The Wolverine

February 2024

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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24 THE WOLVERINE ❱ FEBRUARY 2024 BY ANTHONY BROOME T he Michigan Wolverines are national champions due in large part to the play of ju- nior running back Donovan Edwards in the College Football Play- off title game. Against Washington, he rushed 6 times for 104 yards and 2 touchdowns, both from 40-plus yards out in the first quarter. It was his first 100-yard output in a game all season. The 41- and 46-yard scoring runs are the second and third longest in CFP ti- tle game history behind Derrick Henry, who had a 50-yard scamper for Alabama in the 2016 game against Clemson. The long overdue breakout came after he only gained 383 yards with 3 touch- downs on 109 carries, a 3.51-yard aver- age per run, in the regular season. In 11 games as a sophomore, he ran for 991 yards and 7 scores on 140 carries, an average of 7.1 yards a tote, including a 216-yard, 2-touchdown effort on 22 carries at Ohio State. After last year concluded, many ex- pected him to be the team's lead back before Blake Corum announced he would return for one final ride. Edwards was outwardly supportive, but it was seen as a bit of a blow to his stock head- ing into the new campaign. He discussed his mental health journey at media day in Houston and what he had to fight through during the 2023 season. "It's up to you to be able to rise to the occasion and remember the down times," he said. "Of course, I have the feeling of being flustered, frustrated, and I definitely have been working on that. "I just feel like this year has been a blessing for me. I'm in a national cham- pionship game. I have three Big Ten championship rings. I just feel like re- gardless of how this year has gone for me, there has been a lot more blessings in what I've been going through beyond football. Even though I know I'm still going to be great at football." For one night, on the biggest stage pos- sible, Edwards put it all behind him and focused on staying in the moment. In do- ing so, he helped set a tone and played a major role in delivering Michigan its first national title since the 1997 season. "This year I realized that I was stress- ing myself out, and I was putting pres- sure on myself that I shouldn't," Ed- wards told The Wolverine on the field in Houston. "My therapist talked to me about putting expectations on myself. "You shouldn't do that because when you don't receive that expectation, you're just going to get into a cluster and a repeated cycle of, 'OK, I'm going to do this.' And if it doesn't happen, you're going to be mad about it. "Today I just relieved myself. I saw my therapist this week. I just let every- thing be free. I'm not even going to worry about this. I'm just going to let God do what He does and just control me in this game. What a beautiful feeling." Edwards is as spiritual as any player on the Michigan roster, and he cited his relationship with God as a reason why he was able to stay ready in the moment and be patient. "It's just been a buildup for what God has in store for me in the future, and to be able to have a good game here on the big stage is just a testament to me stay- ing patient," Edwards said. "I'm going to continue to give Him the praise and the glory because I know that's what He wants me to do. As long as we as people continue to know what is going on in our lives and what God has in store for us, we'll all be successful. "We'll all reach the point of where we want to be in life. I just feel like I've been through that this year. I just know I'm going to be successful later on in my fu- ture because I can always revert to a time where I feel like I was in a dark place. PATIENCE AND FAITH How Donovan Edwards' Mental Health Journey Paid Off On The Biggest Stage Of All

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