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: 2-1 (0-1 B1G)
There were warning signs after the first two weeks of the season, but few expected Michigan to travel to Wisconsin and get absolutely manhandled. That is how it played out, though, and the team was sent back to square one. A visit from Rutgers helped right the ship, as the No. 20 Wolverines cruised to a 52-0 blowout.
1. There is nothing like the Scarlet Knights to help get things back on track. The offense had its way however it wanted, posting 335 yards in the air and 141 yards on the ground and putting up points on five of the first six drives. All three of Zach Charbonnet, Christian Turner, and Hassan Haskins averaged at least 4.4 yards per carry, and seven different receivers had a catch of over 20 yards.
2. The defense was locked in from the start as well. Rutgers managed just 152 total yards despite giving plenty of time to the backups and reached Michigan territory just once. Kwity Paye led the way with 3.5 TFL while Daxton Hill made his presence known with a violent hit on special teams to lay out the punt returner. The Wolverines were in the backfield all game long and essentially turned the Knights’ passing game into dump-offs or throwaways.
3. Games like these are always a good opportunity to give the younger players a chance to shine. Turner led the backfield with 11 carries to spell Charbonnet, and he found the end zone shortly after halftime to make it 31-0. With Dylan McCaffrey out injured, Joe Milton was the backup quarterback and looked impressive, rushing for a score on a bootleg and then throwing a dart to Giles Jackson for his first passing touchdown.
The competition was subpar, but this was the best Shea Patterson looked in September. The senior was an excellent 17-for-23 for 276 and a touchdown to Nico Collins to open up the scoring. As important were his four carries, three of which found the end zone. Patterson had shown some hesitation to use his feet up to this point, but was aggressive in charging in for the score when given a window.