Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; TCU Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan (15) passes against Michigan Wolverines defensive lineman Kris Jenkins (94) in the second quarter of the 2022 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

No. 3 TCU holds off No. 2 Michigan to earn championship spot

TCU’s defense returned two interceptions for touchdowns and quarterback Max Duggan accounted for four touchdowns Saturday as the third-ranked Horned Frogs outgunned No. 2 Michigan 51-45 in the College Football Playoff semifinals in Glendale, Ariz.

Both teams are 13-1, but it’s TCU that will move on to the championship game on Jan. 9 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles against either No. 1 Georgia or No. 4 Ohio State. The Horned Frogs gave up 527 yards and 39 second half points, but came up with the necessary plays to move on.

The Wolverines had a chance to win the game when they got the ball back on their 25 with 52 seconds left, but couldn’t gain a first down. TCU survived a targeting review on Michigan’s fourth-down play that was stopped at the line of scrimmage.

Duggan wasn’t as efficient as usual, but still completed 14 of 29 passes for 225 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed for two touchdowns and backup running back Emari Demercado rushed for 150 yards, the most anyone’s gained on the Wolverines this year, on 17 attempts.

J.J. McCarthy was 20 of 34 for 343 yards and two touchdowns for Michigan, but the two pick-sixes he tossed ultimately made the difference.

A 200-1 shot to reach this point, TCU showed it belonged from the start, establishing a 21-6 halftime lead. It led 14-0 after a quarter as Bud Clark returned an interception 41 yards and Duggan capped a 76-yard drive with a 1-yard run.

It became 21-3 when Duggan found Taye Barber for a 6-yard touchdown pass, finishing an 83-yard march. But Michigan gained momentum going into halftime when Jake Moody boomed a 59-yard field goal as time expired.

The Wolverines found rhythm offensively in a 24-point third quarter, although McCarthy mixed in his second pick-six of the game when Dee Winters lugged it back 29 yards for a 34-16 advantage. But Michigan closed within 41-30 with three seconds left in the period on a 1-yard run by Kalel Mullings and a 2-point conversion.

–Field Level Media

Nov 26, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy (9) passes in the first half against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Big plays carry No. 3 Michigan past No. 2 Ohio State 45-23

J.J. McCarthy threw for 263 yards and three touchdowns, added another score on the ground and No. 3 Michigan defeated Ohio State 45-23 at Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday.

Donovan Edwards added 216 yards rushing with two TDs as the Wolverines (12-0, 9-0 Big Ten) defeated the Buckeyes (11-1, 8-1) at Ohio Stadium for the first time since 2000.

McCarthy’s 45-yard TD pass to Colston Loveland early in the third quarter gave the Wolverines the lead for good at 24-20.

McCarthy followed that with a 15-play, 80-yard drive that took 7:51 off the clock by running in from the 3 with 13:10 remaining in the game. A defensive pass interference call on the Buckeyes’ Zach Harrison on a third-and-10 from the Ohio State 13 kept the drive alive and put the ball on the 2-yard line.

Noah Ruggles kicked a 27-yard field goal to pull Ohio State within 31-23 with 7:23 remaining.

Edwards followed with touchdown runs of 75 and 85 yards for the Wolverines to put the game away.

Ohio State held a 20-17 halftime lead even though McCarthy stunned the Buckeyes with 69- and 75-yard touchdown passes to Cornelius Johnson two minutes apart to give the Wolverines a 17-13 advantage with 5:36 left in the second quarter.

Johnson had four catches for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud responded with a 42-yard scoring strike to Marvin Harrison Jr. with 3:49 remaining in the first half to put the Buckeyes ahead at the break.

Stroud was 31 of 48 for 349 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Ohio State took a 7-0 lead on the first drive of the game, getting a 4-yard rushing TD from Emeka Egbuka.

The Buckeyes led 10-3 when McCarthy, on a third-and-nine from the Michigan 31, found Johnson along the left sideline. He spun from defensive back Cam Brown to score on the 69-yard play to tie it. After a Noah Ruggles 47-yard field goal put the Buckeyes up 13-10, Johnson was at it again for his 75-yard go-ahead score.

Michigan running back and Heisman Trophy hopeful Blake Corum was on the field for the first three snaps but did not play afterward because of a previous knee injury. He had two carries for 6 yards.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Blake Corum (2) rushes chased by Ohio State Buckeyes safety Ronnie Hickman (14) and ornerback Denzel Burke (29) at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Miyan Williams, Blake Corum expected to play in Michigan-Ohio State tilt

Both No. 3 Michigan and No. 2 Ohio State expect to have their respective leading rushers for their all-important heavyweight showdown on Saturday afternoon in Columbus, Ohio.

