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 (2-2 B1G)
A depressing loss in Happy Valley set the Wolverines back to .500 in conference play with a pessimistic outlook. John O’Korn was just not working out at quarterback, and while the defense was holding down the fort, top-five Penn State put up 42 points in a rout. Back home, No. 25 Michigan had a chance to right the ship against lowly Rutgers, but it took a switch in personnel to get to a 35-14 win.
1. O’Korn was in a tough spot coming in for Wilton Speight, the quarterback he lost the starting battle against. After a pretty solid effort in relief against Purdue, it became clear that the transfer was just not up to the task, putting up multiple subpar performances. Against Rutgers it was more of the same, with O’Korn starting 3-for-6 with a pick and two bobbled snaps that he was lucky to recover. At 7-7 midway through the second quarter, Harbaugh decided enough was enough and yanked him from the game.
2. In came Brandon Peters, technically the third quarterback on the depth chart, but a player receiving a lot of interest from the fan base. The redshirt sophomore entered the game and immediately led Michigan on a touchdown drive and followed that up with a two-minute drill on the next possession to give the Wolverines a 14-point halftime lead. Peters was not perfect, but he gave Michigan a much better chance than O’Korn did, as evidenced over the next month of play.
3. While Peters helped spark the Wolverines, it was really the running game that again powered the offense. Karan Higdon had another huge day, posting 158 rushing yards and two scores and again breaking off a long run, this time for 49 yards. Ty Isaac was right behind him with 109 yards of his own, as the running attack led the way with the defense enjoying a nice bounce-back outing.
Peters finished with a 10-for-14 passing line with 124 yards and a score. He made some solid throws in the intermediate area and looked like a freshman — both good and bad — throwing the ball into some tight windows. Entering against Rutgers is probably the best way to make a debut, but Peters proved that he was the most worthy choice to take over at quarterback. He probably was never going to be the outright starter in the future, but he showed that he was more than capable of replacing O’Korn.