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University of Michigan Wolverines Fueled by Faith During Championship Season

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Michigan’s coach and players said Monday night they were fueled by their faith in God during a historic football season that saw the Wolverines finish undefeated and claim their first national championship in 26 years.

The Wolverines defeated Washington 34-13 Monday night in the College Football Playoff National Championship behind Blake Corum’s 134 rushing yards and two touchdowns and Will Johnson’s key third-quarter interception. Corum, a running back, was the offensive player of the game while Johnson, a defensive back, was the defensive player of the game. 

Michigan ended the season 15-0, its first undefeated season since 1997, when it won a split national title with Nebraska. Its last undisputed national title was in 1948. 

Corum finished the year with 27 touchdowns and 1,245 rushing yards, one year after a late-season injury sidelined him for the Big Ten Championship and College Football Playoff, where the Wolverines lost in the semifinals. 

Asked on Monday what gave him the faith that Michigan could win a title this year, Corum answered, “God — God gave me the faith.”

“Last year I wasn’t here. … We came back as a team. We came back as brothers. This is what we came back for. We came back to get a natty. We came back to win for Michigan. And we did it. I’m just so blessed.”

Johnson, too, credited faith. Asked how the team was able to avoid off-the-field distractions throughout the season, Johnson responded, “Just faith in God — we just thank God for where we are. He had our back all year. We had faith in Him all year through all the ups and downs. And that’s what got us here today.”

Both players often discuss faith on their social media profiles. Johnson’s profile lists Psalms 121 in his bio. After his semifinal win, Corum wrote, “All praise to God.” 

It was the third straight College Football Playoff appearance and third straight Big 10 title for the Wolverines, who have experienced a wave of success under head coach Jim Harbaugh since he took the job in 2015. The year before he arrived, Michigan finished 5-7. The Wolverines have won at least 10 games in six of his nine seasons.  

Harbaugh, on Monday night, labeled the team “spectacular” and said God guided him during the season. 

“It was a journey, a spiritual journey — just took counsel from God, the Holy Spirit, this team,” he said during a nationally televised interview. “Everybody [had] unanimous support for each other.”

Photo Courtesy: @Getty Images/Maddie Meyer / Staff
Video Courtesy: ESPN via YouTube


Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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