Not only will quarterback J.J. McCarthy, running back Blake Corum, and other key players be NFL Draft-eligible this spring. Or that Harbaugh has acquired an NFL-savvy agent and may return to the pros. Two NCAA violation charges against Michigan remain open. Significant sanctions may arrive in 2024.
Thus, the Wolverines have approached this season with intensity, uniting and adopting a “Michigan vs. Everybody” mindset despite scandal and criticism. After beating their first nine overmatched opponents by 24 or more points, they survived tough late-season tests against Penn State, Maryland, and Ohio State without their suspended head coach.
The College Football Playoff committee revealed its four-team bracket last month, and Michigan discovered their opponent at a team-wide viewing party in Ann Arbor. Many saw the Wolverines' gasps and groans as signals they didn't want to play Alabama, but Goode disagrees. “We weren’t worried about ‘Bama,” Goode added. “We were more shocked Florida State missed out.”
Michigan didn't look frightened by Alabama in Monday's first half. Michigan outgained Alabama by 101 yards and sacked Milroe five times. A muffed punt for a short Alabama touchdown drive pulled the Crimson Tide within 13-10 at halftime.
The second half was different as Alabama restricted Michigan to 44 yards on its opening four possessions and scored 10 unanswered points. McCarthy engineered an eight-play, 75-yard touchdown drive for a game-tying 4-yard throw to Roman Wilson after facing elimination.
Alabama nearly held serve after Michigan scored a touchdown on a Corum run in overtime. Milroe drove Alabama to the Wolverines' 3-yard line for a crucial fourth-and-goal. Michigan thought Alabama's move was obvious. In anticipation of Milroe running the ball, the Wolverines stacked the box and played cover zero.
When the moment gets tough, you go to your best player,” Michigan linebacker Junior Colson said. Goode stated, “We weren’t worried about nobody but No. 4 on that fourth down. They only have that person.”
Milroe sprinted right up the center after a low snap. A Michigan tackler horde stopped him. As confetti rained and Milroe slammed his helmet in fury, the Wolverines sideline spilled onto the field.
Glorious,” Harbaugh said. “The best feeling of my life,” Wilson remarked. Other Wolverines had a triumph without cheating charges. “There better not be none of that today,” Jenkins smiled. “I’ll review comments.”