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: 9-3 (6-2 B1G)
While the season came to a disappointing end, Michigan still earned a spot in a reputable bowl game with a chance to reach double-digit wins. It was clear that Harbaugh took this game seriously, as the Wolverines annihilated No. 19 Florida 41-7 in the Citrus Bowl, closing the book on a decent first year in Ann Arbor.
1. Though De’Veon Smith rumbled to 109 yards, it was Drake Johnson who really stole the show out of the backfield. The shifty running back tallied 58 yards on the ground for a score and also added a nice receiving touchdown on a screen. Fullback Sione Houma found the end zone as well, as Florida had no way to stop the Michigan run game.
2. The Gators also had plenty of problems on offense, generating under 300 yards on the day. Quarterback Treon Harris was an awful 8-for-21 with no touchdowns and an interception, and the Wolverines obliterated both a fake field goal and a fake punt. The defense combined for six tackles for loss and provided constant pressure all game.
3. As he did so many times throughout 2015, Jehu Chesson kept making big plays. The receiver nabbed five balls for 118 yards and a touchdown, often doing a ton of work after the catch. He absolutely humiliated corner Vernon Hargreaves, who would become a top-15 pick a couple of months later. Michigan had a solid trio of pass catchers, but it was often Chesson who was the difference maker.
Farewell, Jake Rudock. The first eight games of 2015 were simply not that good, as the grad transfer threw more interceptions (7) than touchdowns (6) and averaged just 180 passing yards per game. He left the Minnesota game injured, but upon return the next week he started a blazing hot streak to close out the year. Over the final five games, Rudock averaged 315 yards while raising his completion percentage up from 61.2 percent to 66.9 percent, and he threw 14 touchdowns compared to just two interceptions. Many postulated that Harbaugh kept him in the whole Citrus Bowl to help boost his draft stock, and it may have worked; a 278-yard, three-touchdown performance to end his collegiate career led to Rudock becoming a sixth-round pick.