In a busy away season, No. 3 Michigan made college football history Saturday, defeating Maryland 31-24 in College Park, Md.
The Wolverines continued to lead the NCAA in wins over Ohio State and Alabama (963) and Texas and Notre Dame (945) with a win over Michigan on Saturday.
Coach Jim Harbaugh was absent against Maryland while serving part of his three-game suspension for Michigan’s scouting and sign-stealing scandals, despite 84 wins for Michigan. Instead, offensive coordinator Sharon Moore continued to serve as head coach in Harbaugh’s absence, leading the Wolverines to a big win.
The win marked Michigan’s 11th straight game of the season and sets up a matchup of two undefeated Big Ten teams, as the Colts host the No. 2 Buckeyes next Saturday in their regular season finale. This will be the last game Harbaugh will miss as part of the suspension.
The first one wins up to 1,000.
Congratulations @UMichFootball! pic.twitter.com/mVnMPYVaA2
— University of Michigan (@UMich) November 18, 2023
1,000th win in the midst of controversy
Michigan’s decisive victory came after another week full of turmoil. On Thursday, the school dropped its legal challenge to the Big Ten and announced that Harbaugh will serve the remainder of his three-game suspension. On Friday, Michigan fired linebackers coach Chris Partridge for allegedly interfering with the NCAA’s physical examination investigation. On top of that, the Wolves found themselves in a tense, back-and-forth game for the first time this season.
Michigan’s defense got a safety in the fourth quarter on an interception by Mike Senristiel and an intentional holding penalty in the end zone. But Michigan’s offense had several opportunities to put the game away and failed to do so, leading to a tense fourth quarter. The Wolverines improved to 3-0 with Moore, but will need to play better next week against Ohio State. – Austin Meek, Michigan staff writer
The pass defense looks shaky
Michigan hasn’t faced a team with more than 50 passing offenses during its 10-0 start. Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was the most dynamic pass rusher the Wolverines have seen all year and exposed holes in Michigan’s pass defense that hadn’t been seen in the first 10 games.
Tagovailoa completed 21 of 31 passes for 247 yards, including passes of 33 and 34 yards to Kaden Prater. Cornerback Josh Wallace had a rough day, and Michigan rotated Wallace and Ja’den McBurroughs in the second half. Michigan was included by forcing three turnovers: two interceptions from Sinister and a fumble recovered by Derek Moore for a touchdown.
If Michigan is going to contain Marvin Harrison Jr. and Ohio State’s offense next week, strengthening the pass defense should be a priority. – Gentle
McCarthy is off the mark
Quarterback JJ McCarthy had one of the roughest games of the game, completing 12 of 23 passes for 141 yards. McCarthy threw an interception in the red zone against a Michigan drive late in the first half and had other touchdowns that could have been picked off. He missed a wide open Cornelius Johnson on a potential touchdown play in the fourth quarter.
McCarthy played most of the first quarter without the threat of Roman Wilson, who was injured in the big clash and returned to the team. Michigan had to shuffle its offensive line after starting left tackle Ladarius Henderson was ruled out before the game and his replacement Myles Hinton went down with an injury.
Last season, Michigan went 11-0 in a close game against Illinois, followed by a big win at Ohio State the following week. The Wolverines hope to repeat that script this season. – Gentle
Harbaugh’s suspension was the latest major development in a busy year for Michigan, as the program is the subject of NCAA investigations and layoffs.
Michigan and the Big Ten announced Thursday that they have resolved their legal dispute and that Harbaugh will serve the remainder of his suspension. The announcement came less than 24 hours after Michigan sought a court order to keep Harbaugh on the sidelines before attorneys representing the two sides were scheduled to present arguments in front of a Washtenaw County (Mich.) judge.
The Big Ten has agreed to close the investigation, while the NCAA’s inquiry continues.
The announcement that Michigan was dropping its legal challenge to the Big Ten’s suspension came as a surprise response to Harbaugh’s ban because of the school’s hostile stance. An industry source briefed on the investigation said Friday that new information continues to emerge from the NCAA’s interviews with Michigan staff, expanding the scope of the scandal first linked to a staff member who hired analyst Connor Stallins.
Michigan officials are participating in those interviews, the source said, and will learn information “in real time” as the NCAA investigation unfolds. The Big Ten sought information from the NCAA before reviewing Harbaugh’s suspension, but now Michigan has stepped aside as part of its decision to drop the legal challenge.
“While the Big Ten has closed its investigation, we will continue to cooperate with the NCAA as it continues its ongoing investigation,” a university spokesperson said in a statement. “Consistent with our commitment to integrity, we will continue to take appropriate action, including disciplinary action, based on information we receive.”
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(Photo: Brad Mills / USA Today)