INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Who would have thought at this time, two years ago, that Michigan football would be back-to-back Big Ten champions?
After a devastating 2020 season, the prevailing thought was that Jim Harbaugh was on the hot seat, and that the Wolverines were becoming an also-ran given how things had gone in recent years. However, it's been nothing short of a miraculous turnaround, with two-straight years of beating Ohio State, and now two-straight wins in the Big Ten Championship game.
After the game, Jim Harbaugh was short on words with the media, mostly deferring to his players. But here is what he said up on the dais following the Wolverines' 43-22 win over Purdue.
First, I would like to thank the parents of the Michigan Wolverine players for raising such tremendous young men. Not just these two super sophs right here, but all of them.
They just help us win in every way on the field, off the field, through perseverance, character, and mostly love. It's been that kind of a team. It's beyond culture. It's a brotherhood. Just truly.
I've talked about it being a happy mission, not a grim mission. It's been a mission of God. I want to thank our parents for how they've raised these youngsters. I mean, they are amazing. Parents, what they've poured into these young men from such an early age. Esteeming them when they're young and all the practices and everything they drove them to and took them to. Just the support and love that they give them.
It's an amazing group of players, and I just want the parents to take a deep long bow for the kind of young men that they've raised.
Second-half rushing yards
It's a really good game plan. It's a really good offensive line, and it's been - I mean, this guy has 401 yards in the last two games. You want to talk about big games? This guy comes alive in the big games.
And Blake Corum has been a warrior too that same way. But, I mean, those are two supreme backs, Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards.
This guy, when it's a big game, I mean, his whole career, whether it was high school, college now, I mean, he just hits another gear. He takes off to another level.
And J.J., I mean, he does the same thing in the running game. I mean, pretty dynamic two guys right there. And credit to a lot of places, you know? But, yeah, that's what I would say.
You do. That's who you are (laughing). 401 yards in the last two games, amazing.
Did the losing record in 2020 inspire his current run?
No. I mean, I don't think so. I don't think I've changed one bit. I mean, I'm the same as I was before, am now. I think when you get to this age, you're not going to change.
But I really think it's the players. I think the players really appreciated that as well, that there was no change. We made it about the guys on the team, about getting good at football. I mean, I can guarantee you Ben Herbert hasn't changed any of the five years that he has been here.
I point to these two guys. I mean, when they came in, they said, Coach, we're winning the Big Ten Championship. We're beating Ohio State, and we got it.
I think that combination of not changing, I think the guys appreciated that deep down. You know, having these guys that like football, you know? They like football. They like training. They enjoy each other's company. I mean, there's not a day that goes by that either of these two guys have had a bad day.
I mean, they like to - I'll speak for them, but I think they like the direction of the program. They like the program. They like the opportunity in the program, and I like them back a lot. I'm proud of them, so proud of them.
And talking about J.J. and Donovan, but talking about the entire squad. I mean, every guy to a man. So, I'll probably step out and let you talk to these guys. Otherwise, I'll get a little emotional (laughing). Is that okay?
Story originally appeared on Wolverines Wire