On Monday, January 8th, 2024, the undefeated teams of Washington and Michigan would face off in the biggest game possible of their career. After a close win by Washington over Texas in the Sugar Bowl and Michigan’s overtime win against Alabama in the Rose Bowl, the two teams would face off in NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
The one-seeded Michigan Wolverines would get the first to receive the ball. They would drive down the field with a couple great throws from Quarterback J.J. McCarthy with great rushes by Blake Corum, Kalel Mullings, and Donovan Edwards; who would end Michigan’s opening drive with a 41-yard rushing touchdown to put Michigan on the board and up on Washington 7-0.
The two-seeded Washington Huskies would take the field right after this touchdown looking to respond to that touchdown with one of their own. Star Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. would lead Washington down field to field goal range with an accurate passe including good rushes from the receiving and running back cores of the team, but would ultimately have to settle for a field goal after the Huskies could not convert on 3rd and long. This would make the score 7-3 Michigan.
Michigan would get the ball back; it would only take them a couple of plays to extend their lead to 14-3. With a big pass to Wide Receiver Roman Wilson and a 46-yard rushing touchdown by Donovan Edwards again, the Wolverines would extend their lead. The first quarter would end shortly after this.
After forcing Washington to punt, Michigan would get the ball back early in the second quarter. After a very long rush with Blake Corum, the Wolverines would find themselves in field goal range. But unfortunately Michigan could not score a touchdown and would have to settle for a field goal, making their lead 17-3.
Washington would get the ball back while Michael Penix Jr. was finding his receivers on the left, right, and center as they were moving down the field.
The Huskies then faced a 4th down where they would go for it in midfield. The ball was snapped and Wide Receiver Rome Odunze was wide open, but Penix threw it just a bit hard and forced Odunze to look over his other shoulder. The ball was dropped and Michigan regained possession.
After a few punts back and forth and a failed 4th down conversion, The Huskies would find themselves with the ball with a few minutes left in the half. Penix and his team would drive down the field, and find themselves in a 4th and goal situation---where they would choose to go for it again.
This attempt was successful though and Washington would cut down Michigan's lead to 7 making the score 17-10. Halftime would come just after this drive.
Washington would get the ball after halftime and drive the ball down field to set up a 45-yard field goal to cut Michigan’s lead to 7 at 20-13. Unfortunately for Washington, this would be their last points for the rest of the game, with 24 minutes left to play!
There would be no points from Michigan either until the 4th quarter.
With many great throws, catches, and rushes by Michigan, their drive would end with a 12-yard rushing touchdown by Running Back Blake Corum, extending their lead to 27-13.
Washington would get the ball back and drive downfield, but on 4th and 13, Michigan Cornerback Mike Sainristil would intercept Michael Penix and return it about 81 yards, putting Michigan at around the 5-yard line, after a few plays.
Michigan would hand off to Blake Corum, who would find the endzone from the half-yard line to make the score 34-13.
At this point in the game, all hope was lost for the Huskies. They would attempt to score, but would be unsuccessful, turning it over on downs. The Michigan Wolverines would then kneel and secure their first National Championship Title since 1997.
This game concluded the 4-team College Football Playoff bracket, since they are switching to 12 teams next year. All in all, this game wrapped up a great college football season and was just a great game in general.
Image Courtesy of Legoktm : Wikimedia Commons