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: 2-0 (0-0 B1G)
After two not-so-competitive victories, Michigan finally welcomed a Power-5 opponent to the Big House. Colorado struck early and often, leading by 14 after the first quarter, but it was all Wolverines the rest of the way. It probably was good to face a somewhat decent opponent before starting Big Ten play, and a 45-28 win by No. 4 Michigan capped off a nice start to the season.
1. Another game, another wrecking of the opposing school’s special teams unit. Michigan got its first score on a blocked punt recovery and this shook the Colorado punter so much that a later attempt went straight into the back of an offensive lineman. When a punt did get off, the results were almost just as bad for the Buffaloes — more on that later.
2. This was not a perfect game by the Wolverines, and it was a little dicey early on. Dymonte Thomas allowed two first quarter touchdowns in coverage, and a scoop-and-score on a strip sack of Wilton Speight put Colorado ahead 21-7 in the first quarter. Quarterback Sefo Liufau had an impressive afternoon with 246 yards and three scores, but an injury caused him to leave the game in the second half.
3. Two similar scores helped turn the tide for Michigan. Down 21-17 with under a minute in the first half, Amara Darboh took a screen near midfield and danced between the Colorado defenders and down the near sideline to enter the break with the lead. After a quick strike by the visitors to open the third quarter, De’Veon Smith received a pitch close to where Darboh got the ball and almost followed his same route into the end zone, giving the Wolverines a lead they would never let go of.
As mentioned above, the punt defense unit was not the only dominant area of special teams. Jabrill Peppers finally found the end zone on a punt return, and he tallied 180 total return yards on the day. Peppers was all over the place in other areas of the game as well, notching 3.5 TFLs and adding 24 yards as a ball carrier. The hype was already growing for the all-around weapon, but this game really made it take off.