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Five takeaways from Michigan’s national title win over Washington

Hail to the victors valiant!

Hail to the conquering heroes!

Hail! Hail! To Michigan, the leader and best (college football team in the nation).

The Michigan Wolverines defeated the Washington Huskies, 34-13, in the national championship game to claim their first outright title in what feels like an eternity.

It doesn’t quite feel real yet, and it might not feel real until sometime next week, but Michigan delivered a 15-0 season amid national controversy. There was Burgergate, Connor Stalions and countless head coaches, but Michigan has its name on top of the college football world.

Offensive ups and downs

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

The Wolverines marched down the field with relative ease on their first three possessions and took a 17-3 lead. Then they went stagnant.

Michigan’s offense struggled to keep up with the fast tempo of the first quarter and found itself punting or turning it over on downs for much of the second quarter. McCarthy missed passes. There were a few short runs, and Michigan let Washington hang around.

The second half was more of the same until the final 10 minutes. Michigan completed a chunk play to Colston Loveland to get in field goal range and then pounded the rock with Blake Corum to take a 14-point lead. Bliss.

The play-calling will be addressed later. But this unit has always understood when to turn it on.

Edwards/Corum combo delivers the knockout

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

The Donosaur is back!

After a disappointing season in which Edwards rushed for less than 400 yards and just three touchdowns, Edwards exploded at the right game. He had just three carries in the first half, but made the most of his chances with 93 yards and two long touchdowns. Edwards finished with 104 yards on six carries. It was his first 100-yard game of the season.

Corum has answered every single bell in his Michigan career. A back who was once locked for being undersized, Corum might have made his name as the greatest in program history. Blake “The Great” Corum rushed for 130 yards on 20 carries and was undoubtedly the MVP of the game. Hats off to a great career.

Both players have the NFL as an option. Corum has already confirmed he will declare for the draft, but Edwards has a great deal on the table should he choose to return. Keep an eye out for his decision in the coming weeks.

Thanks, Ohio State!

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

For the third year in a row, Michigan stifled the best passing offense in the country. In 2021 and 2022 it was Ohio State, but this year it was Washington in the national title game.

Of course, one can’t help but believe that the victories over Ohio State and its first-round lineup helped form the blueprint of Michigan’s defensive game plan.

The Wolverines showed their strategy early and stayed true. They gave Washington short completions but kept coverage over the top to prevent Washington from hitting the deep ball. They relied on goal-line defense to force field goals and demanded that Washington consistently perform at a high level. Though they gave up a lot of yards, Michigan pulled away from Washington late and secured a national title.

Offensive play-calling was sketchy

Photo: Isaiah Hole
Photo: Isaiah Hole

Sherrone Moore deserves a great deal of praise for this season. The man has been a stellar coach and stepped up as the head guy for crucial wins over Penn State, Maryland and Ohio State.

However, his play sheet is shorter than a corner store shopping list. It feels like Michigan was so obsessed with running up the middle that it forgot about Washington’s poor pass defense. There were some nice wrinkles with McCarty and Alex Orji in the run game, but, overall, it was an uncreative game plan that allowed Washington to hang in the game and build confidence on defense.

Michigan won and that’s what matters, but there has been room for improvement on the offensive side for a few games now.

It’s unclear if Moore believed his offense was unable to execute more creative passing concepts, but there was certainly a lack of vision and creativity in the national title game.

 

 

This defense is all time

Photos: Isaiah Hole
Photos: Isaiah Hole

Michigan’s defense is one of the best in recent college football history. The Wolverine offense has gone quiet for stretches in both playoff games, but the defense has stepped up time and time again to keep Michigan alive. Both teams struggled to move the ball, and Michigan kept getting stops. There were sacks, TFLs and even a Mike Sainristil interception to seal the game, but Jesse Minter remained calm and stuck to his game plan.

There isn’t a player in this rotation that will not be drafted. The lineup is ripe with NFL talent and will go down as one of the best in program history. The good news is there will be a wealth of talent returning next year as well. Derrick Moore, Mason Graham, Kenneth Grant, Will Johnson, Keon Sabb, Ernest Haussmann and more will be in the lineup to kickoff 2024. The road ahead is bright.

Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire