AP

No. 3 TCU earns spot in Fiesta Bowl against No. 2 Michigan

Dec 3, 2022, 8:31 PM | Updated: Dec 4, 2022, 10:33 am

TCU quarterback Max Duggan (15) falls short of a touchdown as Kansas State defensive end Felix Anud...

TCU quarterback Max Duggan (15) falls short of a touchdown as Kansas State defensive end Felix Anudike-Uzomah (91) and cornerback Julius Brents (23) make the stop during overtime of the Big 12 Conference championship NCAA college football game, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Mat Otero)

(AP Photo/Mat Otero)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — TCU’s bid to beat Kansas State in the Big 12 championship came up inches short. The close loss in overtime and the Horned Frogs’ overall resume allowed them to reach the College Football Playoff for the first time.

No. 3 TCU capped its rapid rise under first-year coach Sonny Dykes, earning the chance to play second-ranked Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Eve with a spot in the CFP title game on the line.

“We had a little bit of a sleepless night, but appreciate the committee’s confidence in our players and our program,” Dykes said Sunday. “I think it’s all you can ask for at the beginning of the season.”

The Horned Frogs (12-1) could have locked up a CFP spot by beating Kansas State in the Big 12 championship game Saturday night. They came agonizingly close, losing 31-28 when Kansas State’s Ty Zentner kicked a 31-yard field goal in overtime. TCU’s Kendre Miller was stopped at the goal line on fourth-and-inches the previous series.

That led to an anxious night in Fort Worth.

The Horned Frogs got some help with Utah’s win over then-No. 4 Southern California in the Pac-12 title game, but had to wait to see if their resume was good enough to earn a CFP spot over Ohio State and Alabama.

It was, thanks to five wins over ranked opponents and a gritty performance against Kansas State, a team TCU had beaten earlier this season.

TCU was No. 3 in Sunday’s AP Top 25 and the final CFP rankings, just ahead Ohio State, which will play top-ranked and reigning national champion Georgia in the Peach Bowl.

The Horned Frogs are the second team to make the CFP after being unranked in the preseason, joining Michigan last year.

Not bad for a team that went 5-7 and saw the departure of coach Gary Patterson last season.

“There’s been a lot of lows here in the past four years, but to be able to get the opportunity to get a shot to go to the playoff and two games away from being in the national championship, it’s surreal,” TCU quarterback Max Duggan said.

The next step won’t be easy.

Michigan (13-0, No. 2 CFP) backed up its CFP appearance last season with a dominating 2022.

The physical, gritty Wolverines likely would have been in the CFP even with a loss in the Big Ten championship game after rolling over rival Ohio State in the regular-season finale.

Michigan left no doubt, beating Purdue 43-22 to win consecutive conference titles for the first time since 2003-04. College football’s winningest program now has its first 13-win season, finishing No. 2 in the AP Top 25 and CFP standings.

It’s been quite a run for Michigan since a pandemic-altered 2020 season.

Calls for coach Jim Harbaugh’s job rang out after that 2-4 season, but the Wolverines are 25-2 since and are two wins from their first national championship since 1997.

“It’s a team that really works and competes,” Harbaugh said. “They understand if you want to make things happen, you’ve got to work for them, you’ve got to compete for them. This team sure is about the work. They enjoy the work and embrace it.”

GRITTY DUGGAN

Duggan left everything on the field in the Big 12 championship, including some of his blood.

It was no surprise to his coaches and teammates.

Duggan started the season as TCU’s backup, but transformed into a potential Heisman Trophy finalist through a combination of grit and athleticism. The fourth-year quarterback threw for 3,321 yards and 30 touchdowns with four interceptions, adding 404 yards and six more TDs rushing.

Duggan had to have patches on his bloody elbow replaced several times against Kansas State and was so exhausted he had to lean on his offensive linemen to leave the field late in the game.

“Yesterday’s game, that quarterback was unbelievable in terms of being a competitor,” Harbaugh said.

EDWARDS’ TURN

Michigan seemed to suffer a huge blow when running back and Heisman Trophy candidate Blake Corum went down with a season-ending knee injury.

Donovan Edwards made sure the Wolverines didn’t miss a beat.

The running back from West Bloomfield, Michigan, ran for 216 yards and two touchdowns against Ohio State when Corum was limited to two carries. Edwards then ran for 185 yards and a touchdown against Purdue in the Big Ten championship.

___

AP Sports Writer Stephen Hawkins in Fort Worth, Texas contributed to this story.

___

AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/ap_top25. Sign up for the AP’s college football newsletter: https://tinyurl.com/mrxhe6f2

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]

1 year ago

Joe Jarzynka...

Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]

1 year ago

FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...

Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]

1 year ago

Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...

Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]

1 year ago

FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...

Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]

1 year ago

FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...

Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]

1 year ago

No. 3 TCU earns spot in Fiesta Bowl against No. 2 Michigan