‘Will not be rejected’: U-M powers into first CFP final
Paolo Uggetti, ESPNJan 1, 2024, 08:53 PM ET PASADENA, Calif.– Just over an hour after top-seeded Michigan had lasted longer than No. 4 Alabama in a 27-20 overtime thriller at the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl, Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy slipped back into the empty stadium to soak it all in.After engineering a game-tying drive in the 4th quarter and a game-winning drive in overtime that assisted protect undefeated Michigan’s first-ever look in the College Football Playoff Championship game game, McCarthy was still wearing his jersey as he stood near the Alabama end line, looked across the 100 lawns of yard and crouched down to get some confetti.
“This is the best quarterback in University of Michigan college football history,” coach Jim Harbaugh said after the game, with McCarthy by his side. “Got a long method to go to get to where Tom Brady ultimately got to, which is the GOAT, but in a college profession there’s been nobody at Michigan better than J.J. I understand we talk about it, an amalgamation of quarterbacks. He is that guy.”
McCarthy, like he had actually been all season long, was not flashy, nor did he produce plays that will fill highlight reels for several years to come. However when it mattered most, the junior quarterback– who ended up with 221 passing lawns and 3 goals en route to earning the Offensive Gamer of the Game award– ensured his name will be kept in mind in Wolverines lore.Editor’s Picks 2 Related After holding a halftime lead that the Tide turned in their favor with a goal drive early in the fourth quarter, Michigan’s title game hopes fell on McCarthy’s shoulders. The past 2 years for McCarthy had ended here, with his team losing in the College Football Playoff semifinal.With a third straight year of removal in the balance, McCarthy and
the Michigan offense went to work, stitching together a gritty 75-yard drive that featured a clutch 27-yard pass from McCarthy to running back Blake Corum on fourth-and-2. With 1:34 left in guideline, McCarthy discovered wideout Roman Wilson for a 4-yard, game-tying TD that sent out the game to overtime– only the 2nd overtime game in the 110 editions of the Rose Bowl.”I was calm that fourth quarter, that overtime,”Harbaugh stated. “I just seemed like there’s nothing that we could not overcome inside of this stadium today.” In the extra duration, McCarthy stated Michigan wanted the ball to begin. And after that the quarterback Harbaugh declared the best
in Michigan history handed the baton to one of the best running backs in program history. It took just 2 plays– an 8-yard run and a 17-yard touchdown run from Corum– to put Michigan ahead.” It was do or pass away,” Corum stated.”I made a promise to Michigan fans before the season, and I needed to stand on what I said.
We had the ability to do what we had to do to come out victorious.” “Whatever I see out of Blake on an everyday basis, everything that Blake is– when everybody’s exhausted, when it’s overtime, he’s going to be that guy that shows out,” McCarthy stated.”Similar to he carries out in sprints when we run them in the offseason. It was absolutely nothing brand-new for me– it was just amazing the world got to see it. “Yet in spite of the effort that McCarthy and the Michigan offense put forth, in the end, it fell to the Wolverines ‘defense to make a
stop. Alabama’s first overtime possession came down to fourth-and-goal from the 3-yard line, and defensive organizer Jesse Minter and his staff had a respectable idea that Alabama was going to provide quarterback Jalen Milroe the ball.”We just wanted to attempt to keep him from having the ability to determine the terms on that play,”Minter stated of Milroe. “We wished to be the aggressor
.”Milroe kept the ball and tried to hurry up the middle for what would have been a game-tying score. However as he attempted to cross the
line of scrimmage, a swarm of protectors stopped him in his tracks, sending the Michigan faithful at the Rose Bowl into pandemonium and the group hurrying onto the field.Michigan’s Win By The Numbers – First Championship game Video game appearance in BCS/CFP Era(because 1998)- 1st CFP Playoff victory; had lost in semifinals each of the previous 2 seasons – 14th win this season; a lot of in school history &
ties Huge Ten record with 1903 Minnesota(14-0-1), 2002 Ohio State (14-0)
& 2014 Ohio State(14-1 )- 1st bowl win since 2016 Citrus Bowl(2015 season,
