0-5 no more! The Michigan Wolverines football team dominates Ohio State

It is a long standing no-no to talk trash leading up to “The Game.” The Michigan Wolverines and Ohio State Buckeyes, the golden game for college football and sports in general. The week leading up to the showdown that pitted the number two team (Ohio State) in the country against the number five team (Michigan) players did not talk trash. That had already been done months earlier by Ohio State head coach Ryan Day who said he was going to “hang 100 on them.”

ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN – NOVEMBER 27: Hassan Haskins #25 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates with teammates after his touchdown against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the second quarter at Michigan Stadium on November 27, 2021 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)

Jim Harbaugh and his Michigan football team did not forget the words of the schools most hated rival’s head coach. They used it as ammunition and a means to bring total focus. What happened yesterday in Ann Arbor was nothing short of dominate.

I have been saying since Ohio State’s first game the teams defense was not that good. Sure they beat up on teams they should have and gave the illusion they fixed some of the defensive woes. On a snowy afternoon at Michigan Stadium, that defense was exploited.

Michigan’s offensive line thrashed the Buckeye defense and the Michigan’s running game not only set the tone but inflected it’s will. Hassan Haskins lead the ground attack with 28 carries for 169 yards and five, yes five touchdowns the first running back to ever score five time against Ohio State.

Fans have been waiting for this brand of Jim Harbaugh football at Michigan. He built Stanford into a power football team years ago. Make no mistake Harbaugh was never in danger of losing his job. Those rumors came from outside the state of Michigan.

STATE COLLEGE, PA – NOVEMBER 13: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines looks on during the first half of the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium on November 13, 2021 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Harbaugh revamped his coaching staff and transformed his program in one offseason. Sure he is now 1-5 against Ohio State, but now he has the Wolverines going in the right direction and the rest of the Big Ten knows it.

If you want to know what Jim Harbaugh thinks of Buckeye head coach Ryan Day, he took a swipe at him during the post game interview. Speaking about Day, who took over for Urban Meyer, “Sometimes people that are standing on third base think they hit a triple, but they didn’t.”

Next Saturday night the Michigan Wolverines will faceoff against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Championship Game.

 

Jim Harbaugh shook up his coaching staff the the Michigan Wolverines land a top 10 recruiting class

To say the 2020 Michigan Wolverines football season was lackluster is to say water is wet. Yet, head Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh was given an extension, after he signed the deal he promptly let some coach’s go. Perhaps that was part of his new contract. No matter, the Michigan Wolverines have a very good class headed to Ann Arbor in 2021. Could this be the turning of the corner Michigan has needed since they brought Harbaugh in as head coach?

The recruiting side of Jim Harbaugh has always been met by critics. Has Harbaugh lacked consistency recruiting? Yes! There is no two ways about it. One of his biggest downfalls has been he has let in-state talent leave. For other Big 10 schools. Including rivals Michigan State and Ohio State.

The University of Michigan Wolverines football team enter the field during the NCAA Division I-A Big 8 college football game against the University of Colorado Buffaloes on 24th September 1994 at the Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States. The Colorado Buffaloes won the game 27 – 26. (Photo by Brian Masck/Getty Images)

The recently shook up Michigan Wolverines coaching staff took to the recruiting trail and it paid off. Landing a top 10 incoming class with new coach’s is not easy. Yet, that is what happened. Many in-state talent was kept in-state and will be heading to Ann Arbor.

Recently as well Jim Harbaugh said that many fans and members of the media mentioned that the old Harbaugh was what has been missing. You know the one. The guy with chewing tobacco in his lip, pacing the sideline waiting at the go to rip an official or throw a clipboard when a call goes against his team. Harbaugh has vowed, the old Harbaugh is back!

This recruiting season, things were different for the Michigan football program. There was actually focus and a game plan for getting players to sign with the Wolverines.

While the official signing period is not over and there is time for Jim Harbaugh and the Wolverines to add more talent, a return to the top 10 in recruiting is a welcome sight. This will need to become the new “norm” if Michigan is to catch Ohio State.

MADISON, WI – NOVEMBER 18: General view as a Michigan Wolverines helmet is held in the air during a game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on November 18, 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin. Wisconsin won 24-10. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***

The hope is that this is a launching  point that will help elevate the Michigan Wolverines back to the top of the Big 10.

Is the 2020 Michigan Wolverines football team ready to take the next step

How would quarterback Joe Milton handle making his first career start? How would a refurbished offensive line handle a prime time game with four new starters? Could the Michigan Wolverines wide receivers be effective without former Michigan standout Nico Collins part of the wide out group? How good would a loaded running backs group preform? A lot of questions were answered last night.

Heading into the 2020 season Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines football team had a lot of questions to sort through. Many of which were on the offensive side of the ball.

