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Jim Harbaugh

‘Michigan Man’ Jim Harbaugh claims national title

Michigan overpowers Washington

HOUSTON – With the national football championship firmly secured, Jim Harbaugh let his memory drift almost 50 years. The controversial Michigan coach thought about legendary Michigan coach Bo Schembechler and what it meant to be a “Michigan Man.” 

Then Harbaugh thought about his own legacy after leading Michigan to a dominant 34-13 victory over No. 2 Washington at NRG Stadium.

Harbaugh’s father Jack was an assistant coach under Schembechler from 1973 through 1979. The elder Harbaugh would often return home from coaching the Wolverines’ secondary with bits of wisdom from the his iconic boss.

Jim Harbaugh, ‘Michigan Man’

“And all the time we talked about the team, the team, the team and what that meant — no man, no player, no coach bigger than the team,” Jim Harbaugh said. “And then when I played here at Michigan as a quarterback in the ’80s, you heard it a lot, all the time — the team, the team, the team.

“And we brought that back when I came here in 2015 — the team, the team, the team. And we’ve made some additions to it. We talk about what’s good for the bee is good for the hive and what’s good for the hive is good for the bee. We talk about all kind of things. But that’s what it comes from.”

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That mindset paid off on a rainy Monday night in Houston. Michigan was quite simply too much for Washington. The Wolverines ran all over the Huskies in a way that would have made Schembechler proud.

Michigan rushed for 303 yards on 38 carries, scoring four rushing touchdowns. On defense, the Wolverines never let Washington’s All-American quarterback Michael Penix Jr. get on track.

A week after picking Texas apart with ease, Penix threw more interceptions than touchdowns. Penix threw for 255 yards on 27 of 51 passing with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Potent rushing attack

Donovan Edwards opened the scoring with a 41-yard rushing touchdown early in the first quarter. He added a 46-yard touchdown run with 2:23 to play in the first quarter. 

“I was so excited for Donovan because I just felt like he needed that,” said Blake Corum, who added two rushing touchdowns in the fourth quarter. “He needed it. He’s back. 

“Dono is back. And I don’t know what he’s going to do after this. I hope he just celebrates and doesn’t think about what decision he’s going to make.”

Grady Gross’ 45-yard field goal cut Michigan’s lead to 20-13 with 8:58 to play in the third quarter. But Corum added a 12-yard touchdown run and a 1-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

Jim Harbaugh capped a controversial season, missing six of the Wolverines’ 15 games while serving a pair of suspensions. Despite the cheating allegations that plagued Michigan, Harbaugh was unbowed. As far as he’s concerned, he and this team embody what it means to be a “Michigan Man.”

“Just doing something that’s bigger than for yourself, caring about somebody other than yourself, never being outworked, doing right,” he said. “You don’t lie. You don’t cheat. You don’t steal. And you give it the very best to your God-given ability. That and more.

“I mean you could probably write a book, what it means to be a Michigan man. But some day, when they throw dirt over the top of me, if somebody who is eulogizing me, who was on this team or one of my teammates, when I was playing at Michigan, if they would simply say, ‘He was a Michigan man,’ that would mean everything. Would mean everything to me.”

Jim Harbaugh is ready for tattoo

The Wolverines joined Clemson (2018), LSU (2019) and Georgia (2022) as the only 15-win Division I football teams since the late 1800s. 

Harbaugh promised his players that he would get his first tattoo if they finished the season a perfect 15-0. He vows to deliver on that promise.

“I’m going to put it on my shoulder,” he said of the 15-0 tattoo. “I don’t know if it’s my left or right yet. I’m a right-handed quarterback. I’ll probably get it on my right. And then an M, too, an M that’s (a) maize and blue M.”

It remains to be seen when he gets his tattoo. But the Michigan Man already has his national championship. 

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