The Michigan Football squad finished its regular season play losing to the Ohio State Buckeyes, and Jim Harbaugh’s job is now up in the air.
A long season of ups and downs from the Michigan football team is complete. After a year that the program will learn a lot from moving forward, possible changes could be made in the offseason.
Heading into the season, Michigan football circled one game on the schedule, Ohio State. This game, taking place in Ann Arbor, was a must win. As important as this game was, there were 11 other opponents to face, starting with Middle Tennessee.
The Wolverines opened up their season with a 19 point win against an unranked opponent, Middle Tennessee. This game previewed the possible weak offense by the Wolverines, as they got ready for Army.
A scary underdog coming into the game, Army lived up to the hype. Taking Michigan to double overtime, nearly taking down the Wolverines in the Big House. Michigan escaped winning 24-21, but this was a win that would represent their struggles early on offensively.
Senior quarterback, Shea Patterson, had trouble holding onto the football during the first month of the season and those struggles carried into Wisconsin.
In Michigan’s first real test, the Wolverines were underdogs because of their pathetic performance against Army and the triple-option offense. This game took place at Camp Randall, and after a fumble by Patterson when U-M was driving to tie the game at 7-7, it was over.
Wisconsin running back, Jonathan Taylor, was making an early case for Heisman, after rushing for 2 touchdowns and 203 yards on the ground. The Wolverines were outplayed by, at the time, an undefeated Wisconsin squad.
Fast Forward two weeks another ranked opponent, Iowa, was ready to take down a Wolverine team that was trying to find its identity. A defensive battle ending in a 10-3 win for Michigan, again proved that the offense was in desperate need of change.
Then came white out in State College. The Penn State Nittany Lions, undefeated heading into the game, came out on fire scoring 21 points before halftime. Michigan football, on the other hand, scored a resounding seven points. A consistently, minimal offense for U-M during three of their first five games, finally was flipped after the halftime meeting in Beaver Stadium.
The Wolverines came within seven points in the final minutes. Sophomore stud, Ronnie Bell, was delivered a beautiful ball by Patterson on fourth down in the end zone, but the offensive rookie of the year from 2018, was unable to make the catch. Michigan suffered its second loss of the season, knocking it out of playoff contention, but there were many positives to take away from the loss.
A well-played second half at Penn State gave the Wolverines some momentum heading into the rivalry matchup vs Notre Dame. In the freezing rain, Michigan football was able to unload it’s offense at home, putting up 45 points on the Fighting Irish. The defense was just as impressive, only allowing two touchdowns.
A jam-packed end of the schedule for the Wolverines brought different challenges every week. Next up was across state rival Michigan State.
Early in Jim Harbaugh’s career as Michigan head coach, he struggled to topple the Spartans consistently. Had Harbaugh led the Wolverines to a loss vs Michigan State at home this year, it could have put him on the hot seat.
Thankfully, Michigan handled the in-state rival, blowing them out of Ann Arbor, 44-10. The following week Michigan easily beat down Indiana, in a key road win before the long-awaited Ohio State.
In the four games before the Ohio State matchup, Michigan had figured out its offense, scoring 38 or more in each contest. The early season struggles had disappeared and the Wolverines were rolling into rivalry week with confidence.
As the game took off, Michigan football struck first setting the tone, but a missed extra point killed some momentum.
Ohio State answered with a JK Dobbins touchdown and that wouldn’t be the last time you heard the name JK Dobbins in this contest.
Dobbins rushed for 211 yards, punching in four touchdowns, and 49 receiving yards. A clear NFL prospect ran down the throats of the confident Michigan defense. Ohio State went on to win 56-27, making Harbaugh 0-5 against the Buckeyes as a coach.
Earlier in the year, Patterson had issues with fumbling the football and that problem came back to haunt him early in the first half when he fumbled in the red zone, which was then answered by an Ohio State touchdown.
Careless errors out of Michigan began to break loose after Patterson’s turnover.
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A jump offsides on a punt, leading to a touchdown. A late hit in the red zone, resulting in a first down, and eventually another Ohio State touchdown. Two costly penalties, resulting in scores, were big momentum swingers as Ohio State was on their way to yet another win against Michigan.
Harbaugh has yet to prove that he can beat Ohio State, and has struggled against top 10 ranked opponents, going 2-11.
The only two concerns Michigan fans should have for Harbaugh are not being able to beat Ohio State, and he can’t find a quarterback.
Patterson was a solid quarterback who could make throws and run the ball a little bit, but he is too careless and has no business being the starting quarterback of the Michigan football program.
This is Michigan, arguably a top-three football program of all time. You are telling me, you can’t find someone better than Patterson?
Harbaugh has had one hell of a coaching career because he has proven that he can win at both levels. But he needs to find a quarterback that can perform under pressure in the big games, and get him a win against Ohio State.
Michigan will have a bowl game to cap off the 2019 season, and this game is a must win. Harbaugh is 1-3 in bowl games at Michigan and a program that expects to be competing for National Championships, can’t even win bowl games consistently.
When the season is all said and done, the Wolverines will head into the offseason needing to make some changes and turn their program around.
Realistically, Michigan will not fire Harbaugh, because he has had three 10-win seasons, and has proven over the last 20 years that he knows how to coach. The team in Maize and Blue needs to turn the program around fast because fans are getting angry and impatient.
A season with an Ohio State loss is a failure, and unless significant changes are made this offseason, the Wolverines will continue to be embarrassed in the rivalry game against the Buckeyes.