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Michigan vs. TCU odds, preview, picks, how to watch – 2022 College Football Playoff

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Can J.J. McCarthy lead Michigan to the National Championship?
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy runs the ball against Connecticut in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The College Football Playoffs will kick off on Saturday afternoon with a showdown between the undefeated, second-ranked Michigan Wolverines and the third-ranked TCU Horned Frogs.

 

#2 Michigan Wolverines (13-0) vs. #3 TCU Horned Frogs (12-1)

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How to Watch:

  • Date: Saturday, Dec. 31st
  • Time: 4 p.m. ET
  • Channel: ESPN

Betting Stats: 

  • Spread: MICH -7.5
  • Over/Under: 58.5
  • Moneyline: MICH ML (-380), TCU ML (+250)

 

Matchup:

Michigan is back in the College Football Playoff for the second straight year after being beaten pretty soundly by eventual national champion Georgia last year. 

They return this year on the back of a dominant run game and defense. The Wolverines average 243 rushing yards per game, which is good for the sixth-best mark in college football. Of course, they will be without their stud Blake Corum, who underwent ACL surgery after an injury suffered against Illinois. 

In 12 games this year, Corum rushed for 1,463 yards and 18 touchdowns, so his loss is certainly a major one, but Michigan has gotten tremendous production in their last two games from sophomore Donovan Edwards, who ran for 216 yards and two touchdowns against Ohio State and then 185 yards and a touchdown in the Big Ten Championship win over Purdue. 

He could pose a tough challenge for a TCU run defense that allowed an average of 218.5 yards rushing to Baylor and Kansas State in two of the Horned Frogs’ last three games.

However, the Wolverines also have upside in their passing game as well. First-year starter J.J. McCarthy made several explosive plays against Ohio State, passing for 263 yards and three touchdowns. On the season, McCarthy has thrown for 2,376 yards and 20 touchdowns with just three interceptions. He’s also added another 254 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. 

TCU finished just outside the top 50 in terms of points allowed per game and was able to hold Texas to just 10 points on the road, so this is a defense that has shown up in big games. 

However, they come into this game as the less prolific of the two defenses. They finished the year allowing just 13.4 points per game, which was tied for the second-fewest in the nation. They also allowed only 23 points on the road in Columbus in their win over Ohio State, so they won’t be scared of the moment. 

On offense, the Horned Frogs will look to rely on a strong ground game that averages 201.7 rushing yards per game, which is 19th-most in the nation. Junior Kendre Miller leads the team with 1,342 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns, but quarterback Max Duggan is also a factor on the ground, adding 404 rushing yards and six touchdowns. 

They will have a stiff test against a Wolverines defense that is allowing just 85.2 rushing yards per game, which is second in the country behind only the Georgia Bulldogs.

With both teams relying on their defense and ground games, this could be more of a low-scoring affair than the line indicates and makes betting on the under seem like a good bet. However, considering running and playing defense are what the Wolverines do almost as well as any team in the country, this matchup figured to favor the Wolverines, who should win and cover the spread. 

 

Players to Know:

J.J. McCarthy – MICH, QB

2022 stats: 65.3% completion 2,376 passing yards, 20 TDs, three INTs, four rushing TDs

 

Donovan Edwards – MICH, RB

2022 stats: 872 rushing yards, 7.5 yards per carry, 192 receiving yards, nine total TDs

 

Max Duggan – TCU, QB

2022 stats: 64.9% completion 3,321 passing yards, 30 TDs, four INTs, six rushing TDs

 

Kendre Miller – TCU RB

2022 stats: 1,342 rushing yards, 6.2 yards per carry, 116 receiving yards, 17 total TDs

 

Key Injuries: 

TCU:

  • WR Quincy Brown (Undisclosed)

Michigan:

  • RB Blake Corum (Knee)
  • LS William Wagner (Undisclosed)
  • DB Caden Kolesar (Knee)
  • LB Nikhai Hill-Green (Lower Body)
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Can Max Duggan lead TCU over Michigan?
Horned Frogs quarterback Max Duggan reacts to throwing touchdown pass during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Iowa State in Fort Worth, Texas, Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. TCU won 62-14. (AP Photo/LM Otero)