Since the college football playoff began, the semifinal rounds have been typically one-sided games. Although there have been a few close semifinal games, thirteen out of the sixteen semifinal games have been won by two scores or more. This past weekend we saw two of the best college football playoff games in the semifinal since the 54-48 double overtime victory Georgia had over Oklahoma at the 2018 Rose Bowl. For the first time in the college football playoff, the committee selected the correct teams to create the most competitive games.
TCU Becomes the First Big 12 Team to Advance to the College Football Playoff Final
TCU was able to take complete advantage of Michigan shooting themselves in the foot on multiple occasions to advance to the CFP Final. From the first play off the game, it looked like Michigan was going to score right away when Donovan Edwards busted a 54-yard run right up the gut swatting up what was sure to be at least three points for the Wolverines.
This is where Michigan then started to shoot themselves in the foot to allow TCU to have a chance right from the start. After a few runs Michigan looked to have a sure touchdown as they lined up for the fourth down from the two-yard line. Michigan, who dominated upfront on the opening series, declined to run the ball again and decided to run the “Philly Special” which gave TCU the ball at the 11. Even if Michigan runs the ball there and gets stuffed, at least TCU is hemmed against their own goal line as opposed to having some security being placed at the 11.
Philly Special doesn’t work for Michigan
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) December 31, 2022
Michigan also running a trick play from the start showed that Michigan thought they needed to catch TCU with their pants down to score. Running trick plays that early shows that you do not believe in your offenses ability to score, which already places you behind the eight ball.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) December 31, 2022
Is Michigan awake yet? pic.twitter.com/OmtkmP1WAz
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) December 31, 2022
Jake Moody. 59 yards. BANG. pic.twitter.com/eDQsZtqzhH
— Unnecessary Roughness (@UnnecRoughness) December 31, 2022
After going down 14-3 Michigan was able to hit on a flea flicker for 50 yards to Roman Wilson. This play is clearly a touchdown and was called back as Wilson did not have complete possession of the ball until he was in the end zone. Michigan also may have been hosed there as the interception the play before was mark two yards behind where Michigan safety Rod Moore picked off Max Duggan on a tipped ball from the receiver.
— Barstool U (@BarstoolU) December 31, 2022
TCU’s ability to take advantage of Michigan’s mistakes with the two pick sixes and Michigan’s fumble on the goal line by Kalel Mullings. TCU was then able to escape another goal line opportunity on the fumble. TCU would lead 21-6 at the half after a 59 yard field goal from Michigan kicker Jake Moody.
These two teams would score at will in the second half. Michigan would find themselves chasing, being down by three scores multiple times, and still would cut the lead to three points after a Roman Wilson touchdown.
TCU would make big plays that would lead to points in the second half. Quentin Johnson had a monster game highlighted by a 76-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter. TCU’s Brad Robbins would also make a key play on special teams, returning a punt for 40 yards setting up a field goal for TCU.
TCU just answers every time Michigan gets momentum. The numbers aren’t impressive, but Max Duggan has played a solid game and made big plays when it matters. How can you not root for TCU after this. They’re gutsy, gritty, and fearless #CFBPlayoff https://t.co/K5tfddT5bQ
— Jay Henry (@jayhenry79) January 1, 2023
This was the story of the day as TCU made about four or five plays that were game defining plays. Michigan was just not able to overcome their mistakes to come back, eventually falling 51-45.
Georgia Does Just Enough to Beat Ohio State 42-21
The name of the game in this one was the two quarterbacks. C.J. Stroud threw for 348 and four touchdowns and on the other side Stetson Bennett threw for 398 yards and three touchdowns. C.J. Stroud, if he was not already, for sure cemented himself as a top five pick in the upcoming NFL draft.
Ohio State had the lead for majority of the game carrying the play and forcing Georgia’s hand. Their ability to have quick scoring play and dissect the Georgia secondary was a sight to see. Strouds ability to move the ball downfield and find his playmakers showed how dominant they are going up against the top defense in the country.
CJ Stroud accidentally threw the greatest pass of all time pic.twitter.com/fgml2cwt1s
— Nico (@elitetakes_) January 1, 2023
On the other side of the ball, Stetson Bennett got past his early game interception and moved forward to help the Bulldogs climb out of two separates fourteen-point holes. Two of his touchdown passes came late in the fourth quarter, one to Arian Smith and the other to Adonai Mitchell, to take the lead over the Buckeyes with 51 seconds left on the clock.
STETSON BENNETT TO ADONAI MITCHELL!!! AS CALLED ON GEORGIA RADIO: pic.twitter.com/I9R4gHF8PH
— Mr Matthew CFB (@MrMatthewCFB) January 1, 2023
Ohio State was able to move the ball from their own 25 to the Georgia 32 yard line to set up an eventual 50 yard field goal for the win. After Georgia called a timeout to ice Ohio State’s kicker Noah Ruggles the kicker would miss wide left. Ohio State was able to come from the abyss after losing to Michigan over a month before to get into the college football playoff. C.J. Stroud did everything he could do but sadly it was not enough.
What a turn of events for Georgia.
Kirby Smart sniffs out an Ohio State fake punt and calls timeout. Right after… this happens.
3 point game in Atlanta. Buckle up. https://t.co/NFMhMgmk0e
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) January 1, 2023
THIS SYNCED PERFECTLY 😳
Ohio State-Georgia finished almost exactly as the 2023 ball dropped 🤯 pic.twitter.com/aMb8TW6dBp
— ESPN (@espn) January 1, 2023
These two games were by far the most competitive semifinal games we have had in a while. College football fans could not have wished for two better games in the semifinal and these two games provided such enjoyment. With a national championship game now set in stone, we can only hope that the final was as enjoyable to watch as the two semifinal matches.
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