Michigan tops Alabama 27-20 in OT of CFP semifinals

Michigan tops Alabama 27-20 in OT of CFP semifinals

Michigan (14-0 straight up, 8-5-1 against the spread) beat Alabama 27-20 in overtime Monday night at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The Wolverines scored on the first possession of OT when Blake Corum busted a 17-yard touchdown run.

When Alabama took over, quarterback Jalen Milroe gained 15 yards on a second-and-nine play to set his team up with first and goal at the 9. But two runs to Jase McClellan on first and second and goal went five yards backwards.

On third and goal from the 14, Milroe found Jermaine Burton for an 11-yard gain to the 3. After both teams used timeouts before fourth and goal, Michigan stuffed a QB draw from Milroe for just one yard to end the game.

After both teams went three and out to start the game, the first big play happened when Michigan’s Semaj Morgan fumbled on a punt return, and Alabama’s Quandarrius Robinson recovered at UM’s 44.

After Milroe gained a first down on third and inches, McClellan ripped off a 34-yard TD run for a 7-0 lead.

The lead didn’t last long when the Wolverines answered with a 10-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by a six-yard TD dash by Corum, who had 33 rushing yards on four carries and an eight-yard reception during the possession. Corum also converted a fourth-and-one play with a four-yard run on the drive.

Next, Michigan forced the Crimson Tide to punt on three consecutive three and outs. The Wolverines punted twice on their next two possessions, but the third resulted in an 83-yard drive on eight plays.

With 3:49 left in the second quarter on a third-and-10 play, Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy found Tyler Morris for a 38-yard TD pass. However, the PAT was no good, leaving UM with a 13-7 lead.

Nick Saban’s team responded with a 52-yard drive on 10 plays. There were two key plays, with Milroe finding Isaiah Bond for a 29-yard reception on the first play of the possession.

On second and 15 at UM’s 49, Milroe fled the pocket for a 17-yard gain with 1:08 remaining. However, a few plays later, the Wolverines’ Derrick Moore sacked Milroe for a seven-yard loss.

Nevertheless, Alabama senior kicker Will Reichard salvaged the drive by drilling a 50-yard field goal to trim UM’s lead to 13-10 at halftime.

Nick Saban had to feel decent about a three-point deficit at the break after Michigan’s defensive line absolutely dominated his team’s offensive front in the first half. The Wolverines had five sacks and two tackles for loss in the first 30 minutes of play.

Alabama took over at its own 14 to start the third quarter. The Tide needed just six plays to advance into UM territory thanks to 20 rushing yards on two attempts from RB Justice Haynes, in addition to a nine-yard run by McClellan.

But on first and 10 from UM’s 47, a bad snap out of shotgun resulted in a 13-yard loss. On the next play, another bad snap pushed the Tide back six more yards to set up a third and 29.

‘Bama ran a draw for a seven-yard run by McClellan before punting. Alabama’s defense would force back-to-back punts, and the Tide went three and out on its second possession of the third quarter.

Saban’s team took over at its own 45 with 3:37 left in the third. Milroe rushed for nine and 10-yard gains, while Haynes had runs of 8 and 3 yards on the first four plays of the drive. Then on second and seven from UM’s 25, Milroe found Bond for a nine-yard gain.

After Milroe was stuffed for no gain and ‘Bama had a false start, Milroe ran for 17 yards on second and 15 to UM’s 3. From there, McClellan found paydirt on a three-yard run to give the Tide a 17-13 lead 30 seconds into the final stanza.

When UM went three and out in less than a minute, ‘Bama took over at its own 33 and Milroe completed a 13-yard pass to Kobe Prentice. On the next play, though, Milroe kept it on an RPO and appeared to have a lot of space in the open field.

But in trying to make a move on Michigan safety Quinten Johnson, Milroe lost his balance and didn’t secure the ball to his other (left) hand away from the defender. Johnson knocked the ball loose and Josh Wallace jumped on it.

Michigan couldn’t take advantage, however, even after McCarthy hit Roman Wilson for a 20-yard completion to ‘Bama’s 31. Three plays later, UM kicker James Turner hooked a 49-yard field goal.

Alabama’s next drive started with 21 rushing yards from McClellan on the first two plays. On a third and three at UM’s 41, RB Jam Miller ran for 11 yards and all the momentum appeared to be on the Tide’s side with seven minutes and change remaining.

But the drive stalled due to a false start and UM’s first sack of the second half on a third-and-nine play.

Reichard bailed his team out, though, by burying a 52-yard field goal for a 20-13 lead with 4:14 left.

With its season on the line three plays later, Michigan was facing a fourth-and-two situation from its own 33. McCarthy hit Corum for a 27-yard gain into ‘Bama territory.

It would’ve been a bigger play but toward the end of Corum’s reception, an illegal block pushed the Wolverines back to midfield, albeit with a fresh set of downs.

McCarthy ran for 16 yards on the next play, and then connected with Wilson for a 29-yard completion. Then on second and goal with 1:34 left, McCarthy threw a four-yard scoring strike to Wilson and the PAT tied the game.

Alabama gained one first down to its own 37, but a potential game-winning drive quickly stalled on the next three plays. After ‘Bama punted, UM kneeled on it to set up overtime.

The Wolverines won as two-point favorites, while ‘over’ backers cashed a fortunate winner when the 47 combined points went ‘over’ the 46.5-point number in the extra session.

McCarthy completed 17-of-27 passes for 221 yards and three TDs without an interception, while Corum had 83 rushing yards and one TD on 19 attempts. Corum also had two receptions for 35 yards and one TD, and Wilson had four catches for 73 yards and one TD.

UM’s Junior Colson had a team-high 10 tackles, Michael Barrett had nine tackles and one sack and Braiden McGregor had two sacks.

Milroe’s prop for rushing yards was 35.5 yesterday around noon Eastern, but it was steamed up to 45.5 by mid-afternoon. Despite the six sacks that resulted in lost yards that count toward rushing stats for college QBs, Milroe still managed 63 rushing yards on 21 attempts to hook up ‘over’ backers like me.

He connected on 16-of-23 throws for 116 yards. McClellan also hooked up his betting supporters on the ‘over’ for his rushing yards prop that was in the low 60s, finishing with 87 and two TDs on 14 carries.

After losing to Georgia and TCU in back-to-back CFP semifinal appearances, Michigan has advanced to the finals for the first time in this last four-team playoff before the format moves to 12 teams in 2024.

Waiting for the Wolverines will be Washington, their future Big Ten rival which held off a late Texas rally to beat the Longhorns 37-31 as a four-point underdog in the other CFP semifinal.

As of Tuesday afternoon, most books had Michigan listed as a 4.5-point favorite with a total of 55.5. The Huskies were +154 (DraftKings) to +170 (Circa) on the money line.