Michigan is officially No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings and will play No. 3 TCU in the Fiesta Bowl.
The Wolverines will square off against TCU for the first time ever out in Glendale, Arizona on New Year’s Eve.
Jim Harbaugh and his Wolverines capped a 13-0 season with a decisive 43-22 win over Purdue in the Big Ten Championship to punch their ticket to the CFP.
The 2022 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl will feature the first-ever meeting between No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 TCU on Saturday, December 31, 2022 at State Farm Stadium. Kickoff for the semifinal in Glendale will be at 2 pm MST and will be broadcast live on ESPN.
With a trip to the CFP National Championship on the line, the two teams will square off at the Fiesta Bowl for just the second time in each program’s history. Michigan is making its first appearance at the Fiesta Bowl since a 27-23 victory over Nebraska in 1986 when current Head Coach Jim Harbaugh was the team’s quarterback, while TCU will be looking for its first Fiesta Bowl victory following a narrow 17-10 loss to Boise State in 2010.
Tickets are available by visiting fiestabowl.org/tickets or calling 480.350.0911. Fans are encouraged to attend the two pregame parties at State Farm Stadium. The Caesars Sportsbook Club ’71 is a premium pregame party while the Caesars Sportsbook Fan Fest Pregame Party is a party for fans of all ages.
For Michigan, this will be the Wolverines’ second consecutive CFP Semifinal appearance and fourth berth in a New Year’s Six Bowl in the last seven seasons. The rising Horned Frogs are snapping a three-year bowl drought and competing in their first CFP Semifinal after being picked to finish seventh in the 10-team Big 12’s preseason poll.
Michigan is 21-28 all-time in Bowl Games, while TCU owns a 17-15-1 overall Bowl Season record.
“What an incredible matchup we have in Michigan and TCU for the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl,” said Randal Norton, Fiesta Bowl Board Chair. “One of best things about our bowl is having matchups that don’t normally occur. This is the first time these two teams will ever meet on the field, and it’s been 35 years since Michigan last played in the Fiesta Bowl. TCU has been an intriguing story all year and one of these teams will move on to the National Championship. We can’t wait to host the schools, student-athletes, families and fans and treat them to world class Fiesta Bowl hospitality.”
Michigan (13-0) secured its ticket to the Fiesta Bowl with a 43-22 victory over Purdue in the Big Ten Championship Game, the first time in its illustrious history that it won 13 games in a season. Led by Harbaugh, who rushed for two touchdowns and quarterbacked the Wolverines to their lone Fiesta Bowl victory in 1986, Michigan is vying for its first National Championship since 1997 and 12th overall in program history.
Sophomore quarterback J.J. McCarthy has started all but one game for the Wolverines this season and leads the team with 2,376 passing yards and 20 touchdowns through the air. While graduate student Ronnie Bell has been McCarthy’s favorite target with 56 receptions and 754 receiving yards, the Wolverines’ offense – which ranks seventh in the country with 40.1 points per game – features the nation’s sixth-leading rushing attack with 243.0 rush yards per game. Over the last two games, sophomore running back Donovan Edwards, averaging 7.5 yards per carry, has rushed for 401 yards and three touchdowns including 216 yards with a pair of touchdowns in the regular season meeting with Ohio State and 185 yards and a score versus Purdue to earn the Big Ten Championship’s Most Valuable Player honor.
Even more impressively, Michigan’s defense has been one of the elite units in the FBS. The Wolverines rank third in total defense (277.1) and fifth in scoring defense (13.4) while also ranking in the top-25 in both passing defense and rushing defense. Senior Mike Morris, the Big Ten’s Defensive Lineman of the Year, headlines the group after totaling team-highs of 11.0 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks. Morris was joined on the All-Big Ten First Team by fellow defensive lineman, senior Mazi Smith.
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Harbaugh, in his eighth season at the helm of his alma mater, has guided Michigan to back-to-back Big Ten Championships and CFP Semifinal appearances. The Big Ten Coach of the Year, he owns a 74-24 record with the Wolverines and a 103-45 overall coaching record in the FBS.
Coming off a narrow 31-28 overtime loss to Kansas State in the Big 12 Championship, TCU (12-1) snagged a spot in the College Football Playoff with a resume-building regular season that included wins over five nationally-ranked teams. The Horned Frogs are one win away from matching their school record for wins in a season, previously accomplished during a 13-0 season in 2010. TCU owns two national championships in 1935 and 1938.
Orchestrating the sixth-highest scoring offense in the country at 40.3 points per game is senior Max Duggan, a finalist for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award. Duggan is ninth nationally in passing efficiency with a 165.5 rating and leads the Big 12 in passing yards (3,321), passing touchdowns (30) and yards per completion (13.9). On the ground, junior Kendre Miller has rushed for 1,342 yards with his 17 rushing touchdowns ranking sixth nationally, while junior Quentin Johnston leads the team with 53 receptions, 903 receiving yards and five touchdowns.
TCU’s defense has been opportunistic and has given their high-powered offense extra possessions with 19 turnovers forced, good for 45th in the FBS. Senior Tre’Vius Hodges-Tomlinson, a finalist for the Paycom Jim Thorpe Award presented to the nation’s top defensive back, has accounted for three of TCU’s 14 interceptions, a total that places the Horned Frogs 15th nationally. Hodges-Tomlinson, one of three Horned Frogs with at least three picks this season, is also second on the team with 12 pass breakups. Junior Johnny Hodges is TCU’s top tackler with 76 on the season, including 7.5 tackles-for-loss.
Head Coach Sonny Dykes arrived at TCU following four seasons as the head coach at SMU where he compiled a 30-18 record. In leading TCU to its first bowl game since the 2018 Cheez-It Bowl in downtown Phoenix, Dykes has turned around the TCU program in his first season. The Horned Frogs’ 12 victories heading into the Fiesta Bowl nearly matches the program’s 16 total wins over the last three seasons.
While both teams bring high-octane scoring offenses ranked in the top-seven, they are also two of the best teams in limiting turnovers. Michigan ranks third with seven giveaways and TCU not far behind in seventh with 10.
This year’s Vrbo Fiesta Bowl will be the third College Football Playoff Semifinal in Fiesta Bowl history following games in 2016 and 2019. The winner of the 2022 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl will advance to the CFP National Championship on Monday, January 9, 2023, in Los Angeles.
Now in its 52nd year, the Fiesta Bowl has provided some of the most memorable moments in college football, hosted 12 Heisman Trophy winners, millions of fans and seven National Championship games.
Fans can also join the start of Bowl Season with the exciting Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe on Saturday, December 17 through Central Phoenix starting at 10 am MST. Arizona’s highest-attended single-day event is free for all fans to attend. Additionally, the Guaranteed Rate Bowl will be played on Tuesday, December 27, in downtown Phoenix at Chase Field featuring a matchup between the Big Ten and Big 12 Conferences.
All tickets purchased for the 2022 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl support Fiesta Bowl Charities and its mission to enhance the cause of Arizona nonprofits through its three pillars of youth, sports and education. Fiesta Bowl Charities has granted nearly $20 million in charitable giving over the last six years alone.
ABOUT THE FIESTA BOWL
Since 1971, the Fiesta Bowl is a world-class community organization that executes innovative experiences, drives economic growth and champions charitable causes, inspiring pride in all Arizonans during and outside of college football bowl season. As a nonprofit organization, it is driven by its vision for the importance of community outreach and service. Through the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl, Guaranteed Rate Bowl and its year-round events, such as the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe, corporate partnerships and numerous community events throughout the year, the organization provides charitable giving to enhance Arizona nonprofit organizations that serve communities through youth, sports and education.
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.