3 keys for Michigan football to beat Alabama in Rose Bowl

Looking ahead to the Rose Bowl, here are three keys for Michigan football to beat Alabama.
2023 Big Ten Championship - Iowa v Michigan
2023 Big Ten Championship - Iowa v Michigan / Michael Hickey/GettyImages

We are less than 48 hours away from the Rose Bowl. Top-ranked Michigan football is a slight favorite against fourth-ranked Alabama.

There has been a month to talk about this matchup -- one of the most anticipated in the history of the College Football Playoff -- and it's time to get down to business.

It's an iconic matchup in an iconic location at the Rose Bowl. Michigan football hasn't won the Rose Bowl since winning the national title back in 1997. If history is going to repeat itself for the Wolverines, here are three keys to beating Alabama.

J.J. McCarthy needs to be special

This seems fairly apparent. If Michigan football is going to knock off Alabama and finally win an outright national championship, McCarthy will have to be the best quarterback on the field on Monday.

McCarthy and Jalen Milroe are both talented runners and throwers. McCarthy has to get involved in the running game and not just on third-down scrambles. Michigan football has to get him involved in the zone-read game. The pass protection also needs to be solid up front.

If McCarthy is 100 percent and gets time to work, he should play well against Alabama. But his legs are going to be the X-factor and if Michigan wins, McCarthy will be the talk of the Rose Bowl.

Contain Jalen Milroe

Michigan football isn't going to completely stop Jalen Milroe. He's the kind of quarterback who has dominated the Wolverines over the years. Michigan has struggled with mobile quarterbacks and Milroe is a talented thrower too.

The key will be keeping eyes on him. Jesse Minter needs to get Milroe confused with different coverages but most importantly, the Wolverines need to rally to the ball and tackle. If Milroe runs for over 100 yards, it might be tough for Michigan to win this game.

Unleash Donovan Edwards

Michigan football has to find success running the ball. But with all of the athletes on the Alabama side of things, the Wolverines need their 5-stars to 5-star. That means McCarthy being special; Will Johnson locking down Alabama receivers and Donovan Edwards creating explosive plays.

Whether it's as a runner or a receiver -- I don't care. But the game plan needs to be better. Get Edwards out wide. Isolate him. Make Alabama's linebackers cover him or force Alabama to put a defensive back on him. Either way, it's a win for Michigan.


It's a gut feeling, but Edwards needs an explosive run and an explosive catch for the Wolverines to knock off Alabama in the Rose Bowl.