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: 1-1 (0-0 B1G)
Michigan responded to a dropped season opener with a blowout win against a non-conference foe at home and looked to make it two in a row against SMU. The dominance was not there throughout the whole game, but by the time it was all said and done, it was a decent enough win at this point of the season. There would be better games ahead for the No. 19 Wolverines, but it is hard to complain too much about a 45-20 victory.
1. Shea Patterson was one throw away from a superb game. The transfer quarterback stared down his target on the goal line and was picked off to keep the game 0-0 at the end of the first quarter, but he looked pretty sharp for the remainder of the contest. On multiple occasions Patterson used his feet to keep the play alive, and he wound up throwing for 237 yards and three scores. There was still room for improvement, but those numbers are good enough to win most games.
2. The Mustangs stayed closer than most would have expected thanks to a slow start by the Michigan offense and a few big busts on defense. James Proche made a pair of nice touchdown grabs, and while the final score was not that close, it never really became a runaway. The big turning point was at the end of the first half: down seven and driving, SMU threw a pick with just seconds remaining that Josh Metellus returned 73 yards to give the Wolverines a 21-7 lead and a little breathing room.
3. On the whole, the defense was up to the task. Chase Winovich, Carlo Kemp, and Bryan Mone each recorded two sacks, and the SMU running game could not get anything going consistently. There were a few longer drives, but the Wolverines were able to limit the number of touchdowns to keep a hold on the lead. This game felt frustrating at times to watch, but overall it was a good enough win.
The big winner was Donovan Peoples-Jones who caught three touchdowns on the day to go with his 90 receiving yards. The scores came in a variety of forms: a wide open catch and run for 35 yards out, a perfectly thrown back shoulder pass at the front pylon, and a textbook deep ball for 41 yards at the end of the third quarter to effectively kill off the game.