Michigan football's Jim Harbaugh: I don't expect MSU to turn it over seven times vs. us

Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press
·4 min read

Jim Harbaugh had plenty of praise for Michigan football after Saturday's win over Minnesota.

And that continued Monday during Harbaugh's weekly press conference.

“Lot of great things we saw in practice that showed up in the game," Harbaugh said. "Obviously loved the turnovers, plus two in turnovers. Our defense creating the havoc plays. We had five or six sacks plus interception. And then the touchdown score by the defense, love that I thought we did a good job. Our quarterback rating was combined really good for us and our dense was able to do a good job with a very potent pass attack of Minnesota.

"The defense, special teams were able to get the ball on our side of the 50 three times in the game. I thought there was a lot of good. A lot of great play. A lot of hustle with all of our units. And physicality was excellent both sides of the ball.”

Here are more takeaways from Harbaugh, who said it "felt great" to be back in competition with the Wolverines as the Big Ten began play this past weekend.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh watches as his team takes on Northwestern at Ryan Field on Sept. 29, 2018 in Evanston, Ill.
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh watches as his team takes on Northwestern at Ryan Field on Sept. 29, 2018 in Evanston, Ill.

Running backs take over

Michigan's four running backs combined for 20 carries for 176 yards and four touchdowns against Minnesota. Monday, Harbaugh said they earned the team's 'Player of the Week' awards — along with Ben Mason.

Mason, who is back full time on offense after a brief spell on defense in 2019, consistently made impactful blocks and also caught a touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Milton. According to Harbaugh, he knocked over "five to eight" defenders throughout Saturday's game.

And Harbaugh also wasn't frustrated by Mason's unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at the start of the game.

"You talk about the first block, they made a move about that called The Blind Side. Ben was penalized," Harbaugh said. "And probably rightfully so. But it was a tremendous block. Tremendous block on a tremendous player.

"I would say this: Ben Mason, I called up the team pre game, and Ben asked if he could say something to the term, and he said something to the team, and what he said was, ‘Joe, this is your night. We’re going to block. We’re going to catch. We’re going to do everything in our power to make you successful.’

"It was a very passionate speech. The point to me is there’s a lot of guys that have made speeches in the history of football. He’s going to make the speech, but maybe there’s a dozen or so that I can think of that actually went out and did what they said they were going to do in the speech. And he did that and then some."

Dax Hill seems to be fine

Michigan safety Daxton Hill left in the first half of Saturday's game with an apparent injury and did not return. After the game, Harbaugh said the sophomore was "being evaluated." It seems like the Wolverines will get Hill back this week.

"I think he's going to be fine," Harbaugh said. "Anticipate him practicing mid week, tomorrow or Wednesday."

Hill's replacement Saturday was freshman Makari Paige, who also played as the third safety when Hill was available.

Talkin' MSU

It's Michigan State week, but there wasn't much rivalry talk Monday. Harbaugh didn't get a chance to watch Saturday's game live, as the Wolverines were preparing for their game, and says he has started to watch the game and is "studying it hard."

“We haven’t seen them, obviously new staff, until this week," Harbaugh said. "Wouldn’t expect there’d be that many turnovers next time they play, so that obviously hurt them really badly in this game, in the pass game.”

Both quarterbacks — Milton and Rocky Lombardi — will be making their first starts in the rivalry.

“They’ve both seen it up close, they both have a really good understanding of it and the magnitude of it," Harbaugh said. "I’m pretty sure thy have a good understanding of the magnitude.”

Barrett earns two awards

Linebacker Michael Barrett was all over the field Saturday, finishing with a sack fumble that was returned for a touchdown, 1.5 tackles for loss and a 66-yard kickoff return. Unsolicited, Harbaugh mentioned Barrett's strong performance and noted that he was named Michigan's defensive player of the game and special teams player of the game. Barrett was the first to earn both honors since Jabrill Peppers did so against Colorado in 2016.

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This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan football's Jim Harbaugh previews Michigan State game