PARADISE VALLEY, Ariz. — When most think about the matchup between Michigan football and TCU, the Horned Frogs offense against the Wolverines defense is what tends to come to mind. Even more so, TCU’s passing game against the Michigan secondary.
But beyond that, TCU actually has a solid run game. It is ranked No. 25 in the country in yards per game. While the Horned Frogs don’t have the most vaunted passing attack that Michigan has seen, oddly enough, TCU does have the best rush attack on a per-game basis that the Wolverines have seen. Ohio State is ranked two spots behind TCU. Michigan has seen a more prolific runner, Illinois’ Chase Brown, but Kendre Miller has 1,342 yards this season and is ranked No. 21 in the nation.
Michigan defensive line coach Mike Elston has been impressed with what he’s seen on film and told Wolverines Wire on Thursday about the challenge that the maize and blue will face in terms of stopping or stalling the run on Saturday.
“They’re committed to the run, they do a nice job, they got a big O-line, really good running back,” Elston said. “Obviously the quarterback’s a threat to run the ball. The run game for a pass-happy conference — they’re really committed to running and they do a great job.”
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Why exactly has TCU been so good running the football in a pass-heavy league? In part, it’s due to the formations and schemes the Horned Frogs use, not to mention most teams have to respect the pass.
Elston spoke on being fundamentally sound as well as the ability to get off blocks as being the biggest keys when it comes to defending what TCU wants to do.
“The challenge is they have some quick formations where they try to empty out your box or keep you a guy short from stopping certain runs,” Elston said. “Our ability as a front to block destruct and stay square and get off blocks quickly (is crucial if) we can be effective in (stopping) the run game.”
Michigan football and TCU will kick off the College Football Playoff semifinal in the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 31 at 4 p.m. EST at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The game will be nationally broadcast on ESPN.