Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy makes promise after College Football Playoff loss to TCU: ‘We’ll be back’

Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy and the Wolverines suffered a devastating 51-45 loss Saturday to TCU in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl, but the U-M star promises to be back. Michigan trailed by as many as 19 points late in the third quarter before the Wolverines came storming back, cutting the deficit to six points.

Michigan had one final drive to potentially win the game but turned it over on downs to end its season.

“All credit to them,” McCarthy said of TCU after the game. “They won the game in the 60 minutes that were played. They’re a good football team. No matter what it is, they got the win. Fought our hearts out. There’s a lot of things that we could have done better. Can’t wait to watch the tape.

“But we’ll be back, and I promise that.”

McCarthy completed 20 of 34 attempts for 343 yards and two touchdowns and ran 10 times for 52 yards and another touchdown. McCarthy did throw two costly interceptions that were both returned the other way for six.

“Just a phenomenal effort by J.J, a titan of an effort,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said postgame. “I am so proud of him just like he was my own son. What a competitor he is. The J.J. McCarthy that I know on a day-in, day-out basis, daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, he’s a great player, great talented player, great athlete, great leader. And the best thing about him is he always puts the team above himself. Tremendous competitor. Just phenomenal. His first season as a starter, I don’t think there’s anybody that’s ever done anything quite like what he did this year. And that was true in this game. The throws that he was making, and the throws that Ronnie Bell and Roman Wilson and Colston Loveland and the guys were catching. I mean, it was at a very, very high level. No question about that. So it’s a tremendous testament to what they were able to do today and it wasn’t easy. It was tough to make underneath throws, so they were making the deep ones.”

With the loss to TCU in the Fiesta Bowl, Michigan has lost six straight bowl games under Harbaugh. The Wolverines fell last season in the Orange Bowl to Georgia in the College Football Playoff. TCU now faces Georgia in the national championship game next Monday in Los Angeles.

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“I thought they played a great game,” Harbaugh said of TCU. “Very opportunistic team. Very resilient team. Really great team. Played a great football game, no doubt. There’s a winner. There’s a non-winner. But the winner was football. It was a great game by them. I’m really proud of our guys. Talked to our guys about you don’t quit, you don’t give up. You never let up. You never give in, you just keep playing one play at a time. I could have been easily standing in our locker room at the end of our ballgame and congratulating the whole locker room of heroes because that’s what they are. That’s what they have been this entire season, and including this game. It was a great effort by both teams. Really proud of my team. One less big play, one more big play by us, one more opportunistic play by us, one less opportunistic play by them, and it would be a different situation. It was a great football game, and congratulations to TCU and coach (Sonny) Dykes and the entire squad.”

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