Jim Harbaugh is never the most cordial college football coach, especially after a loss.
Following the Buckeyes’ 62-39 romp over his favored Wolverines, that was particularly true.
Two years ago, Harbaugh was so angry about the officials’ spot on a 4th-and-1 play that he got fined by the Big Ten for his comments.
Saturday, he just looked lost, as if the beatdown had left him without any possible answers.
A reporter asked how much responsibility Harbaugh would personally take for the loss.
“Well, when things go good, things go great, good. If it doesn’t, you take responsibility for it,” he said.
Harbaugh credited the Buckeyes for dominating in all three phases of the game.
“Well, they played great. Their third quarter, especially, a lot of speed plays that got out on the perimeter on got loose,” Harbaugh said. “Also set them up in good field position with a couple turnovers and of course the blocked punt contributed to the score as well.”
“They threw the ball downfield well. They threw the crossing routes, the slant routes extremely well. And ran the ball good. So, they did a great job,” he said.
To Harbaugh the issue wasn’t that his team came in overconfident after watching the Buckeyes stumble through a 52-51 overtime win at Maryland the week before.
“No” was the extent of that answer.
All season, Buckeye fans have talked about how opposing teams never say they were surprised at what OSU tried to do on offense. And while Harbaugh didn’t say that exactly, he was very complimentary of the play-calling and execution.
“They had several successful plays, no question about it. Especially, they got some real speed plays. Crossing routes hurt. Threw the ball downfield well. They did a nice job throwing and catching those. I thought their protection was really good. We didn’t get the pressure on the quarterback that we wanted to,” he said.
Harbaugh steered around questions about whether or not his team had gotten stronger physically, as they had set out to do after last year’s loss to OSU. He said he was happy with his coaching staff, despite the blowout.
He was asked to reflect back to the near-miss in 2016, compared to the 62-39 shellacking he took on Saturday. Harbaugh said there wasn’t much difference in how he felt after those games.
“Same. Just motivated to come back and make darn sure it doesn’t happen again. Win our next game. That’s our motivation.”