CFP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh delivers championship title over Washington amid cheating scandal

Jan 8, 2024, 9:31 PM

Jim Harbaugh...

Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines reacts after a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Washington Huskies during the 2024 CFP National Championship game at NRG Stadium on January 08, 2024 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

HOUSTON (AP) — Blake Corum ran for 134 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdowns as Jim Harbaugh and No. 1 Michigan — undeterred by suspensions and a sign-stealing case that shadowed the program — completed a three-year climb to a national championship by beating No. 2 Washington 34-13 Monday night in the College Football Playoff title game.

The Wolverines (15-0) sealed their first national title since 1997 when Corum, who scored the winning touchdown in overtime to beat Alabama in the Rose Bowl semifinal, blasted in from the 1-yard line with 3:37 left to put Michigan up by 21 and set off another rousing rendition of “The Victors.”

After nine seasons coaching his alma mater and in his third consecutive playoff appearance, Harbaugh delivered the title so many expected when he took over a struggling powerhouse in 2015 — despite missing six regular-season games this season while serving separate suspensions.

And he did it with a team his old coach, Bo Schembechler, would have adored. The Wolverines ran for 303 yards against Washington (14-1), and their defense held Michael Penix Jr. and the Huskies’ prolific passing game to just one touchdown while intercepting the Heisman Trophy runner-up twice.

Penix’s remarkable six-year college career ended with maybe his worst performance of the season. Usually unfazed by pressure, Penix’s passes were not nearly as precise against a Michigan defense that took away his signature deep throws.

Penix finished 27 for 51 for 255 yards and a touchdown.

Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy had a modest game, throwing for 140 yards and running for 31. But it was enough for him to improve to 27-1 as a starter for the Wolverines.

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Follow Ralph D. Russo at https://twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP and listen at http://www.appodcasts.com.

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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football

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Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh delivers championship title over Washington amid cheating scandal