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Friday, April 12, 2024

Michigan Wolverines secure 2024 College Football Championship win

Washington Huskies lose to Michigan Wolverines with a final score of 34-13

 

By MI’ZAUNI REESE — sports@theaggie.org

 

As one of the nation’s most anticipated events of the season, the College Football Playoff National Championship took place on Jan. 8. With fans from all over coming to watch the event play out, it was one of the largest football games of the season. 

If having a packed stadium wasn’t enough, neither the Michigan Wolverines nor the Washington Huskies had won a championship title since the 1990s prior to this game — talk about a comeback. After waiting almost 30 years for both teams to make their long-awaited moves for the championship title, fans have felt nothing short of exhilaration for this match. 

With near-perfect records the last two seasons and long-standing winning streaks from both Michigan and Washington, it was no surprise that these two forces were up against one another. Given the high stakes for both Michigan and Washington, this game was bound to be an all-out battle from the start.

At the start of the game, both teams came out strong, with Michael Penix as quarterback for Washington and J.J McCarthy as quarterback for Michigan. Both McCarthy and Penix have played strong seasons with both players acquiring a substantial amount of rushing and passing yards. Though Penix had numerous successful plays in the beginning, the Huskies were soon shaken by Michigan’s strong defensive line which left Penix having to make many running plays. 

The Michigan defensive line continued to prove its resilience, only allowing Washington to score one mere touchdown throughout the entirety of the game. The remainder of Washington’s points were thanks to kicker Grady Gross who scored two field goals — almost half of Washington’s total points scored. This poor touchdown performance left Washington fans feeling defeated as a good defense is just as important as a good offense when it comes to securing victory. Unfortunately for the Huskies, their defense was no match for the Wolverine’s offense, letting a significant amount of touchdowns through. 

Led by tight end Devin Polk, the Washington offensive line tried their best to create space for gameplay as they bulldozed through as many players as they could. However, the Michigan coaches were prepared for this tactic and devised counterplays that the Huskies were powerless against — this led to 34 points scored by the Wolverines. 

One of the most significant moments in the game for the Huskies came when wide receiver Jalen McMillan caught a three-yard pass from Penix in the endzone, granting the only touchdown for the Huskies. McMillan used his agility to run his routes into the end zone just in time to receive the on-target pass from Penix. 

Following halftime, Penix was feeling the intensity of the game as he struggled to connect with his wide receivers and running backs. In the fourth quarter, Penix threw two interceptions with one of them resulting in an 80-yard gain by the Wolverines’ Mike Sainristil. Sainristil’s run left Michigan at the 10-yard line with little time left in the fourth quarter and the Huskies playing catch-up. Blake Corum saw his opportunity and snuck into the endzone for his second touchdown for the Wolverines in the fourth quarter. With no time left in the game, Michigan was named victorious for the first time in almost three decades. 

J.J. McCarthy worked harmoniously with his offensive line as he threw over 140 yards throughout the game. McCarthy, having played with Michigan for three seasons, has really made a name for himself this season — currently the top quarterback prospect for the upcoming NFL draft. The Michigan defense also gave an outstanding performance as they played their parts perfectly and prevented Washington from making nearly any comebacks in the game.

 Overall, both teams had an equal amount of possession time, with Washington holding about 90 seconds more than Michigan, yet the difference in play is staggering. Washington was able to rush a feeble 46 yards while Michigan gathered a whopping 303 yards. This statistic not only further signifies the strategic superiority in Michigan’s offensive game play, but also the significance and sheer success of their defensive line.

 With equal first-down amounts and Michigan only averaging about 7.8 yards per play compared to Washington’s 4.2 yards, both teams had equal scoring opportunities. In the end, it simply came down to the execution of routes, plays and positions, which Michigan proved to be more adept with. After a grueling and competitive match in the 2024 College Football Championships, the Michigan Wolverines proved to be a formidable opponent and powerful team. 

 

Written by: Mi’Zauni Reese — sports@theaggie.org

 

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