By DJ Harding –
In the world of college football four teams had the chance to end 2022 with a bang and have their first game of 2023 be the National Championship.
The double header included the Fiesta Bowl with number two ranked Michigan Wolverines (13-0) playing the 3rd ranked TCU (Texas Christian University) Horned Frogs (12-1) which was followed up by the Peach Bowl with first in the nation Georgia Bulldogs versus the Ohio State Buckeyes who came in at number 4.
The Fiesta Bowl’s first quarter was all TCU with a pick six and a rushing touchdown to put the Horned Frogs up 14-0 and from there it was Michigan fighting an uphill battle. The lead stayed mostly the same going from 14 to 15 as it was 21-6 at halftime. But then the Wolvernies started to put up a fight. TCU had to deal with multiple attempts at Michigan trying to gain the lead the first coming with 6 minutes left in the 3rd quarter when a 34 yard touchdown catch by Ronie Bell from JJ McCarthy brough the lead within 5. But TCU answered right back with a drive that ended in a 1 yard rushing touchdown and then bad became worse and McCarthy threw a pick 6 to put the Wolverines from down 5 to 18 within a matter of minutes. Michigan wasn’t out just yet because with 14 minutes left in the 4th quarter a Roman Wilson rushing touchdown and a successful 2 point try brought the score within 3. Unfortunately for Michigan, TCU answered right back with a 76 yard touchdown from Max Duggan to Quieten Johnson which all but sealed the deal with TCU stooping Michigan in any final attempt to upset Michigan and book their ticket into the National Championship their first since 1938.
The next matchup was a shootout that went on as people counted down the New Year. A game where it felt as if defense was non-existent with Georgia Bulldogs Quarterback Stetson Bennett threw from 398 yards and 3 touchdowns was in a bit of a duel with Ohio State Buckeyes Quarterback C.J stroud who himself threw for 348 yards and 4 touchdowns. Not to be outdone by the quarterbacks Marvin Harrison Jr was the early star of this game with 5 catches for 105 and 2 touchdowns before leaving the game with an injury. Harrison Jr’s 2 touchdowns were 2 of the first 3 scored by the Buckeyes. As Georgia went score for score going into the half 28-24 Ohio State. Out of the half it was an Ohio State 3rd Quarter as Stroud’s 4th touchdown and a Buckeyes field Goal were the only points scored in the 3rd extending the lead to 14. But the Bulldogs would come back from a 38-24 deficit. First a field goal then a 76 yard touchdown which was Bennett’s 2nd touchdown and despite another Ohio State field goal to push their lead to 6 with 2:49 left in the game. Stetson Bennett would lead the drive of the day 5 plays for 72 yards which ended in a 10 yard touchdown pass to take the lead by one point. This scoring duel wasn’t over as Ohio State had 49 second left and C.J stroud a Heisman finalist showed what he was made of and put his team in field goal position. Trying to complete the upset at 11:59 pm with 3 seconds left on the clock the Buckeyes lined up for a game winning field goal and at midnight on the dot the kick went up and wide right. Unfortunately for the buckeyes this isn’t a fairy tale as the upset did not happen. But for the Bulldogs they booked their ticket to SoFi stadium to take on the TCU horned Frogs for the National Championship game. On Monday January 9th these teams will face off for all the marbles on ESPN.