The first half of the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Fiesta Bowl could not have gone much better for TCU.
The Horned Frogs ran an interception back for a touchdown, forced a Michigan fumble at the goal line and snuffed out another 4th down attempt for the Wolverines at the 2-yard line.
The result was a comfortable 21–6 halftime lead as a touchdown underdog.
Just about the only thing that didn’t go TCU’s way in the first half was an abhorrent roughing the passer call that took place late in the second quarter that gave the Wolverines a first down with just over three minutes to play.
Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy was hit by TCU linebacker Johnny Hodges as he released the football, and the officials ruled the hit egregious enough to award the Wolverines with a first down.
ESPN play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough disagreed with the call, letting out an “Oh boy,” when the replay was shown.
The officiating in the first half was already much maligned after McCarthy completed a deep pass early in the second quarter to wide receiver Roman Wilson that appeared to be for a touchdown.
However, the officials overturned the touchdown, ruling that the Wolverines receiver was down at the 1-yard line after a 50-yard gain. Michigan fumbled on the next play at the goal line and came away with no points.
As far as the roughing the passer call is concerned, TCU ultimately forced a Michigan punt, but it could have proved to be a pivotal call in one of the most important games of the season in college football.