Within minutes of each other on Saturday afternoon, both the No. 3 Michigan Wolverines and No. 4 TCU Horned Frogs held back upset conference opponents and maintained their undefeated seasons and college football playoff chances.
In the timeline, TCU’s game against the Baylor Bears ended first. Baylor held the lead for most of the fourth quarter. The Horned Frogs, down eight, received a touchdown from Emari Demercado with 2:07 left in the game, but failed to convert a two-point try and conceded 28–26. TCU returned the ball 1:30 before the game and made it to Baylor’s 24-yard line without timeouts.
As the clock ticked, the TCU field goal team ran onto the field for a 40-yard try. Griffin Kell pulled it off and with a 29-28 win TCU were still in contention for a playoff spot. It was TCU’s first road win after trailing by eight or more in the fourth quarter since 2016. This made the Frogs the first team from the Big 12 to reach 11-0 since the Texas Longhorns did so in 2009 to advance to the BCS National Championship. .
— TCU Football (@TCUFootball) November 19, 2022
While the drama was set in Waco, Texas, it was being built in Ann Arbor, Michigan. With a rivalry ahead of them the following week against the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes, the Wolverines were losing to the Illinois Fighting Illini. Like TCU, Michigan lagged early in the fourth quarter.
The Wolverine’s offense faltered and missed goalscoring opportunities as Blake Corum was eliminated. However, he hit two field goals and conceded 17-16 with 2:06 to play. Quarterback JJ McCarthy threw three passes, including a fourth down. With 9 seconds left, kicker Jake Moody, the reigning Lou Groza winner of the nation’s top kicker, channeled his inner Griffin Kell and landed a 35-yard punch to win the game 19-17.
Thunderstorm Moody (again) pic.twitter.com/Sj9kN8h3ng
— Michigan Football (@UMichFootball) November 19, 2022
The similarity is not only in the endings.
Until Saturday, teams in the top five playoff rankings were losing in the last minute, 1-29. In 2014, the Alabama Crimson Tide won in overtime after scoring a game-tying field goal against the LSU Tigers after time expired. TCU and Michigan both accomplished the feat on Saturday.
Since the college football playoffs began in 2014, teams 10-0 or better have gone 1-18, trailing by seven or more in the fourth quarter. In 2018, Alabama closed a 28–21 gap to the Georgia Bulldogs in the SEC title game to win 35–28.
Again, the Frogs and Wolverines repeated this feat, all before 4:00 pm ET.
Sportzshala statistics and information contributed to this story.