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Harbaugh History: Win No. 22 vs. Cincinnati (2017)

The Wolverines win sloppily back in Ann Arbor.

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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: 1-0 (0-0 B1G)

After handling Florida on a national stage in the season opener, Michigan returned home and entered into the top 10 in the polls. Up next was a visit from an unimpressive Cincinnati squad who came in as big underdogs. It may not have ended close on the scoreboard, but the No. 8 Wolverines created more doubt than positivity during a 36-14 win over the Bearcats.

Three takeaways

1. Though the Wolverines won by a decent margin, this game never turned into the blowout it should have been. Mistakes and lack of execution kept it to just a 10-point lead entering the fourth quarter, and Michigan failed to capitalize despite a big talent gap. Cincinnati first got on the board following a Wolverines turnover on a punt return. Wilton Speight recorded a couple fumbles on exchanges — losing one — and missed on a few open throws as well.

2. Despite his mishaps, Speight still had a good day in the air, throwing for over 200 yards with a pair of scores and no picks. His first touchdown came on a bomb to Kekoa Crawford, who hauled in the 43-yard pass to give Michigan the early lead. Later in the game it was a nice catch and run by Grant Perry to give the Wolverines a double-digit cushion. Ty Isaac did not score, but he again had a big game with 133 yards, including a long 53-yard run down the sideline.

3. The special teams turnover gave the Bearcats a short field for their first touchdown, and outside of a lackadaisical scoring drive to open the second half, the Michigan defense did its part to win the game. Cincinnati did manage a few long plays, but overall was unable to sustain many drives, tallying exactly 200 yards. Two pick sixes and a snap past the punter resulting in a safety gave the Wolverines defensive units more points than they allowed themselves.

Standout performer

With the offense doing less than it should have, the Michigan secondary was able to pick up the slack. Tyree Kinnel picked off a high pass and ran it back to the house for an early 14-0 lead that looked like it might be the start of an onslaught. As this was clearly not the case, Lavert Hill sealed the deal with a later 24-yard interception return through traffic to score his first touchdown and mercifully end the game.

Highlights