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: 8-2 (5-1 B1G)
Michigan was unlikely to win the East Division despite only having one conference loss up to this point, and obviously things did not play out favorably. However, the fact that Harbaugh had the team in the hunt in his first season was truly impressive. The Wolverines entered Happy Valley riding a hot offense, and No. 12 Michigan fought its way to a 28-16 victory over Penn State in an afternoon white out.
1. After a shootout the week prior, the defense had a nice bounce back game against Penn State. The defensive line made its presence known, as Chris Wormley, Taco Charlton, and Willie Henry were in the backfield all game. The trio combined for four sacks and more than once quarterback Christian Hackenberg was hit hard and came up a little shaken. Jourdan Lewis had a solid game as well, chipping in with a pass breakup as well as over 100 return yards, including a 55-yard kickoff return.
2. It was a bit more up-and-down for Jabrill Peppers, who was responsible for a 25-yard passing touchdown that gave the Nittany Lions the lead and was later flagged for pass interference. However, he made up for his mistakes with three pass breakups — including a couple in the red zone — and five carries on offense to round out his day.
3. Jake Rudock was fine, passing for 256 yards and two scores, numbers that he could not seem to hurdle during the first half of the season. He did suffer from an interception and a fumbled snap, though, and this was not a dominant performance from the Wolverines. With the passing game working, De’Veon Smith was relied upon less down the stretch, but he did find the end zone against Penn State to ice the game.
Michigan’s trio of weapons all showed up against the Nittany Lions. Amara Darboh (68 yards) and Jake Butt (66 yards) both found the end zone, while Jehu Chesson (69 yards) was involved all over the place. Chesson jumped on a muffed punt inside the 10-yard line which helped the Wolverines build a cushion in the third quarter, and he later took one of his famous end arounds 20 yards to get into the red zone as the game was winding down.