Saturday night in a prime time matchup with the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Harbaugh’s team got to work and actually look like they might finally be ready to take the next step. The 49-24 win against a very good team turned heads.

Making his first start for Michigan at quarterback, Joe Milton managed a good game for the Wolverines. Milton was 15 of 22 for 225 yards and a touchdown, he would also run for a touchdown as well.

Facing a Minnesota team that has a nationally ranked top 10 defense, the new faces on the Wolverines offensive line played very well. Giving Milton a clean pocket to work with.

As for the Michigan defensive unit, they played well for the most part. The unit did give up a few big plays. That should have been expected given the Golden Gophers are a top 25 team and it was the first game of the season for both school’s.

That said the Wolverines will have to clean up a few aspects of the defensive play. The secondary must do a better job at keeping the play in front of them and not playing from the side or behind.

CHAMPAIGN, IL – OCTOBER 12: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines is seen during the first half against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on October 12, 2019 in Champaign, Illinois. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Yes, it is only one game. However, it looked and felt different than in seasons past. Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan football team has a different feel to it on the both the offensive and defensive side of the ball.

It looks as if Michigan is finally ready to take the next step.

Ohio State stomps Michigan again, as the Wolverines look for answers

Embed from Getty Images Jim Harbaugh was brought to Michigan to close the gap on Ohio State. Talent, coaching, recruits scores and wins. He has not delivered on that yet. In fact one might say it has worsened. The Michigan Wolverines lost on their own field 56-27. This on the heals of losing last season in Columbus, Ohio 62-39.

Two schools headed in different directions. Ohio State to the Big Ten title game, with a shot at the College Football Playoffs, Michigan will head to a bowl game with it’s psyche shattered again. It is a yearly broken record.

To examine why Ohio State has beaten Michigan over and over, the first place to look is in the coaching. Be it Jim Tressel, Urban Meyer, or Ryan Day for Ohio State or Rich Rodriguez, Brady Hoke or Jim Harbaugh for Michigan. Ohio State has been better prepared for this game, “The Game” over the years.

Sure the Michigan fan base and media has heard how serious the Wolverines take this game, but the on-field production does not match the empty words spoken. It takes more than words and players walking around in T-shirts with last seasons score on it to get ready to play.

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields put it as plainly as could be “I just think we take it more serious than they do.” TRUTH! Michigan has regained dominance over Michigan State. Ohio State does not seem that important to the Wolverines based on the play they have shown on the field for a while now.

Michigan defensive end Aiden Hutchinson said “I didn’t see this coming.” That is telling. He thought his team was ready to compete. Everyone thought Michigan was ready to compete. Instead fans chose to believe the hollow words and not the facts.

The Ohio State coaching staff made some very good in-game adjustments and were very disciplined. Michigan made no in-game adjustments and were not as disciplined. That did not hurt the Wolverines as much as poor execution. 9 dropped passed, as well as turnovers killed Wolverines offensive drives.

Still Michigan has beaten Notre Dame and the Spartans this season. For people who say Harbaugh can not beat his rivals, he beat two of them. To beat Ohio State changes need to be made starting with the approach.

Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines look to crack the Buckeyes

Embed from Getty Images Ohio State has won 14 of the past 15 meetings, that is well documented within the Michigan Wolverines football team and fan base. Yet, Jim Harbaugh made a tough, yet honest assessment of his offense, and he brought in first-time coordinator Josh Gattis. Harbaugh, made it clear Monday he knows the rules. Until he wins this game, his record is partly hollow.

Jim Harbaugh told a sideline reporter for ESPN that his Wolverines were “about to have their finest hour.” A very daring statement to make considering the Wolverines trailed Penn State by 14 at the time.

The Michigan fan base sounded off. Jim Harbaugh, doesn’t worry about such noise he never has. He was not a mad scientist,crazy or delusional the Michigan Head coach had seen something in his team three games after losing badly at Wisconsin. Harbaugh also had seen something in his team during practices. That his team was close to finding itself.

Now looking back Harbaugh was clearly was on to something, and he knew it.  On Monday Jim Harbaugh was asked about his team, he used his favorite word to describe it. “Ascending.”

The smooth play of quarterback Shea Patterson as well as the Wolverines wide receivers have given the offense a lift. Will it be enough against Ohio State? That is a good question.

The Buckeyes have one of the best defenses in college football.  Yet,  Ohio State has not seen an offense as good as Michigan’s. They also have not seen a defense playing as well as the Wolverines. Something that was unthinkable four or five weeks ago, But Michigan should be able to compete with the mighty Buckeyes.

Jim Harbaugh was not hired to take Ohio State into the fourth quarter and compete. He was hired to beat Michigan State and the Buckeyes and get to the Big Ten title game and take Michigan to the College Football Playoff.