The Buckeyes (11-0, 8-0 Big Ten) will see the return of junior Miyan Williams after he missed last week’s game against Maryland.

ESPN reported that Wolverines junior Blake Corum is expected to attempt play after injuring his knee last week against Illinois.

Per the ESPN report, Corum would not likely play the full game and is not yet completely healthy.

Corum’s status in particular will be watched closely as he has put up one of the best seasons of any running back in college football this year. He ranks sixth in the country in rushing with 1,457 yards and tied for second with 18 rushing touchdowns on 245 carries while powering the Wolverines (11-0, 8-0).

But Corum, a likely Heisman Trophy candidate, went down in the second quarter last Saturday with a left knee injury. The effects were felt on the Wolverines offense in the near upset, with Michigan surviving on a last-second field goal.

Corum has scored a rushing touchdown in every game this season for Michigan’s run-heavy offense, and has reeled off eight consecutive 100-yard rushing games. He was the anchor in the Wolverines’ fourth-ranked rushing attack this season, with the team averaging 243.8 rushing yards per game.

Williams (117 carries) has had less than half as many carries this season as Corum, but the 5-foot-9, 225-pound back ranks among the nation’s top 10 in yards per carry at 6.7. His 783 rushing yards and 13 scores on the ground.

Williams’ health remains even more important for Ohio State with sophomore TreVeyon Henderson expected to be sidelined because of an injured foot.

The winner of the Michigan-Ohio State game will have an inside track to securing a bid in the College Football Playoff. The Wolverines snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Buckeyes last season, winning at home 42-27.

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;  Michigan Wolverines running back Blake Corum (2) rushes in the first half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Running backs in spotlight as No. 2 Ohio State, No. 3 Michigan clash

In a showdown that could be decided by which powerhouse can successfully move the ball on the ground, the health of the running backs will be in the spotlight when No. 3 Michigan plays No. 2 Ohio State on Saturday in Columbus, Ohio.

The Wolverines (11-0, 8-0 Big Ten) rely on Heisman Trophy candidate Blake Corum, who has rushed for 1,457 yards on 5.9 yards per carry with 18 touchdowns, but he left the Illinois game last Saturday in the third quarter with a knee injury.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said Tuesday that he had no injury update although that could be some gamesmanship because Corum told the Detroit News on Sunday, “It’s good. I’ll be fine. I’ll be back.”

The Buckeyes (11-0, 8-0) have the two-pronged attack of Miyan Williams (783 yards, 6.7 per carry, 13 touchdowns) and TreVeyon Henderson (571, 5.3, six), but they have rarely been used as a tandem in the game.

Henderson has missed three games due to injury and was hurt in the first half against Maryland last Saturday. Williams did not play versus the Terrapins, has sat out two other games and left another early.

Ohio State coach Ryan Day on Tuesday said he is hopeful they’ll be ready for Michigan.

“We’d like for them to practice, but if they miss a little bit we’ll adjust accordingly,” he said.

In their absence, freshman Dallan Hayden has filled the void. He rushed for 146 yards and three touchdowns against Maryland and 102 yards and one score versus Indiana in the previous game, averaging 5.4 yards per carry in each contest.

“To see the way he stepped up last week was tremendous and encouraging,” Day said.

When asked if a healthy Hayden is better than Williams and Henderson if they’re not 100 percent, Day said, “I think it’s definitely worth a conversation.”

Michigan backup running back Donovan Edwards and edge rusher Mike Morris also were unavailable against Illinois — Harbaugh did not have updates — but Corum is the key.

“He’s a great player, but I think everybody else is just going to step up with him out and I think that we’re up to the challenge and we will do that,” Michigan left tackle Ryan Hayes said Monday on the possibility of Corum being out.

If Corum plays, he’ll be looking for a Heisman moment, as will Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud, who has completed 66.4 percent of his passes for 2,991 yards with 35 touchdowns and four interceptions. Michigan is No. 1 in the nation in total defense (241.3 yards per game) and second in points allowed (11.7).

The Wolverines’ 42-27 win in Ann Arbor, Mich., last season broke an eight-game losing streak to the Buckeyes, who are 17-3 versus Michigan since 2001.

“Looking up at the scoreboard, personally in my mind, not only did we fail our number one goal, I felt like I let them (past Buckeyes) down in that game,” Ohio State left tackle Paris Johnson said.

