Jim Harbaugh reacts to Michigan football's loss to TCU: 'Great season that ends one week early' (2023)


Alejandro Zuniga

GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Michigan football season ended on Saturday night with a 51-45 loss to TCU in the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl.

For a second straight year, the Wolverines fell shortin the College Football Playoff semifinals. This time, a series of self-inflicted wounds coupled with an explosive Horned Frogs offense resulted in an entertaining game but a loss nonetheless.

In the minutes after the final whistle, U-M coach Jim Harbaughand players met with media for press conferences to discuss the result. Here is what they said:

Q. I'm curious if you can speak to TCU's level of play. They're not a traditional power, but they look like it. So can you speak to their level of play today?

COACH HARBAUGH: Congratulations to TCU. I thought they played a great game. 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.

Q. Can you share with us some of what you told your team after this game?

COACH HARBAUGH: Just what I just said. Really proud of them. Really proud of the fight. They have been locker room heroes the entire season. As I was standing there in front of them, that's who they are. It's what they are.

I was super proud of them. That's why you never give up. You never give in. You never let up. You just keep playing, keep playing the game one play at a time. I'm sure there's a lot of analogies to life with that.

But they're real. Our team continues to do that, done it all year, and did it right up until the end. Great season that ends one week early.

This story continues below...

Q. Can you describe what J.J. McCarthy did in this game?

COACH HARBAUGH: It was a titanic effort. Just a phenomenal effort by J.J, a titan of an effort. I am so proud of him just like he was my own son. What a competitor he is. Ronnie Bell, Mike Sainristil, I could go on.

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.

(Video) Jim Harbaugh Is SHOCKED By Michigan's UPSET To TCU In College Football Playoff I FULL INTERVIEW

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.

Q. You guys have a great defense and take a lot of pride in it. How surprised were you at how much TCU was able to have success on the ground against your defensive front?

COACH HARBAUGH: They did an outstanding job; cracked off some really big plays. We just didn't get fitted right. That was disappointing.

Like I said, there were big plays being made; mistakes being made. Both teams, we just had one less than we needed, and they had one more. And that ended up being the difference in the game.

Q. I want to touch on one of your guys' brightest moments in the game, the flea-flicker touchdown. Was that something you were thinking about coming in, or was that more of an on-the-spot decision, and what did you make of the play?

COACH HARBAUGH: I thought it was really well-executed. It was something we had game-planned, and, yeah, it was a great call. The guys executed it as good as you can execute it.

(Video) Paul Finebaum UNLEASHES on Jim Harbaugh after Michigan’s loss to TCU! | Get Up

Q. There were so many points you could go back to in a game like this, but you had two opportunities inside the five and came away with no points. How much will those moments stick with you coming out of this one?

COACH HARBAUGH: Like I said, we were one short of executing the touchdown, the turnover. They made their fair share of mistakes. We made ours. They made their big plays. We made our big plays. And we just had one fewer big play, one less misfire.

Q. I wanted to ask about one of those plays in particular, the first fourth down there on the goal line. That play-call, can you describe what you were intending to go for there? You guys tend to do more dive plays down there. Why did you go for more of a trick play in that situation?

COACH HARBAUGH: Because we thought it would work. I take full responsibility for it not working, and should have had something different called. Put that one on me. They had it wired and they had it well-defended. Sitting here now, definitely wish I would have called a different one.

Q. Of all the things that happened, I wonder what you thought of some of the bizarre things? The last play when they reviewed the touchdown in the end zone that was overturned, and a few other things like that. How did that factor into the whole mix?

(Video) Did Jim Harbaugh's legacy at Michigan take a hit after losing to TCU? | KJM

COACH HARBAUGH: I mean, I'll take a closer look at it. Last play, they were looking at targeting and they ruled that it wasn't targeting. The touchdown, Roman [Wilson's], that they ruled it didn't get in the end zone.

Q. Your team still bounced back from all of that. Is that where you feel good about -- not good about a loss but --

COACH HARBAUGH: Obviously I feel so proud. Our team, they never quit, they never gave in. I feel really proud. I can't say enough how many phenomenal plays were made in the game by our guys and I feel very proud of that, yes.

This concluded Jim Harbaugh's press conference. Additional quotes from players will follow, and stay tuned to The Michigan Insider for additional interviewsand observations from the Michigan locker room following the game:

Q. I'm sorry about the loss. I cannot imagine how disappointed you must be feeling right now. I am wondering if you can speak to the level of play that TCU brought, whether they showed you that an up-start program belongs on the field with a blue-blood program such as yourselves.

J.J. McCARTHY: All credit to them. 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.

Q. To fall behind by 18 like you guys did, that third quarter was crazy from all of our seats up in the press box. What was it like to be a part of that back and forth battle throughout that second half?

DONOVAN EDWARDS: We had our heads up high the whole game. Regardless, we're a four-quarter team. We'll be back.

MIKE SAINRISTIL: Yeah, I would just say in a football game like the one we just played in, there's no time to hang your head and get frustrated in what's going on. You got to have the next-play mentality.

No matter what the situation was, we just kept fighting offensively, defensively, and special teams. That's really what goes into back-and-forth games like that. Just giving your all every play.

(Video) Michigan's recipe for success dissolved in loss to TCU: Brad Galli postgame report

Q. Donovan, I saw you and J.J. [McCarthy] out there, just like last year. It was really hard to put into words. Can you share with us what was going through your mind as you guys were standing up there watching that happen?

DONOVAN EDWARDS: It sucks that we lost the game. Our whole season preparation has been to win a national championship, and this is the second year that we have lost in the 14th game of the season. So we're just like, "We will be back." Same thing we said last year.

Q. I know it's got to be devastating right now. How much more of a gut punch is this loss when there are many things you guys did to essentially kind of beat yourselves early on in this game?

DONOVAN EDWARDS: It ain't nothing to it. Just back to the drawing board, you know? It's like we got a good amount of the same people that were here last year and this year. So the new guys that are here this year, they understand what it takes.

The freshmen that were here, Will Johnston, Colston Loveland, et cetera, et cetera, they understand what it takes and the preparation that we have to be able to be in positions like this. So we'll be back.

MIKE SAINRISTIL: I would just simply say it's time to -- we're going to learn from this one. Once we get back to the drawing board, it's just time to rebuild, refocus.

(Video) What Michigan players said after loss to TCU in College Football Playoff

There's nothing we can do about it now, but learn from the mistakes and do the best we can this offseason to put ourselves in the best situation for the beginning of next year.


1. Anthony's reaction to Michigan losing to TCU in the Fiesta Bowl
(Michigan Sports Network)
2. Joey Galloway on Michigan despite loss to TCU: They had an OUTSTANDING season! 🙌
(ESPN College Football)
3. Is Michigan's Season a Failure if they lose to TCU?
(Woodward Clips)
4. Michigan offensive film study with Al Borges - (Week 14) - Reviewing CFP semifinal loss to TCU
(The Michigan Insider)
5. Braylon Edwards UPSET over Michigan's Loss to TCU
6. How Michigan CHOKED against TCU in the CFP Semi-Final


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