The Michigan Wolverines are in the College Football playoff for the first time ever since the new format was implemented in 2014. Led by a ferocious Defense and potent running game, the Wolverines finished off their regular season campaign with a sweeping win, mopping Iowa in the Big Ten championship 42-3. Up next, the Wolverines play Georgia in the Orange Bowl to vie for a spot in the national championship against either Cincinnati or Alabama.
The season’s success brings huge relief to Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, who just a year earlier was on the hot seat after a poor 2-4 season that was shortened because of the pandemic. Not only was a successful season a relief for Harbaugh, but getting Ohio State off his back and beating their rival for the first time since 2011 placed the Wolverines in prime position to get to where they are now. Granted, Georgia is no easy feat, but the Michigan faithful have plenty to cheer for going into the playoff semi-final on December 31st.
Aiden Hutchison, a great pass rusher from Plymouth Michigan, has 14 sacks on the season, breaking the Michigan school record of 12 set by David Bowens in 1996. He also has recorded 33 tackles and two forced fumbles on the season. Aiden is assisted by fellow pass rusher David Ojabo, who has 11 sacks on the season, 24 tackles, and five forced fumbles. These two combine for a deadly combo that offensive lines have had trouble stopping all season. Defensive lines have had a different problem against Michigan: stopping the efficient running attack led by senior Hassan Haskins and sophomore Blake Corum. Haskins has been a well-oiled machine all season, racking up 1,288 rushing yards and 20 touchdowns. Corum has brought speed and versatility out of the backfield to the duo, closing in on 1,000 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. Michigan’s passing game is also something to fear, as Cade McNamara has been nearly mistake-free this season with only four interceptions. This is a far cry better than former Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson who threw eight picks his senior year. Although their passing game may not get as much credit, it certainly has picked up after its slow start to the season that had Michigan fans wondering if they were a one-dimensional offense. So how does all this have Michigan fans feeling? A quick chat with a Michigan fan from Forest Hills Eastern revealed a sense of confidence. Tate Miller (’24) had some simple answers to some of the questions posed, and when asked how excited he was to see his team get this far he said he was very excited but also very surprised. He also feels that the success this season has raised the bar of future Michigan football seasons because it should keep the recruits coming. As for his confidence for his team going into the CFB playoffs, Tate reiterated that if the defense can do what it’s been doing all season, Michigan will have more than a shot to win this game.
It’s safe to say this season has brought joy to many Michigan fans that they haven’t been felt in a long time. Although the journey to a national championship may seem far-fetched, if this group has shown us anything this year, it is the ability to learn from your mistakes and get better as time goes on. From starting the season unranked to a top-two team in college football, the Wolverines will continue to charge into the games ahead.
Photo Courtesy of: https://sports.yahoo.com/michigan-football-play-big-ten-203737213.html