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2024 CFP National Championship Game highlights: Michigan Wolverines are national champions

CFP National Championship Game highlights

CFP National Championship Game highlights: Sportsnaut is covering the 2024 CFP National Championship Game, wrapping up our coverage of the 2023 college football season with the final game. It’s the Washington Huskies vs Michigan Wolverines, a fitting matchup between the two best teams in college football. Check below for live Washington vs Michigan highlights, score updates and analysis.

Let’s dive into our live coverage of the CFP national championship.

CFP National Championship score: Washington vs Michigan live updates

You can find the live national championship score here, with updates immediately after each squaring drive and quarter-by-quarter breakdowns.

Washington Huskies373013
Michigan Wolverines14331434
The scoreboard is updated immediately after each scoring drive

Who won the national championship?

The Michigan Wolverines won the 2024 CFP National Championship Game on Monday night, defeating the Washington Huskies at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. This is Michigan’s first national championship in football since 1997.

Michael Penix Jr. picked off, Wolverines headed for glory

Washington seemed to be responding to the Wolverines’ touchdown drive, marching the football down to the Michigan 27-yard line. A holding penalty turned it into 2nd-and-15, two plays later it was 4th-and-13. With Washington’s season on the brink, Penix Jr. was picked off by Michigan’s interception leader Mike Sainristil, who returned it 80 yards to the Washington 8-yard line. Two plays later, Blake Corum rumbled into the end zone for his second touchdown and a decisive 33-13 edge.

Blake Corum likely seals it

The Michigan Wolverines are minutes away from being national champions. McCarthy hit Colston Loveland for a 41-yard catch-and-run with 9:35 left in the fourth quarter. Then, with just over 7 minutes left in the game, Blake Corum punched it in for a 27-13 lead. Based on how poorly the Huskies’ offense has looked for most of the night, this one feels over.

Wolverines, Huskies’ offenses have stalled

After scoring 14 first-quarter points, Michigan’s offense has disappeared. The Wolverines bizarrely went away from the run game, putting the football in J.J. McCarthy’s hands. After racking up 290 total yards in the first half, with 209 coming on the ground, Michigan had fewer than 80 yards in the second half midway through the fourth quarter.

As for the Huskies, they can’t get anything going. Since the third-quarter field goal, Washington has managed under 30 total yards on its next three drives. As long as the Wolverines protect the football, they should come away with a win

Michael Penix Jr. picked off and inured

After snagging some momentum before halftime, the Washington Huskies had the perfect opportunity to take advantage of it getting the football to open the third quarter. Instead, disaster. With a swarm of Wolverines’ defenders around him, Michael Penix Jr. threw up a prayer and it was picked off. Not only did Michigan get the football in Huskies’ territory, but Penix Jr. hobbled off the field slowly after getting his ankle stepped on.

First Half update

In the first quarter, Michigan’s running backs turned 8 carries into 178 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns with J.J. McCarthy attempting just four passes. Putting the Wolverines’ offense on the running backs’ shoulders led to a 14-3 lead. In the second quarter, Michigan’s ball-carriers recorded just 22 rushing yards on 8 carries and McCarthy went 2-for-7. The Huskies outscored the Wolverines 7-3 in the second quarter.

Washington answers before halftime – Wolverines 17, Huskies 10

Getting the football back trailing 17-3, Washington was in desperation mode. That’s where Michael Penix Jr. rose to the occasion, capping off an 11-play, 61-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown pass to Jalen McMillan on 4th-and-goal with 42 seconds left. The Huskies’ offense gets the football first in the third quarter, we’ve got a brand new ballgame.

Jim Harbaugh gets a nice sideline surprise

In what might be his final game as a college football coach, Jim Harbaugh received a nice surprise on the Michigan Wolverines sideline. As he gathered himself in-game, Harbaugh was slapped on the back. When he looked up to see who it was, it was none other than Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh. It’s not quite the Harbaugh Bowl, but the brothers will have a shot at that in 2024.

J.J. McCarthy can’t take advantage of great field position

Starting with the football at midfield and having a shot to make it a three-score game, Michigan decided to put the football in J.J. McCarthy’s hands. He went 0-for-2 on a drive, with Colston Loveland unable to hang onto the football through contact and a throw to Cornelius Johnson sailing over his head. The Wolverines’ defense will be asked to deliver once more.

