Last Saturday was a big day for Michigan football.
After the Wolverines clobbered Rutgers 49-16, Michigan State lost to Nebraska by giving up 12 points in the final four minutes to lose 39-38. The Spartans’ late-game woes gives Michigan a foreseeable path to the Big Ten Championships, as long as Ohio State beats Michigan State in the Horseshoe and Michigan wins out and bests the Buckeyes.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh took the podium on Monday for his weekly press conference to discuss the weekend’s developments and the upcoming game in Indiana.
"I’m sure (my players) are aware of (Big Ten Championship scenarios)," Harbaugh said. "If not, we’ll make them aware of it."
The Wolverines will next be tasked with trying to contain Indiana’s offense, which has lost the past five games, but it typically high-scoring and kept it close against Iowa and Ohio State.
"That will be the case this week, next week and the week after," Harbaugh said. "We play the top three rated quarterbacks in the conference. It will be a great challenge. (Indiana) is dangerous. They have a chance to win every time they take the field."
After tight end Jake Butt was flagged for intent to deceive, Harbaugh made it clear that he wasn’t happy with the call.
"(The officials) said it wasn’t intent to deceive, but it was intent to confuse," Harbaugh said. "It was their own language that the official used. I take the rules very seriously. The language that they used is offensive because we take it very seriously, what to teach our players."
Though Harbaugh is unhappy with the call, he’s not putting all blame on the officials and said that he has "great respect for the rules," but also "the people who officiate the game."
Running back De’Veon Smith led the Wolverines on the ground with 73 yards on 13 carries, a considerable improvement on his performance in Minnesota where he ran for just 15 yards.
"I think he was feeling better this game," Harbaugh said. "He had some more De’Veon-like runs. He did an exceptional job in the screen game. He’s very reliable as a blocker as well. … He’s very good in all three of those phases."
Harbaugh also saw a noticeable jump in quarterback Jake Rudock’s performance. Rudock threw for a career-high 337 passing yards and had three total touchdowns.
"It was nice to see Jake Rudock," Harbuagh said. "He’s up there with the big guys. I really felt like watching this game that Jake played his best quarterback. He looked like an NFL-type quarterback. Someone who would have a future playing in that league."
Harbaugh continued on to compare his eye for future NFL quarterbacks to that of bird watchers who can tell what species a bird is. With the experience Harbaugh has under his belt, it’s safe to say he has a knack for spotting talent.
"(Coaching in the NFL and college) are both great," he said. "What’s been tremendous here, you’ve got it all. I love football, I love the University of Michigan and I love coaching. I get to do all three of those."
Notes: Harbaugh doesn’t have an update on Ryan Glasgow’s shoulder injury. He’s also not sure about getting Mario Ojemudia an extra year, saying, "It’s a process."