January 9 update: With the Georgia Bulldogs blowing out the TCU Horned Frogs 65-7 in the 2023 CFP National Championship, the record for most points scored in any bowl game, much less a College Football Playoff game, now belongs to the Dawgs.
December 31 update: TCU defeated Michigan 51-45. The total fell well short of the bowl game record and six points short of the playoff record.
The College Football Playoff semifinal matchup between No. 2 Michigan and No. 3 TCU at the Fiesta Bowl went completely off the rails in the third quarter as both teams traded touchdown after touchdown in a short period of time. This explosive pace is exactly what the Horned Frogs were looking for as they forced the Wolverines into a shootout in the desert. A question that has suddenly arisen is where this game will stand in terms of all-time bowl game totals.
The record for most points ever scored in a bowl game is 125, set by Marshall and East Carolina in the 2001 GMAC Bowl in Mobile, AL. Marshall defeated ECU 64-61 in a shootout between two future Jacksonville Jaguars quarterbacks in Byron Leftwich for the Thundering Herd and David Garrard for the Pirates. Throwing for 576 yards, four touchdowns, and two interceptions, Leftwich ended up leading Marshall on the then largest comeback in DI history, erasing a 38-8 halftime deficit to win the game in double overtime.
As far as the College Football Playoff is concerned, the highest scoring game is the 2018 Rose Bowl between Oklahoma and Georgia where both teams combined for 102 points. The Bulldogs prevailed over Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield and the Sooners in a 54-48 double overtime victory in an absolute classic.