No. 1 Michigan ‘couldn’t be in a better spot’ after winning College Football Playoff National Championship 

HOUSTON, TEXAS - JANUARY 8: J.J. McCarthy #9 of the Michigan Wolverines hugs Trevor Keegan #77 of the Michigan Wolverines after Michigan’s rushing touchdown during the first quarter against the Washington Huskies during the 2024 CFP National Championship game at NRG Stadium on January 8, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by CFP/Getty Images)

The confetti raining down on the field at NRG Stadium in Houston. The music. The sights. The sounds. 

The No. 1 Wolverines took it all in on Monday night, just after beating No. 2 Washington 34-13 in the College Football Playoff National Championship. It secured Michigan’s first CFP title and first national championship since 1997, all under the tutelage of head coach and “Michigan man” Jim Harbaugh. 

“Glorious win. Could not be happier or prouder,” Harbaugh said. “Our team, 15-0. Took on all comers. Last one standing. It’s a great feeling, and just so happy for our players, for our parents, for their grandparents, our coaches (offensive coordinator) Sherrone Moore, (defensive coordinator) Jesse Minter, (running backs and assistant special teams coach) Jay Harbaugh, the coordinators, the coaches, the staff just couldn’t have had a better game. Jesse Minter, I mean, A-plus-plus the whole way. And for me, personally, I can now sit at the big person’s table in the family. They won’t keep me over there on the little table anymore. My dad Jack Harbaugh won a national championship and my brother won a Super Bowl so it’s good to be at the big person table from now on.” 

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Michigan jumped out to a 17-7 lead after running back Donovan Edwards scored two 40-plus yard rushing touchdowns in the first quarter. 

Washington answered back in the second quarter when Michael Penix Jr. Connected with receiver Jalen McMillan on a 3-yard touchdown bringing the score to 17-10 at halftime. 

But the Wolverines held the Huskies to 141 yards in the second half and forced two turnovers to outscore Washington 17-3 in the third and fourth quarters. 

It didn’t come easily for the Wolverines. They punted on three-straight drives in the second half while Washington trailed behind 20-13. 

“We started off really hot, everything was clicking, but I feel like we got to points in the games where we were beating ourselves,” Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy said. “I was missing throws. I was missing some reads, and it just comes down to moving on to the next play, flushing the last play and just staying in the present moment and just trying to attack one play at a time.” 

VIEW: Watch: Michigan RB Blake Corum gives Wolverines insurance, scores 12-yard TD

McCarthy went 10-of-18 for 140 yards, and it was completely Michigan’s running attack and defense that helped seal the Wolverines’ national title. 

The Wolverines ran for a season-high 303 yards, including 209 in the first half, while they became the first team with two 100-plus yard rushers in a CFP National Championship. 

VIEW: Watch: No. 2 Washington answers back, Michael Penix Jr. finds Jalen McMillan for 3-yard TD

Blake Corum led Michigan with 134 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He said Michigan manifested its national championship ever since it lost to TCU in the CFP semifinals for a second-straight year in 2022. 

“For me, when we all decided to come back, we knew what it took to get here, right? And when we all said we’re coming back and the guys that had no other choice but to come back, we had to pay attention to details, and our strength coach actually hit on it (Sunday night) when he was talking to us,” Corum said. “But it’s the little things, the details and the details, and we really locked in on those details all the way back to winter workouts, summer workouts. We were always just trying to execute at a high level and pay attention to detail. I think that’s what separated us a lot.” 

VIEW: Watch: Donovan Edwards scores 2nd touchdown on 46-yard run to keep No. 1 Michigan ahead in College Football Playoff National Championship

Now that Harbaugh gets to sit at “the big person’s table” in his family, the Wolverines also secured a special place in history. 

Harbaugh and Michigan underwent a season full of controversy. Harbaugh served a self-imposed three-game suspension to start the season due to recruiting violations and he also was suspended the final three games of the regular season by the Big Ten Conference after its investigation into in-person scouting led by former staff member Connor Stalions. 

Harbaugh had been tight-lipped about the ongoing investigations into Michigan’s program throughout the season. He focused on the “one-track mind” and preached it all season long, and now that the season is over, Harbaugh shed a little light. 

“It couldn’t have gone better. It went exactly how we wanted it to go to win every game,” Harbaugh said. “Off the field issues, we’re innocent. And we stood strong and tall because we knew we’re innocent. And I’d just like to point that out. And these guys, these guys are innocent. And yeah, (to) overcome that wasn’t that hard because we knew we were innocent.” 

VIEW: Watch: Michigan’s Donovan Edwards scores 41-yard TD to start CFP National Championship

Whether Michigan holds onto its national championship remains to be seen. Speculation has swirled regarding the ongoing NCAA investigation into in-person scouting that the Wolverines could vacate their 2023 season. 

But that all remains speculation. For now, though, Michigan is on top of the college football world, and it doesn’t plan on stopping here. 

“It takes a lot more than just being a football player to be a Michigan man, and everything that — the rigorous school, schedule, the rigorous football schedule just forces us into these Michigan men and couldn’t be in a better spot,” McCarthy said.