Michigan knocked off PAC-12 champion Washington 34-13 to claim their second national championship in the last three years. The Wolverines relied on a staunch defense and just enough offense to secure another title for Jim Harbaugh.
Michigan’s Defense Sets the Tone
Michigan’s defense dominated the game, holding Washington to just 13 points and 293 total yards. The Wolverines forced 3 turnovers, including a pick-six, and constantly pressured Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.
Defensive end Braiden McGregor was named defensive MVP after recording 2 sacks and 3 tackles for loss. Michigan held Washington scoreless in the second half to pull away for the win. The Wolverines’ defense carried the team, overcoming a subpar offensive showing.
Penix Under Pressure All Game
Washington QB Michael Penix Jr entered the game as a Heisman Trophy finalist after an incredible statistical season. But Michigan’s pass rush made life difficult for Penix, sacking him 4 times and forcing him into 2 interceptions.
Penix struggled with the constant pressure, finishing with just 186 passing yards on 36 attempts. His 37 rushing yards also paled in comparison to his usual production. Simply put, Michigan’s defense never let Penix get comfortable in the pocket.
Michigan’s Offense Does Just Enough
Michigan’s offense produced just 368 total yards, with QB J.J. McCarthy throwing for only 178 yards on 23 attempts. But behind an impressive rushing attack, the Wolverines scored on four straight first-half drives to build a 24-10 halftime advantage.
While the offense stalled at times and never fully found its rhythm, Michigan’s ground game produced 190 yards to move the chains. Tailback Blake Corum battled through an ankle injury to top 100 yards, scoring a TD in the process. Just as in last year’s championship run, the Wolverines offense did enough to support its elite defense.
Looking Ahead to 2025
With another championship secured, Michigan already sits in a strong position for 2025. They are the early favorites according to many pundits and prognosticators.
Harbaugh will lose his starting QB and top tailback. Replacing McCarthy and Corum will prove challenging. But the bulk of Michigan’s staunch defense returns, including McGregor. That unit should again rank among the nation’s best.
Oregon and Texas are gaining momentum and could challenge for the title. Defending champion Alabama and runner-up Georgia will reload with elite talent as always. But Michigan has clearly cemented itself among college football’s premier programs.
Early 2025 Top 25 Projections
Many outlets have already released way-too-early Top 25 rankings for the 2025 season. Here is a compilation of where some key teams stand in various projections:
Michigan sits comfortably within the top 3 in every early prediction following their championship. Their defense should again give them a chance to repeat in 2025.
Georgia and Alabama rank 1-2 in most early polls, quickly reloading after suffering semifinal losses this year. Those SEC powers remain teams to beat for Michigan in their hunt for another title.
Social Media Reaction
Fans, analysts, and personalities weighed in on social media as Michigan closed out the victory:
“That Michigan defense is absolutely nasty! Dominant performance to finish off an incredible season.”
– Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit)
“Not many deficiencies in this Michigan squad. Supremely talented on both sides of the ball with quality coaching as well. This run isn’t ending anytime soon”
– Reddit CFB (@RedditCFB)
“Washington stays on schedule with creative play calls and tempo vs Utah but tried playing slow and sloppy vs Michigan. Coaching decisions made no sense.. Michigan ran them out of the stadium in the 2nd half”
– Chris Marler (@VerneFUNquist)
The consensus is that Michigan has firmly established itself among college football’s elite programs. Harbaugh has his team playing at a championship level year after year. The future remains bright for the Maize and Blue.
- Michigan’s defense dominated the game, overcoming a mediocre offensive showing
- Constant pressure on Washington QB Michael Penix Jr threw off the timing of the Huskies’ attack
- Michigan scored enough points behind a solid rushing attack led by Blake Corum
- The Wolverines are well-positioned to contend again in 2025 despite losing their QB and RB
- Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon remain primary challengers to Michigan’s supremacy
With this victory, Michigan has shown they have built a program capable of championship-level success over multiple seasons. The Wolverines have clearly separated themselves from the pack and emerged as a modern college football powerhouse.
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