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: 5-2 (2-1 B1G)
So yea, Michigan was on a three-game shutout hot streak and then lost a game. Everyone knows what happened: the Wolverines were the better team for 59 minutes and gave the game away at the very end. Whether or not Michigan State deserved to win the game is irrelevant; it was a heart-breaking loss and not the last of its kind under Harbaugh. The No. 15 Wolverines had a bye week to stew on it and came out the other side with a 29-26 win over Minnesota that came down to the wire.
1. Most fans remember this game for the crazy last two plays, where the Gophers decided to go for the win down three with 20 seconds left from the 1-yard line and were stopped both by the Michigan defense and their own confusion with the clock winding down. However, the only reason the Wolverines were even up three was because of backup quarterback Wilton Speight, who had to enter the game late in the third quarter after a Jake Rudock injury. The freshman entered the game 0-for-4 on the year but made a couple huge passes, including a third-and-10 touchdown with five minutes to go and the ensuing two-point attempt. Speight had only completed three passes on the afternoon, but without them the Wolverines would not have come out ahead.
2. That go-ahead touchdown went to Jehu Chesson, who continued to expand his role in the offense. He scored earlier in the game as well for his first receiving touchdown of the season, giving him four total scores on the year by the end of the night. He added some yards on the ground yet again on an end around. Along with Amara Darboh and Jake Butt, Michigan had a lethal trio of weapons; however, the quarterback play was unable to fully unlock them yet. Sound familiar?
3. This was not a great effort by the defense. The early season dominance was long gone, and after giving up 386 total yards to the Spartans, Michigan gave up 461 yards against the Gophers. Far too many times a Minnesota receiver was able to beat his man, and three different pass catchers notched receptions of 35+ yards. Quarterback Mitch Leidner was also very active on the ground and had multiple first-down scrambles, as well as a 24-yard score.
Maybe it was not a true breakout game for Jabrill Peppers, but it was a perfect showcase of what he could do. As a returner he took a kickoff back 43 yards and later returned a punt for 41. He scored a touchdown out of the wildcat, and he logged three tackles and a couple pass breakups on defense. Peppers made an impact in all three phases against Minnesota and gave a glimpse of the type of weapon he could be.