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: 5-2 (3-2 B1G)
A loss in Happy Valley put a dampener on Michigan’s season, but Notre Dame’s final visit to Ann Arbor for the next decade left little time for moping. The rain fell heavily all night, and the towels started pelting down as well, as Harbaugh and the No. 19 Wolverines made a huge statement over the No. 8 Fighting Irish, 45-14 in prime time.
1. The offense starts and ends with the run game, and in a rainy environment it becomes even more important to win on the ground. Michigan did that behind its two-headed force, as Hassan Haskins and Zach Charbonnet combined for over 200 over the team’s 303 rushing yards. Charbonnet scored twice in the second quarter to put the home team up 17-0 nothing, which proved to be enough on its own.
2. Notre Dame would have liked to control the game on the ground as well, but it did not quite work out the same. The Wolverine defense was unrelenting and allowed just 47 rushing yards for the game. The Irish were no more effective through the air, as quarterback Ian Book went just 8-for-25 and a touchdown that never should have happened. An interception was taken away by a phantom pass interference call, keeping the drive alive and allowing the Irish to get on the board. This began the deluge of soaked rally towels hailing down from the student section for the remainder of the contest.
3. Games like this are not meant for aerial attacks, but Shea Patterson did enough in the tough conditions. Both Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins brought in good-looking touchdowns, and even Dylan McCaffrey racked up a passing score, connecting with Mike Sainristil who weaved his way into the end zone. This one was truly lopsided.
While Charbonnet got the touchdowns, it was Haskins who kept the offense moving forward. Michigan gave him 20 carries and he made the most of them, posting a career high 149 rushing yards while hurdling defenders and breaking through tackles. The Wolverines showed no hesitation in feeding him the ball in tough conditions and he responded in stride, bouncing off defenders and keeping the chains moving.