Michigan Claims First National Championship Title in 26 Years, Dominating Washington in College Football Playoff Final

HOUSTON – Michigan has clinched its first college football national championship since 1997, defeating Washington 34-13 on Monday night at NRG Stadium. The Wolverines came into the game with the second-best passing defense in the nation, and they showcased their defensive prowess by limiting Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. to 255 yards and one touchdown on 27-of-51 passing. This was a significant departure from Penix’s usual performance as the leading passer in the country.

Michigan’s victory was fueled by a strong running game, with Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards leading the charge. Corum rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns, while Edwards added 104 yards and two scores on the ground.

The Wolverines set the tone early, gaining five first downs on their opening drive and taking a 7-0 lead. Their rushing attack proved to be too much for Washington, as the Huskies struggled to contain big plays on the ground. Michigan finished the game with 444 total yards, with nearly 68% of their yardage coming from rushing plays.

Despite a valiant effort from Washington’s defense to keep the game competitive, Michigan’s dominance prevailed. The Wolverines held a wire-to-wire lead and sealed the victory with a pick-six by Mike Sainristil, who returned the interception 80 yards before Corum punched it in for the touchdown.

For Michigan, this national championship represents a triumph after consecutive losses in the College Football Playoff semifinals. The team overcame challenges throughout the season, including coach Jim Harbaugh’s suspension and investigation into impermissible signal stealing. Their resiliency, coupled with their stellar defense, experienced leaders, and ability to perform in crucial moments, set them on a path to victory.

Although Penix had a brilliant season leading up to the championship game, he struggled to find his rhythm against Michigan’s stout defense. Despite playing through physical pain, Penix was unable to replicate his previous performances. Washington’s season, while ending in defeat, marked a significant achievement for the Pac-12 conference, as the Huskies reached the CFP after a seven-year drought.

In summary, Michigan’s first national championship in 26 years is a testament to their defensive prowess, strong running game, and ability to overcome adversity. Washington fought valiantly but was unable to contain Michigan’s offensive firepower. This victory solidifies Michigan’s place among the college football elite and showcases the team’s ability to rise to the occasion on the national stage.