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  • Writer's pictureMark Schlabach

Michigan vs Washington: Undefeated Showdown in CFP Title Game

After a loud Rose Bowl and a Sugar Bowl that's so sweet it can rot your teeth, the College Football Playoff final game has been decided.


The game has two teams who together won all 28 games this season. Both will play in the Big Ten Conference next year too. And they did it in a year when Georgia was trying to be the first team since World War II to win three national titles straight as the top prize of an amazing SEC.


And now the SEC will learn for almost ten years what it's like to see this game from a sofa.


No. 1 Michigan, the Big Ten's unbeaten champion, will face off against number. On Monday in Houston, Washington spoke.


Let's look at the teams, how they reached this point and important facts about each team.


NO. 1 MICHIGAN (14-0)


Michigan's win against No. Alabama stopped the SEC's rule for ten years and helped Michigan get their first CFP half-win out of three tries.


By New Year's Day 2024, the SEC had played in eight straight national title games. They won four times.


The Wolverines achieved it with strong defence. They put Alabama's quarterback, Jalen Milroe in the bag twice more than Georgia did at the SEC championship. They used six sacks to do this and those were how many they got against their opponent. They also stopped 283 yards and kept the Tide at a low of three out of thirteen on third downs, with zero for one on fourth-and-goal. They won that game too.


At half time, trailing Michigan 13-10 the Tide felt less important. The Tide were losing to Tennessee 20-7 during half time and also behind Auburn at the break. In every game, Bama returned to win. Even though they were the first team to lead Michigan in during second half this year, Bama couldn't win against Michigan when it went past normal time.


The best Michigan team since 1997 is heading to the national championship game.


The Coach: Jim Harbaugh


Three years ago, the Wolverines had a 2-4 record and coach Harbaugh seemed like he might leave Ann Arbor. What followed was one of the best improvements in sports. They won three Big Ten championships, went to the College Football Playoff three times and had their first win at a CFP semifinal game. The team achieved a record score of 14 wins without any losses, becoming known as home team champions in spot number:". The top-ranked team in the CFP championship game.


For Harbaugh, his reputation keeps growing. He led San Diego to its first Pioneer Football League championship, Stanford to their very first BCS win and the 49ers all the way to a Super Bowl showdown in 2012 - now he's got Michigan playing for national champion status this century.


Who to watch on offense


Blake Corum proved he is the best player on the team. He rushed for 83 yards and scored a touchdown in overtime with some really impressive moves that showed off how good this year's 2023 sports teams are - fast, strong, unstoppable force.


His TD helped to get a school record for career running touchdowns in his time at the college. It also made him known as one of Wolverines' best players ever.


The Wolverines have won 31 times when Corum rushes for a touchdown, and this happened during their last attack in the game.


Even though the Wolverines were behind in the second half for the first time all year, quarterback J.J. McCarthy led them to a win by recovering with 221 passing yards and three scores - his first game of more than 150 yards and two TDs through passes since beating Michigan State on Oct. 21।


Who to watch on defense


The team from Michigan, top corner Mike Sainristil led others to stop Alabama's Rose Bowl victory by limiting their passing yards. They allowed only five pass yards for each attempt and sacked quarterback Milroe six times - including five in the first part of play.


NO. 2 WASHINGTON (14-0)


Like the Wolverines, the Huskies now have 14 wins and no losses for the first time in their school's history. They won a playoff game like never before at college level too. Also, it has been since they finished number one that they will be playing again for national title once more by doing all these things. 1 in the Coaches Poll after the 1991 season. This was after Texas was defeated in a crazy Sugar Bowl on Monday night.


The Coach: Kalen DeBoer


All he does is win.


In close games and against ranked teams, Washington has a record of 10 wins without loss under DeBoer. He's also …


14-0 this year


Two seasons at Washington with a 25-2 record.


104-11 for his career


The person who has won four seasons without a loss and three national titles at NAIA Sioux Falls.


Along with Georgia coach Kirby Smart and Harbaugh, he's one of the top three best coaches in this game for the last two years.


Who to watch on offense


Michael Penix Jr. showed that he was the best player by playing really well against Texas' defense in a game they won. He finished 29 out of 38 throws for 430 yards with two scores and no mistakes.


What's more? He completed at least five passes to four catchers in the Sugar Bowl win.


We should keep an eye on the health of runner Dillon Johnson. He had to leave the game late because of a problem with his lower leg. Even though he got only 47 yards in the Sugar Bowl game, this season he ran more than 100 times forward. He became a crucial tool for Washington's team, especially during second half of their games.


Who to watch on defense


The defense of Washington that is made by bending but not breaking, did this against Texas. It needs to do this against the Wolverines if it wants a win.


But if the Dawgs defense can keep the game close, Penix Jr., could win it for them.

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