While the team will not hit those two goals this season, a win over the Buckeyes is critical. A changed offense and defense and Michigan is right where it’s head coach said they would be.

Harbaugh’s Wolverines, are playing it’s best football of the season, as ready as it they ever been heading toward Ohio State. Harbaugh told everyone this was coming. This Saturday at noon in Ann Arbor, Jim Harbaugh gets his chance to make good on that statement.

Michigan, Ohio State week

Embed from Getty Images 62-39, you do not have to tell anyone associated with the Michigan Wolverines football program. 62-39, players, coaches, media, fans all know it. 62-39, it was put up in the Wolverines locker room by head coach Jim Harbaugh as a means of inspiring his team to get to the next level. For those who do not know, or may have forgotten, last season in Columbus Ohio, the Ohio State Buckeyes beat the Michigan Wolverines 62-39.

In what could have very well been a “trap game”, the Michigan Wolverines went into Indiana and beat the Hoosiers soundly, 39-14. That was refreshing to see. Jim Harbaugh had his team locked to the task at hand.

Next Saturday, unbeaten Ohio State pays a visit to Ann Arbor with a lot on the line. Sure the Buckeyes have secured a spot in the Big Ten title game. The team had a close game at home to Penn State. Penn State kept in close by running the ball up the middle and quick outs to the receivers.

The Michigan Wolverines quarterback Shea Patterson has thrown for 750 the past two weeks. He returned to Michigan for his senior year because of 62-39. “There is no way in hell I’m leaving this place on that note.” Patterson last December.

Jim Harbaugh is winless against in four tries against one of the schools rivals. They have not beaten Ohio State since 2011 when Luke Fickell was named head coach for the fired Jim Tressel.

This seasons game promises to be another hard fought game. If Michigan can run the ball like Penn State right at the heart of the Buckeyes defense and get the ball to the outside to the playmakers, it should be a close game.

One thing to watch for is Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, who has had a very good season to date. There is one small glitch in his game though. Fields takes too many sacks. That is not just me saying it. Ohio State coaches have been saying it. Ohio State fans have said it is frustrating at times and he should throw the ball away.

The Michigan Wolverines, use different defensive formations to hide the blitz. It is something to watch for.

62-39, can Michigan wash the bad taste out of their mouth? We will soon find out.

The Michigan Wolverines look like a totally different football team

Embed from Getty Images What can happen in nine days? If you are the Michigan Wolverines football team a lot. Nine days ago the Wolverines suffered the teams second loss on the football season in Happy Valley to Penn State.  That loss proved to be a blessing, it seems to have given Michigan a spark.

Saturday night, in front of a sold out Big House on national t.v. Michigan went out on a rain soaked field and hammered the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, earning its second top 10 win of the Jim Harbaugh era. It was a complete team effort.

The game was played in a non stop downpour, the Michigan Wolverines went back to a tried and true gameplan, a solid run game and a relentless defense, set the tone early for Michigan.

The Wolverines chalked up 167  rushing yards before halftime and scored on three consecutive possessions. The offensive line had their best game of the season. Running backs Hassan Haskins and Zach Charbonnet had big holes and a lot of room to run and show off their talent.

With new starters and new coach’s, the adjustment for Michigan has been long and painful at times. Saturday night they seemed to get over that hump and the entire team looked like fans and media thought they would before the season kicked off.

Until this week, Michigan’s season was trending downward. Two weeks ago, the Wolverines gave up 25 consecutive points to Illinois. It scraped  an ugly 10-3 win over Iowa in Ann Arbor. It was throttled by  Wisconsin, also Michigan had a tough time defeating Army in overtime and could not stop turning the ball over against Middle Tennessee State.

After the game Jim Harbaugh praised his teams ability to “keep working, keep growing.” It appears the Michigan Wolverines worst football is behind them. Michigan has four regular season games remaining, including rivals Michigan State and Ohio State at Michigan Stadium. If they continue to put effort like the team displayed Saturday night. Those games will be interesting.

While it is too late to save this season for the Wolverines, if this is the true direction of Michigan football, head coach Jim Harbaugh might have finally found his winning formula at Michigan.

 

 

Michigan Wolverines football and head coach Jim Harbaugh appear to be at the crossroads

Embed from Getty Images It was a Rich Rodriguez coached performance the Michigan Wolverines football team put on Saturday afternoon in Madison Wisconsin. Certainly Brady Hoke would have had his team somewhat better prepared. Not too mention, Jim Harbaugh had two weeks to get his troops ready. It looked like he took two minutes.

Out- played, out- prepared, out-coached. On offense and on defense. Why? During the offseason fans and media were told over and over, this would be a new brand of Michigan football. After all they were the Big Ten favorites, on paper.

Saturday was 60-minutes of a comprehensive failure, that has seen Jim Harbaugh hit rock bottom at the school he played at in the 1980’s. 55 games into his coaching tenure Jim Harbaugh has little to show for his efforts.

