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Harbaugh History: Win No. 2 vs. UNLV (2015)

The Wolverines ran all over an overmatched Rebels squad.

UNLV v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

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: 1-1 (0-0 B1G)

After dropping the season opener against Utah, Michigan came home and earned a nice win over Oregon State, doing so with suffocating defense and tough running. This is exactly the Harbaugh blueprint of how to win, fullback usage and all, and was surely the game plan against the visiting UNLV Rebels in Week 3, cruising to a 28-7 victory.

Three takeaways

1. Jake Rudock continued to struggle, accounting for just 123 yards and again throwing an interception. The Michigan ground game was taking care of business, which might have led the offense to rely less on the passing attack, but it is hard to ignore the quarterback’s inaccuracies, including a wide open miss in the end zone. Rudock looked fine in the short areas, but was generally limited overall.

2. Accordingly, it seemed like the Wolverines were determined to get the receivers involved in other ways. Amara Darboh took the ball on a reverse early in the second quarter, and the very next play featured a Jehu Chesson end around that went 36 yards for a score, making it 14-0 Michigan. Maybe this was just some offensive creativity, but it seems awfully coincidental that the Wolverines would use these types of plays while Rudock was also having trouble hitting his receivers.

3. Once again, the defense was nothing short of dominant. The defensive line was especially disruptive, logging a pair of sacks, keeping UNLV under 100 rushing yards, and ultimately forcing a couple of interceptions. A fourth quarter touchdown ended a shutout streak of over six quarters; as we know, though, another streak was about to begin.

Standout performer

Another week, another running back. This looked like it could be Ty Isaac’s breakout game, as the transfer logged 114 yards and a touchdown on just eight carries. He had done next to nothing in his first two games as a Michigan Wolverine, but his 76-yard score showed his burst and his potential. Ultimately, this was the high-water mark for Isaac in 2015, but he did get a nice start to his maize and blue career.

Highlights