Harbaugh’s very first at Michigan ); snaps 6-game bowl losing streak, tied for the 2nd-longest active streak in FBS – Got rid of 7-point deficit in fourth quarter to win, tied for largest 4th-quarter comeback win under Jim Harbaugh (because 2015)- Tracked for 18:14 today vs. Alabama, a lot of in any game this season; getting in tonight, Wolverines routed for 23:29 all season – Blake Corum: 56 career hurrying goals, passed Anthony Thomas for many in Michigan history – Michigan closed as a 2.5-point favorite; 8-2 ATS in last 10 games(8-6 in general this season)– ESPN Stats & Information The call, which Harbaugh later on said is called “twister, “has a pretty simple directive.”We just had everyone therein,”Harbaugh said.”It was everyone. Everybody there, everyone to the ball.” “We wedged all 4 spaces,”defensive line coach Mike Elston said.”We had a feeling they ‘d keep up him. “The stop was emblematic of Michigan’s physical dominance throughout the game, which showed itself over the course of the very first half. The Wolverines’defensive linemen turned Alabama’s backfield into their playground, restricting the Tide’s running game to 43 lawns in the very first half
(116 passing backyards in the whole game), suffocating their offending line and sacking Milroe 5 times.”The entire month, everyone was speaking about Bama this, Bama that. Bama fast. Bama huge,”defensive take on Kenneth Grant said.” We came out and did the unthinkable. Nobody thought in us from the start. We came out and did it and showed everyone incorrect.”For the better part of the past 15 years, Nick Saban’s Alabama groups have actually represented not just college football’s paragon, however also the sport’s most physically dominant entity. But throughout a season in which the Tide constantly were required to survive rather than impose their will, Michigan’s physicality on both sides of the ball showed to be the end game.In what was a throwback game that included 13 punts, 8 fumbles(just 2 of them lost), a missed out on additional point and a lot of unique groups blunders, every point, every snap and every error was amplified. And in the end, it was Harbaugh’s team– following back-to-back seasons of losing in the CFP semifinals– that did enough to keep alive its undefeated season and opportunity to win
the program’s first title since the 1997 season.” First it was Penn State, Penn State were stronger than us. We had to function, “protective take on Kris Jenkins stated. “And then it was Ohio State, we had to function. Then it was Bama. Time and time once again, people doubted us. It didn’t matter the circumstance. We needed to show to the world, we had to advise to the world what this Block M indicates, male.
Who we are. “Inside the locker room, players shared Jenkins’belief. One player spoke into a phone and exclaimed,” They said Michigan can’t manage Alabama. They said that!”Another recounted simply just how much the group had actually felt ignored regardless of the fact it was the top seed playing the 4th seed.”It’s nearly been an unjust advantage, all the things that the group has actually gone through. We do not care any longer. Don’t care what people say. Don’t care about anything that comes up. We just know we’re going to conquer it.” Michigan coach Jim
Harbaugh”We was getting so disrespected all season, male,”linebacker Michael Barrett said. “All the bulls– that’s been thrown at us, we just conquer it all together. We got some dogs in here, guy. We will not be rejected.” In a season bookended by two
three-game suspensions for Harbaugh– the first released preemptively by the school amidst an investigation of possible recruiting offenses, and the 2nd mandated by the Big Ten over claims of sign stealing and in-person scouting–
and amidst plenty of reaction, Michigan’s players might base on the outcomes that had been earned on the field. They said the turmoil in fact made them a much better, more cohesive team.They needed every bit of that cohesion versus the Tide, who were a couple of protective stops away from their seventh trip to the playoff final.”It’s nearly been an unreasonable benefit, all the things that the team has gone through, “Harbaugh said.”We do not care anymore. Do not care what individuals state. Do
n’t appreciate anything that shows up. We feel in one’s bones we’re going to conquer it.””Simply think about how far we have actually come, all the challenges that we went through as a group and as a brotherhood,” McCarthy stated.”It’s been 26 years given that Michigan won in this building, and the 2nd most looks out of any college in the entire nation playing in this game. It’s just incredible the way it took place. We’ve got one more game left, so the job is not finished yet.”Michigan next faces No. 2 Washington, a 37-31 winner over No. 3 Texas in Monday night’s Sugar Bowl semifinal, in the College Football Playoff title game on Jan. 8 in Houston. The Wolverines opened as 5-point favorites at sportsbook ESPN BET with the over/under overall at 55.5.” It’s what it means to these guys, to our players the most,”Harbaugh stated when asked what the minute implies to him, and what it would imply to win the national championship.”To them, to be champs. For their parents, to have their son be a champion. Their siblings and siblings, their grandparents. For our coaches. For my kids, to have a dad be champ.
Then my moms and dads.”Just those individuals that get to feel what that’s like … my delighted pleasure is for our players and our coaches and our fans and our families. That they get to experience that pleasure of being a champ.”The Associated Press contributed to this report.