The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

The Student News Site of Mercer Island High School

The MIHS Islander

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Washington Suffers Loss to Michigan in National Championship Game

Washington Suffers Loss to Michigan in National Championship Game
Michigan Football

The University of Washington Huskies season ended after a heartbreaking 34-13 loss against the University of Michigan Wolverines on Jan. 8. in the College Football Playoffs National Championship game in Houston.

This loss marks the second time Washington has been to the National Championship game. The only other time was in 1991 when they proved victorious over the University of Michigan with a score of 34-14.

The Huskies star quarterback Michael Penix Jr. threw for 255 yards and 27 completions, a number similar to his performance at the Pac-12 Championship game in Las Vegas.

Running back Dillon Johnson suffered an injury in Washington’s last game against Texas, and seemingly re-injured himself in the beginning of the first quarter. Johnson ended the game with only 11 carries for 33 yards, a disappointing statistic compared to his Pac-12 Championship performance of 28 carries for 152 yards.

This contrasts to a run-heavy performance by the Michigan Wolverines, with their quarterback J.J. McCarthy only throwing for 140 yards over only 10 completions. On the other hand, their running back Blake Corum had 134 yards over 21 carries,  alongside an additional 104 yards over 6 carries by Michigan backup running back Donovan Edwards.

Both Corum and Edwards scored one touchdown each, while Washington only scored a total of one touchdown. This singular glory was a three-yard pass to wide receiver Jalen McMillan in the last minute of the first half.

On special teams, Huskies walk-on kicker Grady Gross scored two field goals over two attempts. Michigan kicker James Turner also scored two field goals over two attempts.

“The one thing I wanted to make sure that [the team] knew is even though this isn’t what we feel is gonna happen [in the future], that they’ve restored UW football and that they’ve made a city proud,” Washington Huskies head coach Kalen DeBoer said in a post-game interview.

After this season, DeBoer and the Huskies will move to the Big Ten Conference along with Pac-12 teams UCLA, USC, and Washington rivals, the University of Oregon Ducks. 

Both Washington and Michigan were undefeated before the game, with both teams beating their rivals Oregon and Ohio State respectively in the regular season. This led to a competitive dynamic in the Championship game, especially following their previous National Championship faceoff 32 years ago.

The Washington Huskies and the Michigan Wolverines will face off next in a regular season game on October 5th, 2024 at Husky Stadium.

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