College Football Playoff
Fiesta Bowl: No. 2 Michigan (13-0) vs. No. 3 TCU (12-1), Saturday, 4 p.m. Eastern (ESPN)
FanDuel Sportsbook College Line: Michigan by 7 1/2.
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT’S AT STAKE
Michigan, the Big Ten champion, is making its second straight College Football Playoff appearance in search of its first national title since 1997. The Wolverines lost in the semifinals to Georgia last season in the Orange Bowl. TCU is in the playoff for the first time after starting the season unranked under first-year coach Sonny Dykes. The Horned Frogs would be the first Big 12 team to win a CFP game.
Michigan’s running game against TCU’s 3-3-5 basedefense. The Wolverines’ offensive line, anchored by Outland Trophy winner Olu Oluwatimi, is the engine of a powerful and explosive running game. The Wolverines are huge and use multiple tight ends to further add to their bulk. The Horned Frogs’ defense has some size up front, but is built for speed. TCU ranks 65th in the country in run defense at 4.10 yards per carry allowed. Michigan averages 5.64 yards per carry, third best in the nation.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
TCU: QB Max Duggan. The Heisman Trophy runner-up threw 30 touchdown passes and only four interceptions. He also ran for six scores and twice rushed for more than 100 yards in a game. Duggan is the director of an offense that leads the nation with 19 plays of 50 yards or more.
Michigan: RB Donovan Edwards. The second-year tailback was the No. 2 ballcarrier behind All-American Blake Corum for most of the season. Corum went down with a knee injury in Game 11 and Edwards has embraced the chance to become a workhorse. He has run for 401 yards in the last two games against Ohio State and Purdue.
FACTS & FIGURES
TCU is the first school from the state of Texas to reach the College Football Playoff … Michigan’s only previous appearance in the Fiesta Bowl came in 1986, when coach Jim Harbaugh was the Wolverines’ quarterback. He ran for two scores in a 27-23 victory against Nebraska. … Harbaugh is 1-5 in bowl games as Michigan coach … Michigan has outscored its opponents 244-100 in the first half. … TCU became the first major college football team since 1975 to win seven straight games by 10 points or fewer … Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy has thrown only 288 passes directing the run-heavy offense, but he has 20 TD passes. … TCU WR Quinten Johnston led the team with 53 catches for 903 yards, despite being hampered by injuries much of the season … Michigan’s top cornerback is freshman Will Johnson, a former five-star recruit from Detroit.