Michigan Triumphs Over Washington 34-13, Clinching Their First National College Football Championship in Over Two Decades

By Robert Lutz

In the 2024 College Football National Championship game, the Michigan Wolverines, led by head coach Jim Harbaugh, secured their first national title in 26 years, defeating the Washington Huskies 34-13 at NRG Stadium in Houston, TX, on January 8, 2024. The victory marks a triumphant end to Michigan’s tumultuous 2023 season, during which Harbaugh faced two suspensions, affecting six of the team’s 15 games.

Michigan, ranked No. 1, established an early dominance over No. 2 Washington, thanks in part to Donovan Edwards’ remarkable performance. Edwards, who had been averaging less than four yards per carry, stunned with two long touchdown runs in the first quarter, contributing to Michigan’s impressive 174 rushing yards in that period. His 41-yard and 46-yard touchdown runs played a pivotal role in Michigan’s 17-3 lead at halftime.

Washington, closing the first half with a crucial touchdown by Michael Penix Jr. to Jalen McMillan, narrowed the gap. However, an interception by Michigan’s Will Johnson at the start of the second half dimmed Washington’s prospects of a comeback. The game remained closely contested until Michigan’s Blake Corum’s 12-yard touchdown run in the final quarter, sealing the Wolverines’ victory.

Michigan’s ground game was formidable, accumulating 303 yards and four touchdowns. Both Edwards and Corum scored twice, while quarterback J.J. McCarthy completed 10 of 18 passes for 140 yards.

The Wolverines’ undefeated season (15-0) not only clinches their first national championship since 1997 but also stands as a testament to their resilience and determination. Harbaugh, after guiding the team to this pinnacle following a challenging 2020 season, has now firmly reestablished Michigan as a powerhouse in college football.

For Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., the Heisman runner-up, the championship game was a struggle. Despite a commendable performance in the Sugar Bowl, Penix faced difficulties against Michigan’s defense, finishing 27-of-51 for 255 yards, with one touchdown and two interceptions.

The Wolverines’ triumph is a significant achievement for the team and its fans, especially after the challenges and storylines that surrounded their 2023 season.