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: 7-2 (4-2 B1G)
Had Brandon Peters stayed healthy, it is possible Michigan’s 2017 season would have ended much differently. Maybe the final two regular season games still end in defeat, but it is hard to imagine the chances of winning not jumping up by a decent margin. That is not what happened, though, and a 35-10 win against Maryland would be the final victory for the Wolverines of a very forgettable year.
1. This game was kind of boring, which I guess is a good thing for Michigan. A 14-0 lead in the second quarter quickly ballooned to 28-0 after a failed fake punt and a blocked punt on consecutive possessions, and the Wolverines coasted for the whole second half. There was a lot of garbage time and therefore some unrepresentative stats, but make no mistake about it, the game was completely one-sided.
2. Peters was not asked to do too much, but he did his part in his second career start. After the failed fake punt attempt, the Wolverines took over in plus territory and struck on a perfect pass to Zach Gentry for a 33-yard score. On the next drive, Michigan again had quality field position and soon found the end zone on Peters’s second touchdown of the day, this time to Sean McKeon.
3. The defense continued to make itself known, keeping Maryland without a touchdown until the fourth quarter when the game was already decided. The Wolverines rallied for eight tackles for loss and came up with a couple nice interceptions from David Long and Khaleke Hudson, as well as the blocked punt by the special teams unit. The Terrapins may not have been the most intimidating opponent, but it was yet another dominant performance from the Michigan defense.
The Wolverines really did not need to do too much on offense thanks to quality field position and an inept Maryland attack, but Chris Evans still had a solid day on the ground. On just 15 carries the running back notched 80 yards, plus 29 through the air, and found the end zone twice, to give him six on the year. The Michigan rushers — and offensive line, accordingly — had a quality season and helped outweigh some of the insufficiencies and inexperience at quarterback. The team ultimately felt short of its goals, but still looked good on the ground for much of 2017.