Jim Harbaugh was hoping to end his winless skid in postseason bowl games in the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl on Saturday.
After trailing 21-6 at halftime and a rollercoaster back-and-forth battle in the second half, the Wolverines needed one more to successful possession to sustain life at a chance to compete in the College Football Playoff national championship game.
Michigan was trailing 51-45 following an incomplete pass from Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy to Donovan Edwards on third down. On fourth down from their own 25-yard-line, McCarthy fumbled the snap.
From there, Edwards picked up the ball and threw the ball to tight end Colston Loveland for a completed pass for a loss of one yard, resulting in a turnover on downs and Harbaugh’s sixth consecutive bowl game loss at Michigan.
The game’s final play also resulted in controversy when officials missed a targeting call by Horned Frogs cornerback Kee’Yon Stewart, who landed a helmet-to-helmet hit on Loveland. After reviewing the call, one that looked as though it would be targeting, officials decided to let the play stand and TCU took over in possession.
TCU, a team that was not even ranked in the Associated Press poll until Week 6 of the college football season, became the first Big 12 team to win a CFP game. Under Harbaugh, in addition to this year’s fiesta Bowl, Michigan has lost the ’16 Orange Bowl, the ’17 Outback Bowl, the ’18 Peach Bowl, the ’19 Citrus Bowl and the ’21 Orange Bowl.