The Michigan Wolverines defeated the Washington Huskies 34-13 in the National Championship game, showcasing total domination. The Wolverines led from start to finish, overwhelming the Huskies with a powerful running game that Washington couldn’t counter. After such a dominant performance, here are the major takeaways from the night:
Michigan Dominated the Line of Scrimmage
The critical question entering the game was which team would dominate the line of scrimmage – the Huskies or the Wolverines. The Huskies, with their Joe Moore Award-winning offensive line for best in the nation, faced a formidable challenge. However, the Wolverine’s defensive line was relentless in Washington’s backfield. Despite recording only one sack on Penix, they consistently pressured him, disrupting his rhythm and contributing to his two interceptions, both under intense pressure from Michigan defenders.
Furthermore, Michigan’s offensive line proved itself as the nation’s best. They were the key offensive unit, enabling their backs to amass 303 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
The Model of Smash Mouth Football Continues to Triumph
The Alabama, Georgia, and Michigan model of smash-mouth football continues to win championships. This approach might not be flashy or exciting, but a team that is dominant along the line of scrimmage and relies on an unstoppable running game is a proven recipe for success. For Canes fans critiquing Mario Cristobal for his traditional offenses, it appears he is emulating the championship-winning teams. However, the Canes also need to play elite, disciplined football, something they have struggled with for over a decade.
Michigan Won the Turnover Battle
Turnovers are often indicative of the game’s outcome. Michigan’s two interceptions both led to points for the Wolverines. J.J. McCarthy, while not spectacular, managed the game effectively, completing 10 of 18 passes for 140 yards without touchdowns. His ability to avoid critical mistakes allowed his offensive line to create substantial running lanes.
Recruiting and Development Matter
Over the past four years, Michigan’s recruiting classes have averaged 13th nationally, including this year’s incoming class. In contrast, Washington’s classes have averaged 47th. Despite not having top-three classes like Alabama, Georgia, or Ohio State, both teams excel in player development. Michigan’s significant recruiting advantage and both programs’ effective development strategies were evident. Ultimately, Harbaugh’s stronger roster outmatched DeBoer’s.
Both programs feature two of the nation’s most sought-after coaches. Jim Harbaugh is attracting NFL interest and is considered for the Raiders head coaching position. DeBoer has transformed Washington into a formidable team, losing only three games in his two years as head coach. Their potential moves to the NFL could significantly impact both teams’ roster composition next year, especially considering the transfer portal and players opting for the NFL or other teams.
Congratulations are in order for both Michigan and the Huskies, who overachieved and earned their spot in the National Championship. The better team won, solidifying Jim Harbaugh as a Michigan legend.
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