As could be expected from a 45-23 blowout victory over Ohio State, Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh had nothing but love and praise for his team in his postgame press conference.
While many people outside the program had hesitations about whether this year’s Wolverine squad could go into Columbus and get the win, it’s clear Harbaugh had nothing but belief in his guys to finish the job.
“So proud of them, couldn’t be more proud,” Harbaugh said. “I knew the team was focused and determined all season, and this was a locker room of heroes. We talked about that last night — how we don’t need one or two heroes but a whole team of ‘em. This was a great team win.”
The backbone of Saturday’s victory came from a rather unexpected source; explosive chunk plays. Leading up to Ohio State, the Wolverines had only racked up a handful of plays of more than 50 yards, the majority coming in the non-conference schedule.
In contrast, Saturday was downright atomic for Michigan, with four plays of more than 50 yards and three of them going for 75-plus.
“We knew that we could make those kinds of plays, and (Cornelius Johnson) really got us started,” Harbaugh said. “We never got away from the running game — one good thing about the running game is it can wear on you, and it’s usually better as the game goes on. I love Donovan Edwards, man. When he gets free you don’t even think about it, it’s just gonna be a touchdown.”
While there was more than a dozen Wolverines you can point to as making an impact, much of the focus entering the game was centered around whether quarterback J.J McCarthy could be one of them.
Despite a rocky 3-for-10 start passing, McCarthy didn’t allow the raucous Ohio Stadium crowd to shatter his confidence. Once he dialed in, McCarthy was lights out, notching three touchdowns through the air and running for another.
It was a gutsy performance to be sure, but one that Harbaugh knew McCarthy had in him.
“I’ve always said he’s got it, he’s got that it factor in every way,” Harbaugh said. “I don’t think there’s been any first-year starter in history of Michigan that’s won 12 games, gone 12-0, and in their first game against Ohio State at Ohio State played that great.”
By virtue of the win on Saturday, this season isn’t remotely close to over. Even with that being the case, though, it’s clear this game will be one Harbaugh remembers with a great amount of fondness for a long, long time.