Costly miss by Penix Jr.

Already trailing 17-3, Washington decided to go for it on 4th-and-7 from the Michigan 47-yard line. Failing to convert and giving the football back to the Wolverines’ offense could set up the proverbial nail in Washington’s coffin. The Huskies had exactly what they wanted, Rome Odunze left wide open downfield. An accurate throw from Penix Jr. makes it a 17-10 game, but a little too much steam on the throw made it off-target. The Huskies’ drive stalled and Michigan gets the football back leading 17-3.

1st quarter stats and recap

At the end of the first quarter, Michigan has taken full control and we’re quickly approaching blowout territory. The Huskies’ defense was awful against the run for most of the season and it’s about to cost them a national championship. Michigan’s running backs have 178 rushing yards in the first quarter.

Michigan Wolverines stats – 1st quarter

  • J.J. McCarthy: 3-for-4, 55 passing yards
  • Donovan Edwards: 2 carries, 87 yards, 2 TDs
  • Blake Corum: 4 carries, 73 yards
  • Kalel Mullins: 2 carries, 18 rushing yards

Sherrone Moore is cooking, Washington can’t stop the run

Michigan offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore is cooking up a masterpiece, using the run game on the first drive to set up a 37-yard catch-and-run on the second drive. Moments later, Donovan Edwards made his second trip to paydirt in the first quarter, finding an open lane and ripping off a 46-yard touchdown run.

Huskies’ offense responds – Michigan 7, Washington 3

After falling behind 7-0, Michael Penix Jr. and the Huskies’ offense responded with a methodical drive. Dillon Johnson (knee, foot) spent a majority of the drive on the sideline after aggravating his injury, but he returned when the team had possession in the Wolverines’ territory. After Washington moved it to 3rd-and-goal from the 8-yard line, Michigan’s defense delivered a critical stop. Still, the Huskies came away with points to make it a 7-3 game.

Michigan strikes first wth Donovan Edwards touchdown

For anyone expecting it to be Blake Corum scoring the first touchdown, it was instead Donovan Edwards. The Wolverines’ offense took advantage of a weak Huskies’ run defense on the first drive, turning six runs into 66 rushing yards, with Edwards running it in for the 41-yard touchdown.

Live pre-kickoff updates from CFP National Championship

Just over an hour before the listed 7:30 PM ET kickoff in Houston, Texas, we’re tracking some of the on-field action and things going on.

Michigan gets the football first

The Wolverines are getting the football first, just like the Rose Bowl. Michigan nearly had a catastrophic start on its opening drive a week ago, but J.J. McCarthy’s interception was wiped out.

What time does the national championship game kick-off?

While the listed kickoff time is at 7:30 PM ET, the official coin toss is at 7:40 PM ET with kickoff tentatively expected at 7:45 PM ET.

NRG Stadium leaking

While the Washington Huskies and Michigan Wolverines are ready for the national championship game, evidently NRG Stadium isn’t. Just an hour before kickoff, the roof was leaking onto the field. If this is a sign of what’s to come for both defenses, we’ll have a fun night of highlights ahead.

Will Dillon Johnson play in the national championship game?

Washington running back Dillon Johnson suffered a knee and foot injury at the end of the Sugar Bowl, which nearly cost the Huskies the win. Not only did Washington survive the CFP Semifinal, it is also expecting Johnson to play tonight.

Johnson is going through pre-game warmups and everything seems to be checking out. Before kickoff, Pete Thamel reported there is “increased optimism” for Johnson to not only play but also be effective in this game. He went through 80 percent of the practice reps two days ago (Saturday) and practiced fully on Sunday. Washington estimates that its star running back will be playing at 90 percent of his usual ability.

Wolverines’ quarterback J.J. McCarthy continues his unique pre-game routine

As mentioned during the Rose Bowl broadcast a week ago, Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy has a unique pre-game process. Before warming up with his teammates, the Wolverines’ leader sits with his back against the goalpost and practices meditation.

  • J.J. McCarthy stats 2023: 2,851 passing yards, 22-4 TD-INT, 89.5 ESPN QBR, 73.2% completion rate

It’s a mental health exercise that gets McCarthy ready before every game. It certainly worked out for him in the Rose Bowl and Michigan will be hoping to maintain its phenomenal record (26-1) with the meditating quarterback.

