Meridian High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso

The Lasso

Meridian High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso

The Lasso

Meridian High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso

The Lasso

2024 College Football National Championship

Michael Li
The National Championship trophy, waiting to be claimed by the winner of the game.

The 2024 CFB (College Football) National Championship has come and gone, but not without some noise. The Michigan Wolverines have just written their names in the history books after a win over the Washington Huskies. The game looked like it was headed for an all-time great finish. That is, until Michigan piled on 14 points in the closing minutes of the game, icing out the contest at 34-13. But what were the key moments in the game that led to Michigan securing their first CFB National Championship since 1997?

Michigan was off to a hot start, securing an opening drive touchdown, on a 41-yard explosion by their backup running back, Donovan Edwards. Washington came eight yards away from scoring a touchdown on their first drive, but ultimately came up short and kicked a field goal to make the game seven-three, in Michigan’s favor. Donovan Edwards struck once more, with a 46-yard TD run, changing the score to fourteen-three. Michigan forced a punt and capitalized with a field goal, moving the score up to seventeen-three. The game seemed to be slipping away from Washington, and it didn’t help that quarterback Michael Penix Jr. missed a wide-open Rome Odunze on fourth and seven to put an end to their otherwise promising drive. Three defensive stops on three consecutive drives later, and Washington had the ball back and converted a fourth and goal situation, cutting the lead to seven, 17-10 at the half.

After halftime, the teams exchanged field goals, making the game 20-13. A defensive masterclass from both teams made it to when the next time a team scored was with just over seven minutes left in the fourth quarter. This score was courtesy of Michigan’s star running back, Blake Cornum, widening Michigan’s lead to 14, at 27-13. Washington, now desperate, was forced into a fourth and thirteen situation inside Michigan territory. Penix made a very poor decision and threw into triple coverage, resulting in the game-ending interception which was returned inside the Washington 10-yard line. This set up Blake Cornum’s second rushing touchdown of the day and Michigan’s fourth. This officially put the game away at 34-13.

Michigan’s defense played lights-out, holding one of the best offenses in the country to just one touchdown. They had Penix under pressure all day, and it ultimately forced a subpar performance for the Heisman Candidate. A 52.9% Completion Percentage, just five yards per attempt, a 1/2 TD/INT Ratio and 255 yards passing on 51 attempts(ESPN) show how difficult it was to get any sort of time to throw. Penix did seem out of character, throwing into triple coverage with two receivers wide-open on the fourth and thirteen plays. 

“Penix had a horrible game, and all of his interceptions completely ruined a chance at an offensive drive,” sophomore Avery Hyra commented. 

The stats do concur that Penix did not play the game Washington needed him to, with two costly INTs and a missed throw on fourth down, Penix definitely could have made this a much closer game with better decision-making. However, Washington’s offensive line was not ready for Michigan. According to PFF, Penix was pressured on 17 of his dropbacks. On those dropbacks, Penix was 3/15 throwing, one TD, two INTs, sacked once, and scrambled for a gain of five yards.

While Michigan’s defense stole the show, Michigan’s offense, mainly their run game, cannot be overlooked. With Michigan’s quarterback, J.J. McCarthy, having a subpar game, Michigan’s running backs put the team on their backs and led the team to victory. Four TDs and 238 rushing yards on 27 attempts between their two backs were the main reason Michigan was able to put up 34 points and run away from Washington in the closing stages.    

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Dino Simcox
Dino Simcox, Staff Writer
Dino sophomore on his first year writing for The Lasso. Dino loves playing football and watching superhero movies. He likes writing about topics that he is involved in and interest him, and always tries to keep things interesting because he loses focus very easily.

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  • K

    Kathy HoatsonJan 31, 2024 at 2:21 PM

    The “BEST” team won in my opinion! GO 💙