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: 9-1 (7-0 B1G)
The 2018 season was shaped like a hill: rough on the ends with a high peak in the middle. Plenty could have gone better, but it was still a solid year overall featuring 10 wins in a row and three victories over ranked opponents. Like in 2016 (and would happen in 2019 as well), the last win of the year came against Indiana. The Hoosiers actually held the lead at halftime, but No. 4 Michigan did enough to earn a 31-20 win.
1. It was not a clean game by the Wolverines as so often is the case against the Hoosiers. Some missed throws by Shea Patterson led to field goals instead of touchdowns, and Michigan was not up by double digits until the end of the game. It was not a clean game by the Hoosiers in a different manner, as multiple cheap shots and dirty plays were made by the visitors, which can happen when a team has not beaten an opponent since 1987.
2. Patterson had just one touchdown, and he also threw a pick to go with 250 passing yards. His touchdown was to Nick Eubanks, who along with Karan Higdon were the only Wolverines to reach the end zone. It could have been a much better day for Patterson with a little more accuracy, but instead it remained a frustrating affair. He did add 68 yards on the ground to go with Higdon’s 101, but too many drives ended up stalling out.
3. The defense allowed almost 385 yards and could not really keep Indiana off balance to start the game. However, after allowing 17 first half points, the Wolverines adjusted and surrendered just a late field goal once the game was more or less decided. Devin Bush stood out most and blew up a fake punt attempt early in the fourth quarter with the Hoosiers driving to tie the game.
It is not a great sign when the kicker has the edge for player of the game, but Jake Moody came up big in a surprise start. Six different times the Wolverines were stopped short of the end zone, and each time Moody put it through the uprights. These were his first attempts of his career and would put him in a competition for the role heading into the next season.