University of Michigan football team earns special tribute from Gov. Whitmer

Michigan running back Blake Corum (2) runs in for a touchdown past Alabama defensive back Kool-Aid McKinstry (1) during overtime at the Rose Bowl CFP NCAA semifinal college football game Jan. 1, 2024, in Pasadena, CA

The University of Michigan football team had a historic season this year, prompting Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to recognize their achievements with a special tribute.

The Wolverines beat the University of Alabama Crimson Tide 27-20 in the Rose Bowl, the College Football Playoff Semifinal game on Jan. 1. Whitmer presented the team with the special tribute following the semifinal win, honoring the first time in school history the Wolverines would be participating in the College Football Playoff National Championship.

“It is with immense excitement and pride that we congratulate the Michigan Wolverines on their outstanding performance and triumphant victory over Alabama in the 2024 Rose Bowl,” the tribute reads. “This win is a testament to the Wolverines’ exceptional skill, determination, and unwavering Michigan grit.”

The tribute specifically acknowledged Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy and running back Blake Corum, who broke the Michigan all-time rushing touchdown record. Both players recently announced they’ll be entering the 2024 NFL draft. Coach Jim Harbaugh has led his team to three consecutive playoffs since taking over in 2015.

Whitmer, an alum of rival school Michigan State University, is the mother of two University of Michigan students. In a statement accompanying the tribute, Whitmer praised the team for its undefeated season and for becoming the only college football program in history to earn 1,000 total wins.

The Wolverine’s winning streak continued on Jan. 8 when they defeated the University of Washington Huskies in the championship game with a final score of 34-13.

Ahead of the Michigan and Washington matchup, Whitmer and Washington Governor Jay Inslee placed a bet on which team would come out on top. Whitmer wagered a pack of Haze and Blue IPA — a play on the Wolverine’s school colors, Maize and Blue – from Big Lake Brewing in Holland. Inslee wagered a case of wine from the Naches Heights Vineyard Yakima, Washington.

In a social media post following Michigan’s championship win, Whitmer congratulated the coaching staff and student athletes “who poured their heart and soul into every play.” 

“You’ve made us all incredibly proud. Hail to the Victors!” she said.