The Wolverines have lost nine consecutive games in Ohio Stadium since 2001 in the heated rivalry, but this is their first trip there since 2018 because the 2020 game was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s through a strong opponent that you figure out how good you are,” Harbaugh said. “I think you’re going to find we’re made of the right stuff.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;  Michigan Wolverines running back C.J. Stokes (23) is tackled by Illinois Fighting Illini defensive back Xavier Scott (14) in the first half at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Late FG helps No. 3 Michigan beat Illinois to stay unbeaten

Jake Moody kicked a game-winning 35-yard field goal with nine seconds remaining as No. 3 Michigan stayed unbeaten and pulled off a narrow 19-17 victory over Illinois on Saturday afternoon in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Chase Brown’s 37-yard rushing touchdown with 1:37 left in the third quarter gave the Fighting Illini (7-4, 4-4 Big Ten) a 17-10 lead, but Moody made field goals of 41 and 33 yards in the fourth to pull the Wolverines (11-0, 8-0) within one.

Michigan’s defense prevented Illinois from manufacturing a first down on its second-to-last drive, and the Wolverines took over at their own 48. A defensive pass interference penalty put Michigan at the Illini 22, setting up Moody’s game-winner.

Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy completed 18 of 34 passes for 208 yards, and running back Blake Corum rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries despite being hampered by a second-quarter knee injury.

Brown finished with 140 yards and a pair of scores on 29 carries, while Tommy DeVito threw for 178 yards on 21-for-30 passing.

After the Illini went three-and-out to open the second half, the Wolverines drove to the Illinois 28 and extended their advantage to 10-3 thanks to Moody’s 46-yarder.

But the Fighting Illini leveled the score just 3:27 later when Brown wrapped up a nine-play, 67-yard drive with an 8-yard rushing score.

Caleb Griffin’s 29-yard field goal provided the Fighting Illini’s only points of the first half, pulling Illinois within 7-3 with 4:03 left to play before the break.

A 25-yard rush by Corum and a 22-yard completion to Ronnie Bell on Michigan’s ensuing possession helped the Wolverines drive down to the red zone, but Corum lost a fumble at the Illinois 13. Corum also sustained his injury on the play, exiting the game under his own power. He carried the ball just once following halftime.

Michigan wasted no time getting the offense going, driving 75 yards in seven plays on its first drive for a 7-0 lead. Corum capped the stand with a 2-yard rushing TD.

The Wolverines’ defense was suffocating through the first 15 minutes of action, holding Illinois to just 22 yards.

–Field Level Media

Nov 12, 2022; Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA;  Michigan Wolverines running back Blake Corum (2) stiff arms Nebraska Cornhuskers defensive back Malcolm Hartzog (13) in the first half at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Corum, No. 3 Michigan breeze past Nebraska

Heisman Trophy hopeful Blake Corum rushed for 162 yards and a touchdown as No. 3 Michigan rolled to a 34-3 victory over Nebraska on Saturday at Ann Arbor, Mich.

J.J. McCarthy completed 8-of-17 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another score for Michigan (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten). Ronnie Bell caught four passes for 72 yards and a touchdown, while C.J. Stokes added 68 rushing yards on eight carries as the Wolverines rushed for 264 yards.

Michigan, which is 10-0 for the first time since 2006, plays Illinois in its home finale next Saturday before its annual showdown with arch-rival Ohio State on Nov. 26.

Nebraska starting quarterback Chubba Purdy sustained a leg injury on a running play late in the first half and did not return. Purdy still wound up as the team’s leading rusher with 39 yards in five carries.

The Cornhuskers (3-7, 2-5) were limited to 147 total yards.

Corum had 103 rushing yards by halftime as the Wolverines grabbed a 17-3 lead.

Michigan drove 80 yards in 12 plays during its first possession, capping it off with Corum’s 2-yard touchdown run. McCarthy completed a 25-yard pass to Bell during that drive.

A 28-yard completion from McCarthy to Colston Loveland and a 12-yard run by Corum set up the Wolverines’ next touchdown, a 9-yard pass from McCarthy to Bell midway through the second quarter.

Timmy Bleekrode’s 37-yard field goal put Nebraska on the board. Michigan’s Jake Moody answered that with a 30-yard field goal with one second left in the half.

A 10-play, 65-yard drive gave Michigan a three-touchdown lead late in the third quarter. Corum had 33 rushing yards in that span and McCarthy finished it off by cutting to his left on a 3-yard run.

Stokes gained 46 yards on the Wolverines’ next scoring drive. McCarthy hit Bell with a 29-yard gain but Bell fumbled just before the goal line. Andrel Anthony recovered it near the end line with 9:39 remaining.

Moody added a 43-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter to complete the scoring.

–Field Level Media