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Harbaugh History: Win No. 39 vs. Middle Tennessee State (2019)

Year Five began with a win under the lights at home.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: AUG 31 Middle Tennessee at Michigan Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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: 0-0 (0-0 B1G)

The Wolverines lost some talent but yet again had high hopes heading into the new season. Expectations were rising for Shea Patterson, who was entering with a year’s worth of experience under his belt. The first game was perhaps the perfect representation of how the season would play out: some great moments but plenty of questionable ones as well, as No. 7 Michigan put together a 40-21 win against Middle Tennessee.

Three takeaways

1. The very first play of the game featured Patterson running for a first down and then fumbling. On a metaphoric level, this summed up fan’s feelings about the senior quarterback precisely. But from a more tangible angle, it is very possible that the hit that delivered this fumble affected the quarterback all year long and subsequently lowered his ceiling.

2. Still, Patterson did end with three touchdowns to spark some optimism. Tarik Black made his way back to the end zone on a deep shot for the Wolverines’ first touchdown, and Nico Collins and Sean McKeon joined in later on. There were some weird multi-quarterback sets that predictably accomplished nothing, but Dylan McCaffrey looked decent in backup duty, finding the end zone on the ground.

3. The defense looked like it was adjusting to the players it lost to the NFL and was a little shaky at times. The Blue Raiders put up over 300 yards of offense and scored a couple of times on bad missed tackles. Of course, the Patterson fumble and a Lavert Hill muffed punt gave the visitors the field position they needed to get into the end zone, so not everything can be placed on the defense.

Standout performer

Though he did not find the end zone, this was a great introduction for Zach Charbonnet. With Karan Higdon gone and Chris Evans not with the team, the true freshman received the first handoff and looked the part of the lead running back, bulldozing opponents on his way to 90 yards on just eight carries, including a 41-yard run through the middle of the defense.