Pasadena, CA — On New Year’s Day, it was showtime for the Granddaddy of them All; the Rose Bowl Game presented by Prudential. This was the 110th RBG and a College Football Playoff Semifinal contest between the Michigan Wolverines (No. 1, 13-0) coached by Jim Harbaugh, and the Alabama Crimson Tide (No. 4, 12-1) coached by Nick Saban.
The Wolverines were led by quarterback J.J. McCarthy, and by Jalen Milroe for Alabama. After all of weeks of practice and preparation for the RBG, which team would come out on victorious?
In the first half, both teams were getting accustomed to each other, offensively and defensively. However, Michigan would take the halftime lead of 13 – 10, seizing the momentum. The Michigan defense was able to sack Melroe six times throughout the game. Nevertheless, Melroe would run the ball 21 times in the game for a total of 63 yards.
In the third-quarter, neither team would score, as the defensive tug-of-war would prevail.
Finally the scoring draught was broken, as Alabama scored the go ahead touchdown in the beginning of the fourth quarter. The drive was fueled by the running effort of Milroe as Jase McClellan punched it in with a two-yard run, 17-13.
The momentum was in the favor of Alabama after a failed 49-yard field goal attempt by James Turner. Alabama would add to their led with a 52-yard field goal by Will Reichard to increase the lead to 20-13.
With time winding down, Michigan had a fantastic 75-yard scoring drive capped off with an easy 4-yard pass by McCarthy to Roman Wilson to even the score at 20-all.
With 1:34 seconds remaining in the game, Alabama failed to score from their 25-yard line. Michigan got the ball back with 35 seconds remaining in the game and did not score, thus going to overtime.
Alabama won the coin toss for the overtime possession and chose to go on defense first. With the ball on the 25-yard line, Michigan ran the ball twice with Blake Corum and on the second attempt he scored a 17-yard touchdown. The extra point was added by James Turner. Now it was time for Alabama to score a touchdown to tie up the game.
However, the defense of Michigan prevented Milroe from scoring on a 3-yard running attempt on their final play: Victory to Michigan 27-20.
McCarthy passed for 221 yards and 3 touchdowns. Corum led the rushing attack with 83 yards and a touchdown. Wilson, Morris, and Corum all had touchdown receptions. For Alabama, Milroe passed for 116 yards, while McClellan rushed for 87 yards and two touchdowns. Isaiah Bond led the receivers with 47 yards.
What a fantastic game for the 96,371 fans that were in attendance. In my estimation the stadium was approximately a 60/40 split of blue to red jerseys in favor of Michigan.
With the victory over Alabama; Michigan will travel to Houston for the College Football National Championship Game against the Washington Huskies on January 8, 2024.