PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Blake Corum ran for a 17-yard touchdown on the second snap of overtime, and top-seeded Michigan advanced to its first College Football Playoff championship game with a 27-20 victory over fourth-seeded Alabama. Entered. Rose Bowl on Monday.
Michigan's defense ended only the second overtime game in 110 editions of the Rose Bowl when Alabama quarterback Jalen Miller was heavily intercepted as he attempted to punt on fourth down from the Michigan 3.
Coach Jim Harbaugh's Wolverines (14-0) will play in Houston on Jan. 8 against Washington or Texas for their school's first national title since 1997, but a late comeback and a hair-raising finish in the Granddaddy of 'Em All only after.
Roman Wilson made a 4-yard TD catch with 1:34 remaining in regulation for the Wolverines, who did not score in the second half until a 75-yard drive led by JJ McCarthy.
Corum needed only two snaps to score in the first overtime period, breaking a tackle and running wildly into the end zone on his second carry.
Milroy connected with Jermaine Burton on third-and-goal in overtime at the Michigan 3, and Alabama relied on its quarterback's athleticism on the final play call – but Milroy ran straight into the Michigan defense that was waiting for him. He was stopped 2 yards short of the goal line.
Jace McClellan ran for 87 yards and two touchdowns for Alabama (12-2), narrowly missing the school's chance to play for Nick Saban's seventh national title. The Tide took a 20–13 lead on Will Reichardt's 52-yard field goal with 4:41 left to play, but their defense could not maintain the lead.
Alabama's defense also could not step up in key moments to stop Corum, who caught an early TD pass and then ran for 83 yards on his overtime heroics. Corum has been at Michigan for three consecutive appearances in the CFP, but he barely played two years ago when the Wolverines were defeated by Georgia, and he was injured when they lost to TCU last year.
McCarthy passed for 221 yards and three touchdowns for Michigan and earned the Offensive Player of the Game award. Milroy passed for 116 yards and 63 runs for the Tide, whose 11-game winning streak ended.
The Wolverines also avoided some potentially disastrous mistakes that would have diminished their long run of superiority in this matchup – including a muffed punt by Jake Thaw that was tackled at the Michigan 1 with 43 seconds remaining in regulation. Was and was barely avoided which would have been one. One of the greatest safeties in football history.
Michigan is the sixth consecutive No. 1 seed to win its semifinal game in the 10 years of the CFP's existence — but not many have been tested the way Alabama tested the Wolverines.
Michigan is one win away from reaching the primary goal set by Harbaugh when he returned to his alma mater in 2015 after his meteoric coaching career ended with the 49ers. The former Wolverines quarterback was determined to restore his school to national prominence and dominance, but he did not win any Big Ten titles in his first six seasons amid the disappointment of a fan base that was hoping things would happen sooner.
Michigan heads into 2021 having won three consecutive conference titles and advancing to three playoffs. The Wolverines have finally reached the biggest stage of their sport after their second consecutive undefeated regular season.
The Wolverines' pristine record hid an extremely poor season for Harbaugh due to two three-game suspensions – the first pre-suspended by the school amid an investigation into possible recruiting violations, and the second mandated by the Big Ten on sign-stealing charges. to be done. In-game scouting.
Harbaugh's players said the turmoil has actually made them a better, more cohesive team. They needed every bit of that unity against the Tide, who were a few defensive stops away from their seventh trip to the playoff final.
Michigan was the dominant team for long periods of the first three quarters of the Rose Bowl, yet Alabama performed impressively with big plays and ample defensive stops.
McClellan scored on a 34-yard TD run in the first quarter for his first points of the game. Michigan responded with a 75-yard drive capped by Corum's 8-yard catch for his FBS-leading 25th TD – his first on receptions.
The Wolverines went ahead 3:49 before halftime when Tyler Morris made a catch on a short crossing route and carried it 38 yards through Alabama's vaunted secondary for a score – but Michigan failed the extra point snap. done.
Michigan's defense gave up Miller's five sacks and seven tackles for loss in the first half alone, but Alabama trailed just 13–10 at halftime.
McClellan put the Tide ahead 17–13 with a 3-yard TD run on the second snap of the fourth quarter. Michigan's James Turner missed a 49-yard field goal attempt after Miller fumbled near midfield on Alabama's next drive, and the Tide went up by seven on Reichardt's second field goal.
Michigan finally got on with its season, starting when Corum had a 27-yard reception at midfield with 3:10 remaining. After Wilson led the Wolverines to the Alabama 5 with a clutch 29-yard reception, he got wide-open for his 4-yard TD catch with 1:34 to play.
Alabama: The Tide will go three consecutive seasons without a national title for the first time in Saban's tenure, but there's no reason to be shy about a game this good against an elite opponent. Saban's program remains a gold-standard powerhouse, and it will likely remain that way as long as he wants to continue coaching.
Michigan: The Wolverines broke the final hurdle in Harbaugh's tenure with a win that served as the reverse of everything his coach taught him. Michigan's notorious, tough 9-on-7 practice may have prepared it for the final defensive stand. One more step left, but the Wolverines will be favored to win it all.
Alabama: Hosts Western Kentucky on Aug. 31.
Michigan: College Football Playoff championship game Jan. 8 at Houston.
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