Skip to main content

5 winners and losers from Michigan Wolverines’ 34-13 win over Washington Huskies in CFP National Championship

Michigan Wolverines
Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Sports fans tuning into the 2024 College Football Playoff National Championship game between the Michigan Wolverines and Washington Huskies were treated to the only two remaining undefeated teams in the nation.

Early on, coach Jim Harbaugh’s Wolverines played their part well by getting out to an early 14-3 lead by the end of the first quarter. But then we saw coach Kalen Deboer’s Huskies come howling back to life, shrinking the deficit to one possession by halftime.

The second half was more like the first half, only we didn’t see the same late surge from Washington, with Michigan mostly pummeling their opponent into submission. In the end, Michigan’s 34-13 win over Washington proved the Wolverines were the better team on both sides of the ball. Down below, we get into the biggest winners and losers from Michigan’s blowout victory.

Related: 2024 NFL Draft order

Winner: Big Ten conference wins first National Championship since 2014

michigan wolverines
Credit: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Before the season began, no one thought it would be the Michigan Wolverines vs. the Washington Huskies in the College Football National Championship. These aren’t even SEC teams. Yet, here they are, the No. 1 and No. 2 ranked teams in the nation, but only one team looked like they had championship potential.

Michigan was dominant from the very start, showing not only do they belong, but that they were far and away the best team on the field. Most expected the championship winner to emerge from the SEC conference, as they have for each of the past eight years. Yet, Michigan reminded everyone that teams from the Big Ten can win championships too.

Related: College Football Playoff ratings: CFP National Championship game could break CFB TV ratings record

Loser: Washington Huskies defense

washington huskies
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Michigan didn’t give defenders like Bralen Trice a chance to pin their ears back and create pressure, with J.J. McCarthy rarely attempting passes downfield. That was expected.

No one thought an average Washington defense (54th in points allowed) would suddenly come in and start playing elite football against Michigan. Yet, few anticipated the Wolverines to get nearly anything they wanted in the first half, piling on 209 yards rushing on just 17 attempts, including two touchdowns either.

While Washington managed to slow down Michigan’s pace, it didn’t have much of an impact on the end result. Ultimately, the Wolverines rumbled for 305 yards on 36 carries, scoring four touchdowns on the ground. That kind of production shouldn’t be possible in the national championship game.

Winner: Donovan Edwards and Blake Corum

donovan edwards blake corum
Credit: Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

Coming into the day, if the story was a Michigan running back going off for 93 yards and two touchdowns on just three carries in one half, the response would be, “So Blake Corum had a good day?” Not in this case. While Corum did indeed perform well, it was Michigan’s backup running back, Donovan Edwards, who stole the show to begin with.

But let’s be real, Corum did more than his fair share. Michigan’s First-Team All-American running back rattled off 134 yards on 21 carries, giving Washington’s defense more than they could handle. Now, Corum’s off to the NFL, where he’ll likely face some criticism for his ‘smaller’ frame at 5-foot-8.

Combined, the two paired for 238 yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries, for a robust 8.8 yards per touch. That’s just unfair, but Washington had no answer for Michigan’s running game.

Related: Heisman Watch 2024: Evaluating Heisman Trophy candidates, 2023 Heisman Trophy results

Loser: Michael Penix Jr.’s draft stock

michael penix jr.
Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Even from the game’s first drive, it became apparent that we wouldn’t see the same Michael Penix Jr. that was on display in the CFP Semifinal win over the Texas Longhorns. A week ago, fans were dazzled by Penix going off for 430 yards and two touchdowns. It was a MUCH different story, taking on the best defense in the nation.

Michigan’s defense came into the day, allowing just 10.2 points per game. Not even Penix’s moonball could throw them off that curve.

Penix just didn’t have it. Michigan’s pass rush got in his face, with Washington’s offensive line proving overmatched. But even when he did have time, Penix’s accuracy was all over the place, rarely delivering on-target throws. Before the game began, there was hype about Penix climbing into the top half of the first round. After this? Let’s just say the young man will face a lot of scrutiny during the pre-draft process for disappearing in the biggest game of his life.

  • Michael Penix Jr. stats in CFP National Championship: 52.9% Comp. rate, 255 passing yards, 1 TD, 2 INT

Related: 2024 CFP National Championship Game highlights: Michigan dominates Washington, 17-3

Winner: Jim Harbaugh’s legacy as Michigan Wolverines coach

jim harbaugh
Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Who has it better than Jim Harbaugh? Seriously, this is a coach who accomplished everything he said he would at Michigan, delivering a national championship back to the Wolverines for the first time since 1997. Are you kidding me? That’s awesome.

Harbaugh flirted with the NFL in the past, and maybe he never got the offer he was looking for, but he clearly didn’t put his head down in shame. He went to work, coaching up his football team into the very best squad in the nation.

He didn’t have the very best athletes, or the nation’s top quarterback, or anything close. Unlike Alabama, Georgia, or Clemson in the past, this Michigan team won’t have eight first-round picks or anything close. Sure, they’ll have plenty of players who graduate to the NFL this year or next, but they don’t have an Aidan Hutchinson-level talent hanging around. Yet, here’s Harbaugh, becoming a champion in college football. What’s next? It has to be the NFL, right?

Related: NFL coaching candidates 2024: Best head-coaching candidates, defensive and offensive coordinator candidates

Mentioned in this article:

More About: