The Michigan Wolverines and Washington Huskies have advanced to the College Football Playoff National Championship where they will face off in Houston on Jan. 8 in the title game.
In Monday's semifinals, No. 1 Michigan beat the No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide in overtime 27-20 in the Rose Bowl while No. 2 Washington defeated the No. 3 Texas Longhorns 37-31. In the sugar bowl.
Here are some highlights from Monday's semifinals.
In a tough encounter, Michigan and Alabama found themselves tied 20-20 after regulation, forcing the contest known as the “Grandfather of Them All” to go into overtime for only the second time in the game's illustrious history.
After Michigan's Blake Corum scored a touchdown to put his team ahead, the Wolverines' defense stopped Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe on fourth down at the 3-yard line to advance to the national championship game on Jan. 8 in Houston.
Michigan, which became the first college football program ever to reach 1,000 wins earlier this season, will seek its first national championship since 1997, when the Wolverines shared the title with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. The NCAA credits Michigan with nine football championships, while Michigan claims 11.
This is the third straight season the Wolverines have reached the College Football Playoff but Michigan has failed to advance past the semifinals in each of the past two years.
A national title for Michigan would make for a season to remember, one that generated controversy.
To start the year, head coach Jim Harbaugh was suspended for the team's first three games, a self-imposed punishment by Michigan's athletics department for NCAA recruiting violations. The NCAA, which has an open investigation into the matter, would likely choose to add additional penalties in this case.
The NCAA opened a second investigation into the Wolverines in October for alleged sign-stealing, which led to the suspension and subsequent resignation of Michigan football analyst Connor Stallions, and the firing of running backs coach Chris Partridge.
Harbaugh denied having any knowledge of any scheme to steal other teams' signs, but he accepted a three-game suspension — bringing his total games away from Michigan's sideline to six.
Both NCAA investigations into Michigan are ongoing.
Michigan (14-0) was led Monday as it has all season by quarterback JJ McCarthy, who threw Three touch passes Against Alabama. The potential first-round pick in the 2024 NFL Draft completed 17 of 27 passes.
Corum also scored the Wolverines' first touchdown and Michigan's defense frustrated Milroe by sacking him five times in the first half and six times total.
The Wolverines still needed a 75-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter to force overtime as Corum handled offensive heroics and the defense got stuck at the end of the game as Melroe had nowhere to go when he ran up the middle of the line.
The Crimson Tide finished the season 12-2.
Washington never trailed in the first half, taking the lead on three separate occasions. But Texas had an answer for every score, and the two teams entered halftime tied at 21-21.
Led by the nation's leading quarterback Michael Penix Jr., the Huskies scored 13 unanswered points in the second half and held off a late Longhorns rally to clinch the thrilling win at the Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Leading by six points with less than a minute remaining in the fourth quarter, Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers drove the offense into the red zone, but his fourth-and-11 passing attempt fell incomplete on the final play of the game.
Penix Jr., a Heisman Trophy finalist, completed 29 of his 38 pass attempts and finished with 430 yards and two touchdown passes in the game. His 430 yards passing are the second-most ever in a College Football Playoff semifinal, behind Joe Burrow's 493 yards in 2019.
Like Michigan, the Washington Huskies reached the semifinals with a 13-0 record and much of their success can be attributed to Penix Jr.
Penix was confident heading into the Sugar Bowl before the team's win.
“I'm not going to lie, their D-line is good. But at the same time, they didn't play our D-line. Brett McMurphy. “They're playing good ball, but I'm not saying we're playing the D-line for the 49ers or the D-line for the Eagles, so we'll be good.”
The Huskies will next play against the Michigan Wolverines in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game on January 8 at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.
Washington, which is set to leave the Pac-12 Conference after the season, will compete for the program's first national championship title since 1991, when the Huskies shared the title with the Miami Hurricanes. the National Collegiate Athletic Association Washington is credited with one National Football League Championship, instead The Huskies claim two.