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Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy shouts out Illinois hometown after National Championship win

Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy shouts out Illinois hometown after National Championship win originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Wolverines have finally hunted their first national championship achieved through a game.

No. 1 Michigan defeated No. 2 Washington 34-13 in the College Football Playoff title game in Houston on Monday, securing the program's first national championship in 1997 two seasons before the BCS started.

The result also put the Wolverines at 15-0 on the season, with head coach Jim Harbaugh finally delivering the big one that the program hired him to do.

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy completed 10 of 18 passes for 140 yards with no touchdowns or picks. He ran for 31 yards on four carries. All-American running back Blake Corum led the Wolverines with 134 rushing yards on 21 carries and two touchdowns with Edwards adding 104 ground yards on just six carries and two scores.

On the field after the game, McCarthy gave an exuberant interview with ESPN's Holly Rowe, where he shouted out his hometown of La Grange Park, Illinois.

"Coach has called you the greatest college quarterback to ever play at Michigan," Rowe said. "What do you think you are?"

"I think I'm J.J. McCarthy, kid from La Grange Park, Illinois that's just trying to be the best he can possibly be every day," he responded. "That's all I think of myself as."

Rowe quickly reminded him that he now gets to call himself a national champion, too.

The season didn't come without controversy for Michigan, who had to be without Harbaugh on the sideline for three games following an alleged sign-stealing scheme. Offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore stepped in for Harbaugh and kept the team rolling.

Michigan last claimed the national championship in 1997 under head coach Lloyd Carr, but it was due to finishing No. 1 in the final poll and not a title game. Harbaugh was hired in 2015 to help change that, but the program didn't win its first conference championship until 2021. The Wolverines then fell short in the CFP semifinal -- the Fiesta Bowl -- in 2022 before finally getting it done in 2023.

Washington has claimed two national championships, the most recent coming in 1991. But that was also due to polling, and the honor was split with Miami (FL). Penix Jr.'s rise under center and head coach Kalen DeBoer supplied newfound hope, but the Huskies' wait will have to continue.

The 2025 title game will be played under a new format that begins next season, so Michigan's potential repeat bid will feature new hurdles. That game will be played in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday, Jan. 20.