When the best players on college football’s number one ranked team show gratitude for their blessings, it becomes impossible not to root for them.
Prior to Monday’s 27-20 overtime victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide in the national semifinal playoff game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, a large contingent of Michigan Wolverines players knelt together in prayer.
Then, at the post-game press conference, Michigan star linebacker Junior Colson opened by giving “all glory to God.”
Wolverines starting quarterback J.J. McCarthy sat to Colson’s right at the press conference.
When Colson praised God, McCarthy bowed his head for a moment and pointed heavenward in acknowledgement.
Readers may view the entire post-game press conference below:
Sports Spectrum, a sports and faith account with more than 41,000 followers on the social media platform X, posted the pregame prayer photo.
“Always give thanks, Michigan pregame on-field prayer before today’s CFB playoff matchup against Alabama,” Sports Spectrum tweeted.
Always give thanks 🙏
Michigan pregame on-field prayer before today’s CFB playoff matchup against Alabama. pic.twitter.com/T53XfEqqz7
— Sports Spectrum (@Sports_Spectrum) January 1, 2024
The top-ranked and undefeated Wolverines (14-0) needed all the belief they could muster to get past the 4th-seeded Crimson Tide.
With Alabama leading, 20-13, late in regulation, McCarthy threw a game-tying 4-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Roman Wilson.
After a touchdown by running back Blake Corum put the Wolverines ahead in overtime, 27-20, Michigan’s defense stopped Alabama on 4th down to preserve the victory.
Readers may view full game highlights here:
The Wolverines advanced to the national championship game Jan. 8 in Houston, where they will face the undefeated and 2nd-ranked Washington Huskies (14-0), 37-31 winners over the Texas Longhorns in the Sugar Bowl, Monday’s other national semifinal game.
Michigan’s humble leaders will need a repeat performance if they hope to defeat the Huskies.
On Monday, Colson led the ferocious Wolverines defense with 10 tackles.
Meanwhile, McCarthy threw for 221 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Both players have enjoyed fine seasons and should have bright futures at the professional level.
Players of that caliber often earn special admiration when they experience success and then give glory to God.
As another Wolverines player proved, however, acknowledging God’s goodness does not require personal accolades and gaudy football statistics.
Michigan running back Donovan Edwards had high expectations entering this season. After all, in 2022 he amassed 991 rushing yards and scored seven touchdowns.
Edwards’ 2023 season, however, has not gone as planned. He saw his rushing total dip to 393 yards and three touchdowns. On Monday, he carried the ball only four times for 11 yards.
Still, Edwards will be fine.
In an interview posted to YouTube on Saturday, the running back explained how his faith sustains him.
“Before I committed to Michigan, I heard a voice say ‘Do not worry. Everything will be alright.’ And I figured that was God talking to me,” Edwards said.
The young man also spoke of prophecies and spiritual visions from the Book of Revelation.
Then, when the interviewer asked if Edwards struggled to praise God during difficult times, the running back did not hesitate to answer in the negative.
“It’s not difficult for me to praise God and, you know, to give Him glory because He’s always given me — He’s always been there for me, you know, when everything was high, so I’d be doing a disgrace to God if I wasn’t praising Him when everything was low,” Edwards said.
Readers may view Edwards’ wonderful interview in its entirety here:
Despite their undefeated record, the Wolverines have endured a tumultuous season.
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh, for instance, served two separate three-game suspensions, one for recruiting violations and another for stealing opponents’ signs as part of a multi-year scheme that violated Big Ten conference sportsmanship policy.
Whatever technical transgressions they may have committed, however, Harbaugh and his fellow coaches unquestionably have recruited some high-character players to the University of Michigan.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.