Canadian defensive lineman Lwal Uguak advances to College Football Playoff National Championship with TCU Horned Frogs

Photo courtesy: AP Photo/Brandon Wade

TCU defensive lineman Lwal Uguak is the latest Canadian to get a shot at an NCAA national championship after the No. 3 Horned Frogs upset No. 2 Michigan in the College Football Playoff Semi-Final.

The Edmonton, Alberta native did not record a statistic during his team’s Fiesta Bowl clash with the undefeated Wolverines but watched as his defensive teammates made a last-second stop and overcame a controversial targeting review to secure the 51-45 victory. Defensive backs Bud Clark and Dee Winters both recorded pivotal pick-sixes to change the complexion of the game, while a powerful defensive front consistently made Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy uncomfortable.

Heisman Trophy finalist and B.C. Lions negotiation list quarterback Max Duggan completed 14-of-29 passes for 225 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions while rushing for 57 yards and two more scores in the victory. Running back Emari Demercado carried the ball 17 times for 150 yards and a score, while receiver Quentin Johnston hauled in six passes for 163 yards and a touchdown.

The last Canadian player to win an NCAA championship game was Alabama receiver John Metchie III following the 2020 season, making him the only victor in the College Football Playoff era. Since the introduction of a definitive college football championship game in 1998, just seven Canadians have been part of a title win.

Prior to Metchie, none had won since Louisiana State University offensive lineman Peter Dyakowski in 2003. He capped a three-year run of Canadians hoisting the BCS National Championship trophy, following Ohio State cornerback Mike Roberts in 2002. Four players from north of the border were part of the legendary 2001 Miami Hurricanes squad, including offensive linemen Sherko Haji-Rasouli, Joe McGrath, and Brett Romberg and defensive lineman Miguel Robede.

A product of Harry Ainlay High School, Uguak transferred to Texas Christian University in 2022 for his senior season. Prior to Saturday, he had played in twelve games for the Big 12 program as a rotational defensive lineman, recording nine tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, and recovering one fumble. He did not play in the team’s only loss of the season, the Big 12 Championship against Kansas State.

The six-foot-five, 271-pound defender began his college career with the University of Connecticut. In three seasons (2018-19, 2021), Uguak recorded 69 tackles, nine tackles for loss, four sacks and a forced fumble in 34 games. He is eligible for the 2023 CFL Draft.

The College Football Playoff National Championship Game is scheduled for Monday, January 9 at 7:30 p.m. EST at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles. TCU will face the winner of the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl between the No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs and the No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes.

J.C. Abbott is a University of British Columbia graduate and high school football coach. He covers the CFL, B.C. Lions, CFL Draft and the three-down league's Global initiative.