Jim Harbaugh has completed five seasons in charge of the Michigan Wolverines with consistent but not exciting results. He has amassed a .723 winning percentage with each year ending between eight and 10 wins. Though the maize and blue faithful may be hoping for something more, this is not the time to dwell on the negatives!
With plenty of time to kill during the offseason, join us as we review each of Harbaugh’s 47 wins as head coach of the Michigan Wolverines. While the losses do exist — and are often more memorable than the victories, unfortunately — they are not very fun to relive so I am skipping them because this is supposed to be a happy exercise!
Setting the stage: 2-1 (0-0 B1G)
A pair of wins at home helped Michigan bounce back, but a visit from No. 22 BYU was going to be a real test. For some reason the 2015 schedule started with four west coast-ish teams in a row, and unsurprisingly the results in Ann Arbor were much more favorable. However, no one was really expecting the 31-0 beatdown that the Wolverines gave BYU.
1. This game is remembered by most Michigan fans for two outstanding individual efforts. The first was by Amara Darboh, who made a ridiculous one-handed grab above/behind his head that still to this day does not get enough love. The second is a 60-yard rumble by De’Veon Smith who somehow charged through around 17 bodies (yes, I counted) before disrespectfully throwing a BYU defensive back to the ground.
2. The game was actually won, though, by the defense, who had an impressive start to the season. The Cougars were the latest team to struggle to get anything going on offense, gaining just 105 total yards of offense. All day long the Wolverines were in the backfield, racking up six TFLs and allowing just four of 15 third down conversions. While Michigan did not record a turnover, the defense was impactful in other ways, including rushed throws and a bobbled exchange due to all of the pressure.
3. Jake Rudock was still figuring everything out, but looked better against BYU than in previous weeks. He completed (at that point) a season-long 41-yard pass to Jake Butt and hit on a few key throws to Darboh to keep the offense moving. While his arm was again not perfect, he started to do more with his feet, keeping the ball a number of times and actually finding the end zone twice on the ground. His mobility helped offset some of his struggles in the passing game.
While the defense as a whole probably deserves the game ball, Smith once again looked like an unstoppable force. He averaged 7.8 yards a carry to give him 125 yards on the day and perfectly personified what Harbaugh looks for in a power run game. The offensive line should get a lot of credit as well, as they absolutely mashed a ranked Cougars team who looked helpless for most of the afternoon.