In a historic clash, the No. 1 Michigan Wolverines asserted their dominance over the No. 2 Washington Huskies in a spectacular performance that culminated in a 34-13 victory, securing the 2024 College Football Playoff National Championship in Houston. The triumph marks Michigan’s return to the pinnacle of college football, bringing a championship ring to Ann Arbor for the first time since 1997.
The Wolverines, under the guidance of Coach Jim Harbaugh, showcased an impressive ground game, amassing a record-breaking 303 yards rushing while overpowering the Huskies on both offensive and defensive lines throughout the contest. Running back Blake Corum led the charge with 134 yards and two touchdowns on 21 touches, complemented by Donovan Edwards, who, despite minimal contributions earlier in the season due to injuries, broke loose for two first-quarter touchdowns and totaled 104 yards on six carries.
Michigan’s rushing dominance proved historic, surpassing Washington’s total yardage for the entire game (301) and setting a new standard for the most rushing yards by a national title winner in the BCS/CFP era (since 1998). Corum and Edwards etched their names in history as the first teammates to each rush for over 100 yards in a national championship since Alabama’s Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon in 2013.
Quarterback J.J. McCarthy, despite registering the fewest passing yards (140) for a winning signal caller since the 2010 BCS title game, played a crucial role in the Wolverines’ triumph. The victory marks Harbaugh’s successful redemption, overcoming previous struggles against arch-rival Ohio State, securing three consecutive wins, including a national title, and cementing his status as the ultimate Michigan Man.
The championship game concluded a season marred by controversies for Harbaugh, with suspensions and allegations, but Michigan’s resilience prevailed. After surviving an overtime battle against No. 4 Alabama in the Rose Bowl, the Wolverines faced a challenging matchup against Washington, who rallied from an early deficit. However, a resilient defensive stand and a 71-yard offensive surge with Corum’s second touchdown secured Michigan’s victory.
Despite Washington’s top-ranked passing offense, Michigan’s defense emerged as the superior unit, intercepting star quarterback Michael Penix Jr. twice. Penix, the 2023 Heisman Trophy runner-up, faced challenges as his usually precise passes went astray, and his receivers struggled with drops in critical moments.
The Wolverines’ triumph carries significant milestones:
- First national championship since 1997 (split with Nebraska)
- Tenth national title in program history
- First undisputed crown of the modern era
- First No. 1 seed to beat a No. 2 seed in the CFP National Championship (1-3)
- Second Big Ten team to win a CFP (Ohio State, 2014)
- First Big Ten team to win 15+ games since the University of Chicago in 1899
- McCarthy’s remarkable career record of 27-1 as a starter (third-best winning percentage in FBS history)
- Michigan’s 40-3 record over the last three seasons, rebounding from a 2-4 campaign in the COVID-19 shortened 2020 season
- Snapping Washington’s 21-game winning streak, the longest active streak in the FBS
Corum’s consistent excellence was highlighted with a touchdown in all 15 games this season, contributing to Michigan’s triumphant journey to the 2024 College Football Playoff National Championship.