2024 College Football Playoff National Championship: Michigan Wolverines beat Washington Huskies



CNN

In Monday night's College Football Playoff national championship game at NRG Stadium in Houston, No. 1 Michigan Wolverines defeated the No. 2 Washington Huskies 34-13.

It was Michigan's first national title since 1997 and the 10th overall NCAA football crown for the winningest program in college football history.

Michigan (15-0), which earlier this season became the first college football program to reach 1,000 all-time wins. Rushed for a team-high 303 yards and four touchdowns First loss of the season to Washington.

The NCAA has awarded Michigan 10 football championships, while Michigan claims 12. The 1932 and 1947 titles Michigan was deemed to have won were not recognized by the NCAA.

“It couldn't have gone better. It went the way we wanted to win every game,” Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters after the game.

In a battle of the nation's last two undefeated teams, Michigan's scoring started early when Wolverines running back Donovan Edwards hit a 41-yard rushing touchdown on the game's first drive. Edwards doubled the Wolverines' score on the team's next offensive drive after breaking off a 46-yard touchdown run to put Michigan up 14–3 in the first quarter.

Edwards' two touchdown runs are the second- and third-longest touchdown runs in CFP Championship Game history, trailing Alabama's Derrick Henry's 50-yard score in 2016.

Washington stuttered for most of the first half until Huskies quarterback and Heisman Trophy runner-up Michael Benix connected with junior Jalen McMillan for a 3-yard touchdown pass in the fourth and a minute into the second. Leg deficit should be reduced to 17-10.

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Both teams' defenses tightened up in the second half, as each team exchanged field goals early in the third quarter before forcing the ball on six consecutive drives.

Michigan took a 27-13 lead midway through the fourth quarter when Blake Corum added the insurance score on a 12-yard run.

With Washington needing a score to keep themselves in the game, Michigan's defense arguably came up with the play of the game as Mike Sainristle intercepted a Bennix Jr. pass and returned it 81 yards to set up the second Corrum touchdown.

Corum finished the game with 134 rushing yards on 21 carries with two touchdowns, while Edwards improved the Wolverines' ground game with 104 rushing yards on six carries and two touchdowns.

Michigan's national championship capped a season full of off-field controversy for the Wolverines.

A self-imposed sanction by Michigan's athletic department suspended head football coach Harbaugh for the first three games due to NCAA recruiting violations. The NCAA, which has an open hearing on the matter, may choose to add more penalties to the case.

A second NCAA investigation into the Wolverines' alleged signal theft in October led to the suspension and resignation of Michigan football analyst Connor Stallions and the firing of linebackers coach Chris Partidge.

Harbaugh, who was not known to have any plans to steal signs from other teams, did accept a three-game suspension — bringing his total from the Michigan sideline to six.

Both NCAA investigations into Michigan are ongoing.

“The problems off the field, we're innocent, we stood strong and tall because we knew we were innocent,” Harbaugh told reporters after the game.

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“I want to point out that these people are innocent. [To] It wasn't that hard to deal with because we knew we were innocent.

Attention turned to Harbaugh's future and the possibility that he might one day lead an NFL team to a Super Bowl.

“I want to experience this. I hope you give it to me,” she said when asked about her future ambitions.

“Like I said the other day, yes, I hope to have a future. I hope to have tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, next week, next month, next year.

Meanwhile, as the Huskies look to join the Big Ten next season, Washington's loss marks the program's final game as a member of the Pac-12 Conference.

Benix, a Heisman Trophy finalist, led the nation in passing, completing 27-of-51 pass attempts in the title game, but with two interceptions.

Benix enjoyed a remarkable final college season with the sixth-year running back — he suffered three season-ending injuries and two surgically repaired knees in his first four years in college football with Indiana — and exploded as a potential first-round pick in the upcoming NFL. Draft.

January 08, 2024: Washington quarterback Michael Benix Jr. (9) steals the ball during the College Football Playoff National Championship game between the Washington Huskies and the Michigan Wolverines at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.  John Mercedes/CSM (Image credit: © John Mercedes/Cal Sport Media) (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

Patrick Mahomes became the first college quarterback to throw for 4,500 yards in back-to-back seasons since Patrick Mahomes did it at Texas Tech in 2015 and 2016. to ESPN.

“It's ugly. We played as a good team. They did some good things,” Benix told reporters after the loss.

“I feel like offensively, we missed a lot of opportunities, chances to help our team, to get our team better with this win.

“We've been through a lot together, and we're not going to point fingers or anything like that. It's very romantic in the locker room.”

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