A pair of officiating decisions during No. 3 TCU's 51-45 win over No. 2 Michigan in the Fiesta Bowl sparked controversy, especially among Wolverines fans frustrated by how the controversial calls impacted their teams chances in the wild College Football Playoff semifinal game. While the Horned Frogs were penalized two more times for 70 more yards than the Wolverines in a game that featured plenty of questionable calls on both sides, a pair of plays that went under video review stood out.
First came a potentially game-changing catch from Michigan receiver Roman Wilson early in the second quarter. His 50-yard diving grab from quarterback J.J. McCarthy was first ruled a touchdown. After review, however, the officials deemed that Wilson was down on the 1-yard line. Ultimately, it shouldn't have mattered -- the Wolverines should have been able to gain a single yard from there to hit pay dirt -- but it wound up as an important and questionable call when a botched handoff between McCarthy and Kalel Mullings resulted in a touchback and turnover on the next play.
It appeared that Wilson did not actually possess the football until he was in the end zone while the momentum from his dive carried him past the goal line, but the officials deemed otherwise and the costly fumble ensued. In a game that was decided by six points, a call that took six points off the board -- along with a potential extra-point -- hung over the rest of the game.
Then, with Michigan in possession of the football and facing a fourth-and-10 from its own 25-yard line in the final minute, it appeared that TCU's Kee'Yon Stewart may have committed targeting. The junior cornerback lowered his head while helping bring down Michigan's Colston Loveland well short of first down.
A targeting call would have resulted in 15 yards and an automatic first down for the Wolverines, which would have drastically changed how the final minute transpired. After a video review, though, officials deemed there was no targeting, and TCU was able to kneel on the football and run out the clock.
Ultimately, Michigan's three turnovers ---- and the Wolverines' red zone struggles did more damage than the officiating crew. But it may take Wolverines' fans some time to get over the way the game was called. For the record, TCU fans had plenty do be displeased with from the officials as well, including this questionable roughing the passer call that extended a Michigan drive in the first half.