The Player Nobody Is Talking About That May Have Saved Michigan’s Season

Josh Wallace came up huge for Michigan in the 2024 Rose Bowl against Alabama. Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Josh Wallace came up huge for Michigan in the 2024 Rose Bowl against Alabama. Photo: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

After a 26-year wait, the Michigan Wolverines, led by stars like running back Blake Corum and quarterback J.J. McCarthy, have finally reclaimed national glory with a thrilling 27-20 overtime win over Alabama in the Rose Bowl. However, amidst the shower of accolades for the offensive stars, the vital contribution of one player remains largely unsung: cornerback Josh Wallace.

Wallace, a transfer from UMass, was a crucial addition to an already robust Michigan secondary. With Rod Moore, Makari Paige, Mike Sanristil, and Will Johnson already forming a formidable secondary, Wallace’s role was pivotal in completing this lineup. His journey wasn’t smooth, facing initial challenges, but his late-season surge, especially in high-pressure games, proved his worth.

In the Rose Bowl, Michigan’s defense, particularly the secondary, played a vital role. The defensive line’s pressure on Alabama’s quarterback, Jalen Milroe, was evident with six sacks. Yet, it was the secondary’s coverage, highlighted by Wallace’s play, that truly disrupted Alabama’s game plan. Wallace’s presence in the right place at the right time was a consistent theme throughout the game.

Two moments define Wallace’s impact. First, with Alabama leading and pushing to extend their lead, Milroe fumbled. It was Wallace who secured the ball for Michigan, preventing a potential game-changing score. Then, in the climactic moments of overtime, Wallace showcased his skill and physicality. He stopped an Alabama receiver just short of the end zone, a play that was instrumental in preventing a double overtime and setting up Michigan’s win.

Wallace’s excellence isn’t just anecdotal. According to Pro Football Focus, he was the second-highest graded Wolverine in the game, trailing only defensive tackle Mason Graham. This statistic speaks volumes about his contribution to the generational victory for the Wolverines.

His won’t be the face you see on billboards or magazine covers, but Josh Wallace’s role in Michigan’s Rose Bowl victory cannot be overstated. His performance was a testament to his skill, resilience, and critical importance to the team’s success. As Michigan celebrates this historic win, Wallace’s contribution deserves recognition and praise, marking him as a key player in one of the most significant victories in the history of Michigan Football.

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