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Harbaugh History: Win No. 29 vs. Western Michigan (2018)

Michigan rebounds after season opener with a big win at home.

NCAA Football: Western Michigan 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: 0-1 (0-0 B1G)

The 2018 season did not begin as hoped, as Michigan dropped a rivalry game at Notre Dame with the offense sputtering and mixed results from transfer quarterback Shea Patterson. Aspirations were still high for the year, though, and the No. 21 Wolverines had an opportunity to reset against Western Michigan, dominating 49-3 in the home opener.

Three takeaways

1. Patterson was much better, albeit against weaker competition, and he was able to connect with his two best weapons. A 44-yard bomb to Nico Collins gave fans exactly what they were looking for, leveraging the huge target downfield against lesser defenders. Later, Patterson hit Donovan Peoples-Jones on a perfect throw towards the corner of the end zone with the sophomore receiver hauling in one of his four catches on the day.

2. The dynamic duo of running backs was at it again, which was encouraging after being somewhat limited by the Irish. Karan Higdon broke a 67-yard run to put Michigan up 14-0 early on and he finished with 156 yards. Meanwhile Chris Evans was fairly involved as well, chipping in 86 rushing yards of his own and finding pay dirt twice in the onslaught.

3. The Broncos ended with 208 yards of offense, much of those occurring in garbage time. The Wolverines led big throughout the game and lost the shutout with just three minutes to go in the fourth quarter. Everyone chipped in and especially shut down the passing game, allowing just 2.5 yards per attempt. Linebacker Noah Furbush snagged a pick to set up Michigan’s third touchdown of the first quarter, and a blocked punt by Khaleke Hudson on Western’s next possession effectively ended the game.

Standout performer

This was not the type of game that required much from the Michigan offense, but Patterson settled in and gave the fan base a little bit of confidence. The junior went 12-for-17 with three scores and averaged 7.4 yards per attempt on a fairly clean game. The numbers were not eye-popping, but after a tough loss to start the year, it was important for Patterson to brush that off and deliver a solid outing.