scoring and the last team with the ball would lose. I mean, technically TCU had the ball last because they had to take a knee, but you get the point. There is so much to say about both games, but I’ll start by saying I was wrong.
Michigan just looked like they were not prepared to play in this game. Early mistakes would lead to the fall of the team as TCU would capitalize on every turnover that they had. Sloppy. Michigan was way too sloppy, and McCarthy was 100% to blame for that. He had not one, but two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns. That is terrible and a game-changer for someone who has limited their turnovers all year. It’s not a normal turnover, it’s a turnover that doesn’t even allow your defense to react. Those two turnovers were momentum changers for a team that could not afford for that to happen. The other turnover was a fumble after a TCU turnover which prevented them from making it a one-score game. The Wolverines hurt themselves over and over again, which was the reason they were behind the entire game.
Credit to the TCU defense, they were able to create issues early for Michigan and allow their offense to get ahead of the Wolverines. The second half was sloppy for them, but they did just enough to come out on top. The turnovers all came at necessary times and were able to get the Frogs out of tight squeezes. The most important factor that everyone in College Football is talking about is how aggressively the defense played. They were able to manhandle a broken Michigan offensive line and force McCarthy to make bad throws, which they turned into turnovers. Proud is an understatement for this defense, and they played outstanding to win this game.
Michigan never took the lead at any point in the game, which isn’t something they were used to. This is a team that relies on its defense to lead them to victory, which brings us to the next point: The Defense. The defense, which had been dominant all year long, had been extremely quiet in this game. I was disappointed to see this brand of Michigan Football on the field after another outstanding regular season. Coming into this game, I thought the Wolverines’ defense was one of the best in football, but TCU proved me wrong. This defense could not stop anything, allowing big play after big play to keep TCU ahead. Toward the end of the game, TCU’s last two touchdowns were three plays long. Similarly to Zach Wilson’s beliefs, the offense did not let the defense down in this game.
It is just unfortunate because I don’t think that the TCU offense played super special. They were pretty average, but they were just able to make big plays. Max Duggan completed less than half of his passes (14-29) and had two interceptions. Not very impressive from TCU’s QB1, but it got the job done at the end of the day. The highlight of the offense had to be the duo of Emari Demercado and Quentin Johnson. Demarcado had 150 yards while Johnson had 163, which included the vital 76-yard touchdown. The TCU offense was the big play capabilities and capitalizing on Michigan’s mistakes. That was enough to win them the game and create a massive upset.
My biggest mistake looking back on my prediction was the reliance on the Michigan defense. They did not do enough to stop big plays, which never let the team back in the game. Playing from behind is tough enough for the offense, but having to match a 76-yard touchdown after just getting one yourself is even harder. The Horned Frogs executed at a high level on defense as well, which was impressive to watch. They will have to do more on the offensive side of the ball in the national championship to beat Georgia. Nonetheless, it was an amazing win for TCU, one that the program will never forget.
Top Picture from Getty Images