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Mike Morris, Cornelius Johnson and more Wolverines reflect on Fiesta Bowl loss

Four Michigan players shared their post-College Football Playoff reactions on Jon Jansen’s podcast.

NCAA Football: Fiesta Bowl-Texas Christian at Michigan Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Following the Michigan Wolverines’ heartbreaking 51-45 loss to the TCU Horned Frogs in the Fiesta Bowl, four Wolverine players gave their postgame reactions on Jon Jansen’s “In the Trenchespodcast.

Here’s what Cornelius Johnson, Kris Jenkins, Mike Barrett, and Mike Morris had to say about the College Football Playoff loss, and what they’ll take from it moving forward:

Cornelius Johnson

On the effort the team showed - “We left it all on the field today. To see this purple confetti, it’s painful man. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be. It’s not how it’s supposed to be man, I tried my best but it’s a tough game.”

On the mistakes made by the team - “Yeah man, it’s just like — we made some tough mistakes. A couple of those things go a different way, we might be looking at a different result. It is what it is. We can’t change the past now, we can go in the film room and look at it on film but — that’s where my head is right now, just look at the film and see where I can get better as a wide receiver.”

Kris Jenkins

On what TCU’s offense showed that presented challenges - “They were really taking advantage of our schemes and both styles of play on the ball. They were hitting us with the run pretty frequently as well as the pass. They kept gashing us, switching it up on us, and we couldn’t adjust quickly enough to stop it — especially cause of our mistakes, it got in the way of our success.”

On the resilience of the team - “That’s our identity. That’s what we pride ourselves on, coach is always talking about — in fact, Mazi Smith even talked about being calm in the face of adversity. Football is a wild game, there’s gonna be certain times where you’re up, when you’re down, and momentum can change. So we’re always taught to keep our heads up, stay strong, play resilient and for each other, and really we just left it all on the field today.”

On what he’s telling the young players - “Just continuing to have that resilience, continuing to have that gritty, physical mentality. We can’t be satisfied with anything we’ve done this season because we couldn’t get goal number four this year. So although this was a great year for a lot of us as a team and individually, we still have a lot of stuff to work on.”

Michael Barrett

On how TCU’s offense got the better of the defense - “They didn’t really do anything that I feel like was just extraordinary, it was just a lack of execution on our part. Lack of focus I would say. They came out the better team today and it showed.”

On flipping the switch and stopping TCU’s backfield in critical late game moments - “I mean, just nutting up. Gotta be able to fight for your brother out there, gotta be able to focus in, especially when you’re tired, just lock into the little details. That’s kinda what we were preaching, every time we made those big stops or made those plays, it was because everyone was doing their own jobs. No one was trying to be Superman out there.”

Mike Morris

On the defense’s performance - “We stopped them when the moment counted, but the damage was already done. We didn’t execute from the beginning to the end, we gave up way too many points — most points we’ve ever given up — and that shows why we lost this game.”

On the biggest lesson he’ll take into next season - “Consistency is key. We have a formula, we made it to this platform two times in a row, but now it’s time to execute even higher. What we did (in 2022 and 2021) wasn’t enough, and it’s time to do more. Execute more, more film, more time in the weight room, just do more. If you think you’re doing enough, you can always do more.”