On fourth down in overtime, Alabama couldn’t convert from 3 yards out, and the Crimson Tide’s chance for a national championship ended in the Rose Bowl. Jalen Milroe’s quarterback draw was stuffed by the Michigan defensive front.

Michigan took the lead for good in the extra session of the College Football Playoff semifinal when Blake Corum ran 17 yards to score a touchdown and became the all-time leading TD scorer in Michigan history. Michigan prevailed 27-20.

Michigan improved to 14-0 and will play Washington or Texas next week for the national championship. Alabama fell to 12-2.

Michigan tied the game at 20 with 1:34 remaining on an 8-play, 75-yard drive when JJ McCarthy found Roman Wilson for a 4-yard touchdown. The drive was highlighted a 4th down swing pass from McCarthy to Corum that went for 27 yards from the Alabama 40-yard line. But Alabama couldn’t convert a first down near midfield, but a beautiful punt forced Michigan to run out the clock for overtime.

The first quarter was a tale of 2 halves, and then the game settled into the punch, counter-punch event many expected. The first half overall was a stark contrast, except on the scoreboard, where Michigan had a 3-point lead. The Wolverines had 197 yards to 98 for Alabama. The average yards per play for Michigan (6.4) dwarfed Alabama’s 3.7

Michigan, playing in the College Football Playoff for the 3rd straight season seeking its first win, was routed by Georgia in 2021 and upset by TCU last season. The Wolverines haven’t won a national championship since 1997. Alabama was seeking its 7th title under coach Nick Saban and had been victorious in the semifinal in 6 of 7 CFP appearances. Saban won his first championship with the Crimson Tide in the 2010 BCS title game in Pasadena, California.

Just as Michigan held a narrow lead entering the 2nd half, Alabama grabbed the lead and momentum after an 8-play, 55-yard scoring drive as the rushing attack took over and Jase McClellan capped it with a 3-yard touchdown early in the 4th quarter.

However, after Alabama forced a Michigan punt, the momentum flipped again when Jalen Milroe fumbled near midfield with 12:47 remaining. But Michigan then sent a field goal attempt wide left.

Here are our 3 takeaways from the Rose Bowl:

Mistake-filled start

Caleb Downs had a near-interception that was called back after a review. Then Michigan muffed a punt near midfield. It was clear in the early stages of the game that Alabama took advantage of a pair of Michigan blunders to score early.

Before it scored on a Jase McClellan touchdown, Alabama itself had a rough start. Jalen Milroe was under pressure and was sacked on 1st down and 3rd down on the opening drive as Alabama faced a 2nd down and 23 from its own 24, and then a 3rd and 12, which resulted in a sack of 11 yards.

Jalen Milroe sacks

Michigan had 4 sacks by early in the 2nd quarter, 5 by halftime, and that continued a theme of a struggling Alabama offensive line for much of this season. The 5 sacks were the most 1st-half sacks Alabama has allowed under Nick Saban, as it tied the 5 it allowed in the 2022 Iron Bowl. The 4 sacks came on Milroe’s first 6 dropbacks, and twice as many times as Milroe threw the ball. Michigan’s performance also set a CFP record. Those created an ongoing problem, as Alabama had 5 drives where it went 3-and-out by late in the 3rd quarter.

Conversely, Alabama didn’t register a sack or a tackle for a loss until midway through the 3rd quarter.

Michigan special teams were costly

First it was Semaj Morgan muffing a punt early in the game, but then Michigan missed an extra point. But then the toughest momentum play came early in the 4th quarter when Michigan missed a 49-yard field goal attempt from James Turner, as the kick sailed wide left. Through it all, Michigan fans and media blasted the mistakes.

With less than a minute remaining, Michigan muffed another punt from Alabama, but recovered the ball in the shadow of the goal line.