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Poignant Perseverance: How Michigan Finished Off Their Magical Season with a Championship

2C2K Photography
A sign signifying the 2024 National Championship

With mere minutes left on the clock, Micheal Penix Jr. of the Washington Huskies is driving down the field, trying to conjure one last comeback attempt in what had so far been a magical season. The clock is ticking, and the Huskies are trying to make up the score as they find themselves down 27-13 to the Michigan Wolverines. On the fourth down, Penix heaves one last pass, trying to gain enough yardage to keep the drive alive against a Michigan secondary that has been locked down all night against some of the best receivers the nation has to offer. Unfortunately, as the ball is floating in the air for what seems like an eternity, someone reaches out and picks it out of the sky. It’s one of Michigan’s biggest contributors on defense: Mike Sainristil. 

Sainristil has been one of the key seniors who has led Michigan’s defense to be one of, if not the top defense in college football this season. But he’s not the only one; in a convincing 34-13 victory over the Huskies, Michigan put their full defensive prowess on display with good performances from seniors like defensive tackle Kris Jenkins, and junior linebacker Colson (who announced he will be returning for the Wolverines in 2024).

With their impressive defense, Michigan has held one of the top offenses in America to only 255 yards passing and 46 yards rushing, an impressive result against an offense, led by Micheal Penix, that looked seemed impossible a week ago. It seems poetic in a way, the Wolverines had been marred by controversy this year, with suspensions to their head coach Jim Harbaugh more than once this season. Despite them winning and passing every test they could in the regular season, everyone’s eyes seemed to be pulled in a different direction, whether it was between alleged recruiting violations or cheating of some kind. It seemed the only way Michigan would be able to prove the doubters wrong was by competing when all eyes were on them in the CFB Playoffs. Time after time they delivered, beating Alabama and now retired head coach Nick Saben, and continuing on to make a statement victory a week later against Washington.

One thing has seemed clear this season for Michigan, despite the uncertainty of everything else, their bond is the strongest it’s ever been for a championship team in recent memory. To the surprise of many, they have taken note of the things they have gone through and used it as fuel to propel them to greater heights, not only on the football field but in the locker room as well. Despite the uncertainty of where Jim Harbaugh will be next year, (he has decided to meet with the Los Angeles Chargers for their head coaching vacancy this week), one thing is set in stone: this Michigan team will be remembered for a while to come.

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About the Contributor
Julian Zolenski
Julian Zolenski, Staff Writer
Julian Zolenski is a Senior at Forest Hills Eastern. This is his second year being on the Hawk Herald Staff. Julian enjoys a number of different things about his busy life including working as a line cook, playing with his dog, and hanging out with his friends. Right now Julian has a dream of being a Sports Commentator. He intends to accomplish this goal by majoring in Broadcast Journalism in his college future. Julian knows this is a lofty goal, but he will not let anything stop him from accomplishing it.   
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