Related: NFL teams have one primary concern with J.J. McCarthy

An early look at Washington’s future

With quarterback Michael Penix Jr. starting preparation for the 2024 NFL Draft after this game, there are a few eyes on Washington’s future. While he won’t officially be on the Huskies’ depth chart until the spring, incoming transfer quarterback Will Rogers is getting some early reps in while wearing a Huskies’ uniform.

CFP National Championship Game Highlights: Game info, kickoff, odds and more

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship Head Coaches News Conference
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Here is a quick rundown of everything you need to know before the CFP National Championship between the Washington Huskies and Michigan Wolverines.

National Championship Game kickoff time, TV info

  • Time: 7:30 PM ET
  • Location: NRG Stadium – Houston, Texas

Related: Highest-paid college football coaches

CFP National Championship Game odds

The latest national championship game odds are via BetMGM.

  • Point Total: 55.5 points
  • Moneyline: Michigan (-225), Washington (+185)
  • Spread: Michigan -5.5

Michigan Wolverines depth chart

Syndication: USA TODAY

Here is the Michigan Wolverines depth chart heading into the national championship game.


  • QB: J.J. McCarthy
  • RB: Blake Corum/Donovan Edwards
  • WR: Roman Wilson/Cornelius Johnson/Semaj Morgan/Tyler Morris
  • TE: Colston Loveland/Josh Beetham


  • DE: Braiden McGregor/Jaylen Harrell/Josaiah Stewart
  • DT: Mason Graham/Kris Jenkins/Kenneth Grant/Rayshaun Benny
  • LB: Junior Colson/Michael Barrett/Jimmy Rolder/Ernest Hausmann
  • CB: Will Johnson/Josh Wallace/Mike Sainristil/Amorion Walker/Ja’Den McBurrows
  • S: Rod Moore/Makari Paige/Keon Sabb/Zeke Berry

Michigan Wolverines stat leaders

  • Offense
    • Pass Yards: 2,630 – J. McCarthy
    • Pass TDs: 19 – J. McCarthy
    • Comp. %: 74.2% – J. McCarthy
    • Rush Yards: 1,028 – B. Corum
    • Rush TDs: 24 – B. Corum
    • Rec. Yards: 662 – R. Wilson
    • Rec. TDs: 11 – R. Wilson
  • Defense:
    • Sacks: 6.5 – J. Harrell
    • INTs: 5 – M. Sainristill
    • FFs: 3 M. Barrett
    • Solo: 35 – J. Colson
    • PDs: 6 – M. Sainristill

Washington Huskies depth chart

Syndication: Austin American-Statesman
Aaron E. Martinez/American-Statesman / USA TODAY NETWORK

Here is the Washington Huskies depth chart heading into the national championship game.


  • QB: Michael Penix Jr.
  • RB: Dillon Johnson/Will Nixon
  • WR: Rome Odunze/Jalen McMillan/Ja’Lynn Polk/Germie Bernard/Giles Jackson/Denzel Boston
  • TE: Devin Culp/Jack Westover

Related: Grading college football coaching hires


  • DE: Bralen Trice/Ulumoo Ale/Sekai Asoau-Afoa/Jacob Bandes
  • DT: Tuli Letuligasenoa/Faatui Tuitele
  • LB: Zion Tupuola-Fetui/Edefuan Ulofoshio/Alphonzo Tuputala/Boi Tunuufi/Carson Bruener
  • CB: Elijah Jackson/Jabbar Muhammad/Mishael Powell/Thaddeus Dixon/Jaivion Green
  • S: Dominique Hampton/Makell Esteen/Vincent Holmes/Kamren Fabiculanan

Washington Huskies stat leaders

  • Offense
    • Pass Yards: 4,218 – M. Penix Jr.
    • Pass TDs:  33 – M. Penix Jr.
    • Comp. %:  65.9 – M. Penix Jr.
    • Rush Yards: 1,113 – D. Johnson
    • Rush TDs:  14 – D. Johnson
    • Rec. Yards: 1,428 – R. Odunze
    • Rec. TDs: 13 – R. Odunze
  • Defense:
    • Sacks: 5 – B. Trice
    • INTs: 3 – M. Powell/J. Muhammad
    • FFs: 2 – E. Jackson
    • Solo: 54 – D. Hampton
    • PDs: 10 – J. Muhammad

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