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TCU’s Kendre Miller (knee) hoping to play in championship game

Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; TCU Horned Frogs running back Kendre Miller (33) tries to break away from Michigan Wolverines Makari Paige (7) past during the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Rondone-Arizona Republic

Ncaa Fiesta Bowl Game

Underdog TCU will need to be at full strength Monday if it wants to deny Georgia back-to-back national championships.

And a big part of the team is running back Kendre Miller, who sustained a sprained right MCL last weekend in the first College Football Playoff semifinal against Michigan.

Miller has been deemed questionable to play against the Bulldogs this week, but head coach Sonny Dykes told reporters on Saturday that Miller has a shot of playing.

“We’ll continue to try to see where he’s at. I think to me in the next 24 hours is when obviously we’ll have to make a determination, have a pretty good idea on what he’s going to be able to do going into the game Monday,” Dykes said. “We’re still optimistic that he’s going to be able to play. So we’ll see how he feels today.

“I think today is going to be important and see, just kind of see where he’s at. See how he feels. And the biggest thing obviously is he’s confident and feels good about it. And we want him to be very effective. We just don’t want to put him out there and give him an opportunity to get more injured.”

Miller does feel good about it. He told ESPN on Saturday that his knee is at about 50 percent — and that’s enough for him to prepare to play for the national championship, at least.

“(Sunday) definitely is going to be pretty much the deciding factor if I can go or not, but I’m going to definitely try,” Miller said. “It’s kind of like a 50-50, but I’ll most definitely suit up either way and try.”

He said his knee is getting better every day but that he’ll have to feel confident before he attempts to play.

“If it’s not stabilized, I wouldn’t feel comfortable going out there and playing,” Miller said. “That’s kind of why I didn’t play in the second half of Michigan. I tried.”

Miller ran for 1,399 yards and 17 touchdowns for TCU in 14 games to lead the Horned Frogs in rushing this season. Behind him were Emari Demercado (622 yards, six TDs) and quarterback Max Duggan (461 yards, eight TDs).

TCU beat the Wolverines 51-45 in the semifinal in the Fiesta Bowl, and Demercado carried the ball 17 times for a career-high 150 yards with a touchdown with Miller unavailable. The senior is from Inglewood, Calif., where the College Football Playoff title game will be played at SoFi Stadium between TCU (13-1) and Georgia (14-0).

“For me, that’s something special,” Demercado said. “I’ve been walking around telling people like it’s something scripted … my last college game, I get to go right down the road from my house. It’s just a surreal feeling, and I’m excited for it.”

–Field Level Media