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: 4-1 (2-0 B1G)
Some early shortcomings by the defense masked what ended up being a pretty strong performance against Northwestern. The same might be said against the next opponent Maryland. Michigan gave up a first quarter punt return and took until late in the first half to build a double-digit lead, but overall this game was always in control, as the No. 15 Wolverines beat the Terrapins 42-21.
1. Michigan took some time to find its grove on offense and eventually did so through the air. Zach Gentry was finding mismatches all day at the tight end position, and the big target brought in seven catches for 112 yards to lead the way. Nico Collins hauled in a classic deep shot for 51 yards to set up the first touchdown, and Ronnie Bell and Donovan Peoples-Jones each found their way into the end zone to pad the lead.
2. The Wolverine backfield was not left out of the fun, with Karan Higdon yet again surpassing 100 yards to lead the running backs. However, the fullbacks were just as involved, with Ben Mason scoring the first Michigan touchdown and Jared Wangler later hauling in a receiving score. Everything seemed to be working for the home team, who put up 465 yards of total offense.
3. Maryland did not score its first offensive touchdown until the fourth quarter, which only cut the deficit to 13. While the Michigan offense had a slow start and the kickoff unit gave up a return touchdown, the defense was not allowing anything easy. Over half of the Terrapin’s 220 yards came in garbage time, and there were very few moments of real danger. The Wolverines capped off the game with a 46-yard Brandon Watson pick six.
This was Shea Patterson’s day. A 19-for-27 effort was good for 282 yards and three scores, and though he did throw a pick early, the quarterback settled in nicely and picked apart the Maryland defense, letting his receivers find open field and then getting them the ball. While he did not need to rush as much as the previous week, Patterson again used his feet to avoid the pass rush and keep plays alive.