Summer 2024

Faith-filled RBs Blake Corum, Donovan Edwards power Michigan to national title

All season long, it seemed like No. 1 Michigan was a team of destiny. On Monday night in Houston, the Wolverines proved they were worthy of every lofty expectation with a convincing 34-13 win against No. 2 Washington in the College Football Playoff National Championship Game.

It is the program’s third national title in the poll era (since 1936) and first since 1997.

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Running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards were the difference in the game, riding a strong first quarter to combine for 238 yards and four touchdowns on 27 carries. They became the first teammates ever to each surpass 100 yards rushing in a CFP title game, and the Wolverines as a team combined for 303 rushing yards, the most in any CFP or BCS title game.

On the field moments after the clock struck triple zeroes, ESPN’s Molly McGrath asked Corum what made him believe that he and his teammates could get the job done.

“God,” he said. “God gave me the faith. … We came back as a team, we came back as brothers, and 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.”

But it wasn’t only in victory that Corum and Edwards praised God. Also in their respective press conferences before the much-anticipated matchup, they both publicly leaned on their faith.

“This is something I’ve always dreamed of, getting to this stage, getting an opportunity to play in the national championship,” Corum said. “What a blessing it is. I thank God so much for allowing me to be here. I’m just so thankful, so thankful to be given this opportunity. It’s truly a blessing.”

Edwards echoed Corum’s comments.

“I just thank God that He’s allowed me to [play football],” Edwards said. “He showed me the ups, the downs, and it’s about what I do with it. It’s about if I’m going to fall from it or continue to rise from adversity and trials and tribulation.”

Edwards, Corum and the entire Michigan team certainly rose to the occasion on Monday night.

Despite self-imposing a three-game suspension on head coach Jim Harbaugh to begin the season, playing four top-10 teams since Nov. 11, and Harbaugh serving an additional three-game suspension in connection to Michigan’s sign-stealing scandal, the Wolverines simply kept on winning. In doing so, they became the fourth team ever to go 15-0 and capture the national championship.

Monday’s victory was a long time coming for Corum, who was named offensive MVP for his 134 yards and two fourth-quarter TDs in the title game. Corum is a senior who has shredded Big Ten defenses for four years, and at long last he’s experienced College Football Playoff success. He and his team were on the losing end of a semifinal loss to Georgia in 2021-22, while last season a knee injury prevented him from participating in the playoff at all.

This season, Corum has rushed for 1,245 yards and 27 touchdowns, a year after he amassed 1,463 yards on the ground with 18 touchdowns. He had 952 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2021-22.

A 2022-23 unanimous first-team All-American, Corum has been vocal for years about his faith in God instilled in him by his parents.

“I tell everyone, like football is my passion but giving back is my purpose. I believe that,” Corum said before Monday’s title game. “I believe God put me on this earth for something way bigger than football. I think I’m just given the ability to use my football platform to help others.

“… If we all come together as one, this world would be a better place, so that’s what I’m trying to do. Sometimes it only takes one person, one person and then others will start to follow. I believe I’m just trying to use my platform the best I can the way that God would want me to.”

Corum’s generosity led to him receiving the Collegiate Social Service Award last year. In his speech at the award ceremony, he spoke openly about his faith in Christ and God’s Word.

“I’m a firm believer in Christ,” Corum said. “Acts 20:35 says: ‘In all things I have shown you about working hard, in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”’ That’s why I’m here. I’m more than an athlete.

“God has blessed me not only with athletic abilities but the ability to give. … Serving is what I believe God put me on this earth to do. I will continue to serve and bring communities together as long as I’m on this earth.”

The explosive Edwards, a junior who has played behind Corum for three years, also shined on college football’s brightest stage. He finished Monday night with 104 yards — his best game of the season — buoyed by two long first-quarter touchdown runs.

He apparently has a knack for such things. In last season’s 45-23 demolition of rival Ohio State, Edwards compiled 216 yards and two other long touchdowns on 22 carries while Corum was hampered by an injured knee. During an on-field interview after that game, Edwards made sure to honor God.

“First and foremost, all praises to the Lord,” he told FOX that day. “He blessed us to be able to come play in this game. All of us who played in the game, we came out healthy and we got the victory. So all praises to the Lord.”

Recently, Edwards was asked about his Christian testimony and his outspoken faith in Christ.

“It’s not difficult for me to praise God and to give Him glory,” he said, “because He’s always been there for me when everything was high, so I’d be doing a disgrace to God if I wasn’t praising Him when everything was low.”

During Monday night’s postgame press conference, Corum was asked about the rushing attack and how happy he was for Edwards.

“I was so excited for Donovan because I just felt like he needed that. He needed it. He’s back, Donovan was back. … That’s something Donovan, he’s been praying for,” Corum said. “… He puts in the work, he’s always there, I love that guy. The Don, that’s going to be a ‘trusted agent and known friend’ for life. That’s my guy and I’m glad I got to share a backfield with Donovan.”

Corum was already one of the greatest running backs in Michigan football history, and now, he heads off into the sunset as a national champion. Meanwhile, Edwards has another year of eligibility. Yet even as their years of sharing the backfield are coming to an end, Corum and Edwards know they are bonded forever as national champions and as followers of Christ.

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