On a night thick with tension, beneath the vibrant Houston sky, the indomitable spirit of Blake Corum and the Michigan Wolverines soared to triumphant heights. Neighboring shadows of controversy with unresolved suspensions and allegations of sign-stealing could not dampen their fervor. With steadfast determination, they embarked on the final ascent of a three-year journey, reaching the zenith of college football—the national championship—vanquishing the Washington Huskies with a decisive 34-13 victory in the College Football Playoff title game.
Amidst the chaos, it was Corum who emerged as the linchpin of Michigan’s offense. Dashing through the lines with the poise of a seasoned warrior, he racked up 134 yards and crossed into the endzone twice during the climactic fourth quarter.
The Wolverines, undefeated and unstoppable, reclaimed a glory that had evaded them since 1997. Surging to a historic 15-0, they found their crowning moment when Corum—hero of the Rose Bowl’s overtime triumph against Alabama—powered through the final yard with 3:37 remaining. That run swelled the Michigan lead to an insurmountable twenty-one points, igniting the proud chorus of “The Victors.”
It was a long-awaited zenith for Jim Harbaugh, who, in his ninth year at the helm of his alma mater, fulfilled the promise anticipated upon his arrival to revive the Wolverines in 2015. Overcoming a series of personal suspensions, he crafted an ensemble worthy of the Michigan lineage—a team as relentless and fearless as the celebrated squads of Bo Schembechler.
Their unyielding defense, a relentless force, stymied Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., the Heisman Trophy finalist, reducing his prolific arm to a subdued instrument. The Huskies’ offensive maestro, who had deftly conducted a symphony of deep throws throughout the season, was intercepted twice by a Michigan defense that refused to let the melody play.
While Penix—a beacon of collegiate excellence over six years—completed 27 passes on 51 attempts for 255 yards, his touchdown was a lone bright spot in a night shadowed by Michigan’s overwhelming presence.
The Wolverines, robust in their display of Big Ten might, offered Washington a foretaste of the challenges that awaited them in their forthcoming passage to the Big Ten Conference. The Huskies, undaunted, stayed in step with Michigan, holding them scoreless after an initial surge. Prompted by a brazen stand on fourth down, Penix orchestrated a drive that culminated in a touchdown pass to Jalen McMillan in the waning seconds of the first half, narrowing the deficit to 17-10.
The tides, however, did not turn. Michigan’s Will Johnson picked off Penix at the outset of the second half, setting the stage for what seemed an imminent rout. Yet, the Huskies clawed back, conceding only a field goal to keep hope flickering at 20-10.
As the fourth quarter unfolded, Michigan, with the steely resolve of seasoned champions, pressed forward on a 71-yard drive punctuated by Corum’s 12-yard touchdown dash, finally pulling away to a cushioned 27-13 lead with just over seven minutes to play.
Corum, the bedrock of Michigan’s ground-and-pound offense and the venerable heart of a team interlaced with experienced fourth, fifth, and sixth-year players, found redemption after missing last year’s playoff due to injury. Crowned the offensive player of the title game, he dedicated the triumph to the Michigan faithful, affirming, “Michigan, this is for you.”
In the aftermath, as the Wolverines reveled on the field, a chapter closed and a legacy was etched, not just in the history books of Michigan football, but in the hearts of all who witnessed the rise of true champions under the starlit dome of the Houston sky.