Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy praises Illinois birthplace after National Championship triumph.

Michigan won their first national championship in a game. On Monday, No. 1 Michigan defeated No. 2 Washington 34-13 in the College Football Playoff Championship game in Houston, winning the program's first national championship since 1997, two seasons before the BCS.

The Wolverines improved to 15-0 on the season, with head coach Jim Harbaugh finally delivering the big one the program hired him for.

Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy completed 10 of 18 throws for 140 yards without a score or interception. On four carries, he gained 31 yards. Michigan's All-American running back Blake Corum had 134 rushing yards on 21 runs and two touchdowns, while Edwards had 104 on six carries and two scores.

McCarthy enthusiastically screamed out his birthplace of La Grange Park, Illinois, to ESPN's Holly Rowe on the field after the game. "Coach has called you the greatest college quarterback to ever play at Michigan," Rowe. "What do you think you are?"

"I think I'm J.J. McCarthy, kid from La Grange Park, Illinois that's just trying to be the best he can possibly be every day," he said. "That's all I think of myself as." Rowe instantly reminded him that he is now a national champion.

Michigan was dogged by an alleged sign-stealing plot that sidelined Harbaugh for three games. After Harbaugh left, offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore kept the team going.

In 1997, Lloyd Carr led Michigan to the national championship by placing first in the final poll, not in a game. Harbaugh was hired in 2015 to rectify that, but the program didn't win a conference title until 2021. The Wolverines lost the 2022 Fiesta Bowl CFP semifinal before winning in 2023.

Washington won two national titles, most recently in 1991. But polls divided the award with Miami (FL). New head coach Kalen DeBoer and Penix Jr.'s ascent under center gave the Huskies optimism, but they must wait.

The 2025 championship game will have a new structure starting next season, making Michigan's prospective repeat bid more difficult. On Monday, Jan. 20, Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta will host that game.