Harbaugh, brought in Josh Gattis to run the offense. Gattis promised “speed in space.” In two games Michigan’s offense had serious issues. With and extra week to get ready for the Badgers, the Wolverines offense did not improve.

Michigan was consistently blown off the ball on both sides by Wisconsin, something in Jim Harbaugh’s fifth season that simply should not happen. Harbaugh’s failure to win a marquee game is indisputable.

While Saturday’s loss will not get Harbaugh fired, he can not be trusted to build a championship team.  After the game Harbaugh said it was “gut-check” time for his team. Someone in the Michigan athletic administration needs to tell the head football coach it is gut-check time.

Jim Harbaugh has lost his fire. Slamming clipboards, throwing headsets and screaming whenever he saw on-field injustices have given way to hands on knees bent over not saying much.

What is a deathblow for any coach, Jim Harbaugh appears to be uncertain, his  team is reflecting that during games. Jim Harbaugh needs to find that inner fire again. His team is suffering and will not recover until he does.

Preseason Big Ten favorites on paper. But, paper does not play games, motivate players or wins championships. It  does however crumble.

Michigan Wolverines football 2019 season preview

Embed from Getty Images After four years of the same old, same old, change has come to the Michigan Wolverines football program. Head coach Jim Harbaugh is going to facilitate and not call offensive plays. Josh Gattis is now the offensive play caller. Michigan is heavy favorites to win the Big Ten.

Offensively Josh Gattis has introduce spread concepts this past spring and, in his words, completely remove the huddle from the equation. This style of offense really suits returning quarterback Shea Patterson, who finished last season with 2,600 yards and 22 touchdowns through the air.

Michigan has young running backs and will rotate Christian Turner, Tru Wilson and highly touted freshman Zach Charbonnet. The talent is there, the experience is not.

The Wolverines offensive line will be a position of strength. The wide receivers are a very talented group. Donovan Peoples-Jones, Nico Collins, Ronnie Bell and Tarik Black all return.

The Michigan defense was hit hard by the offseason.  Rashan Gary and Chase Winovich and linebacker Devin Bush Jr. all left for the NFL. With that said, the cupboard is far from bare. Carlo Kemp, Michael Dwumfour and Aidan Hutchinson all return to the defensive line and bring plenty of potential and playing time. Talented freshman Donovan Jeter and Luiji Vilain will also rotate in. Giving Michigan a very athletic defensive line.

Returning linebacker Josh Ross will man middle linebacker. The linebacking corps as a whole are solid and have playmakers that is a real strength of the defense as a whole. The secondary is the only question mark for the Michigan football team.

Still the few questions Michigan has are much smaller than the nearly total rebuild Jim Harbaugh faced in 2017. Michigan has significantly fewer questions than the rest of the Big Ten schools making them preseason favorites.

This is the season Jim Harbaugh needs to deliver. Changes have been made to the coaching staff. Players at skilled positions have returned. This is the year Michigan should and needs to return to the top of the Big Ten. The question is will they take the next step?

Is this the season Jim Harbaugh leads the Michigan Wolverines to the Big Ten title?

Embed from Getty Images Picking a preseason champion in July is either daring or dumb, I freely admit that. Most seasons in July team to beat was Ohio State. Under Jim Harbaugh Michigan was never the logical pick to win the Big Ten title. Until this season. I believe this is the season Michigan gets over-the-hump and beats Ohio State.

The college football landscape changes often. Making a prediction on what a college football team has  done over the past five to 10 years is not wise. What a team has right now is all that matters.

Heading into the 2019-20 college football season,  Michigan has fewer question marks in key areas than the rest of the Big Ten teams. The Wolverines have a senior quarterback, Shea Patterson, who helped them go 10-3 a year ago they also have a trio of the best wide receivers in the country. Two of the wide outs have NFL written all over them, Donovan Peoples-Jones and Nico Collins.

A painful fact from last season, Michigan was one of the slowest moving non option teams nationally and it showed in the Wolverines three losses. The defense was cripples by and offense that did all it could to play possession football.

Enter new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis who will be the lone offensive play caller. Jim Harbaugh will not step in. Now in Ann Arbor is a no huddle, spread based offense. Yet it will be set up by the run.

Michigan’s defense will not be as good as it was last season or the year before. Michigan does have eight players who have starting experience.  Serious question abound on the secondary and middle linebacker.

The schedule isn’t easy, but Michigan gets both conference rivalry games at home. Army and Notre Dame will be serious challenging non-conference teams but the results do not count in the Big Ten standings.

So here in July, Harbaugh’s football team has what it needs to win the Big Ten this year. They look like they are in a good position to win the elusive Big Ten title. But, a word of caution, looks can be deceiving.