Postgame: Jim Harbaugh Talks Michigan's 42-7 Win Over Rutgers

jim harbaugh michigan press conference

Postgame: Jim Harbaugh Talks Michigan's 42-7 Win Over Rutgers

Football

Postgame: Jim Harbaugh Talks Michigan's 42-7 Win Over Rutgers

As expected, Michigan dispatched of Rutgers rather easily on the road in Piscataway (N.J.) Saturday, though there were still some interesting things of note:

Despite having the worst offense in the conference, the Scarlet Knights managed more yards than all but three of the Wolverines opponents, and had an 80 yard run early on to tie the score at 7-all.

Shea Patterson had yet another solid performance, passing for 66.7% and 260 yards and 3 touchdowns, despite being in cold, swirling winds. Karan Higdon got 1,000 yards on the season along with 2 touchdowns in the game, and a handful of players left the game with injuries.

After the game, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh discussed all of that and more.

On how Shea Patterson played:

“Shea was really playing tonight. Just does everything you ask him to do. You ask him to throw the ball and he throws it. That was a really tough night to throw the ball, man. It reminded me of my days back at Soldier Field playing in that windy, some of those windy conditions. He made some throws that were just unbelievable, putting it in the right spot with the wind blowing, swirling.

“The throw he made to Oliver Martin on the run was great. Runs to the left, the third-down conversions.

“And also our receivers did a great job catching the ball. It was not an easy night to catch the ball. There were tough elements there. Our guys have continued to do a really good job catching the ball. Gentry, Nico Collins, Donovan, Oliver – it was really impressive that way. That was not gonna be an easy night to move the ball, offensively. Rutgers was doing a good job of containing our run game.

“Shea – and the offensive line – was really terrific all night. All those things were really good.

“The throw and catch part was really difficult in this game. Our guys did it at as high a level as you can do it, in terms of throwing the ball and catching the ball.”

Shea Patterson’s lack of designed running plays

“We weren’t really – he’s been running the ball quite a bit the last couple weeks. Put a couple different type of plays in where he could zone read and come out throwing the ball. It was a nice extra wrinkle for us. Get him moving out of the pocket instead of running the ball as much.

“It was a nice – a nice addition to the offense. That puts some pressure on a defense now, because you could be handing it off on a zone play inside. Quarterback could be pulling it, quarterback could be pulling it – and coming out and throwing it. So there’s a triple-option effect to that.”

Tru Wilson’s 58 yard performance

“He really did a heckuva job. Was running well, running hard. Keeping his speed the entire time. He’s gotten so much better on how to cut back, when to cut back. Lowering his shoulder and eke out a few more yards. He was running hard and tough.”

Michigan-centric crowd in New Jersey

“It’s a great following we have. Rutgers has a – it was a good – I thought their home fanbase was really good. The team was really improved and competitive. That’s a competitive football team. They did as good a job as anybody of containing our running game. Also really impressed with their young backs. They run hard, those guys. Quarterback looked good, too. He made some real plays. It was a good, competitive game.

“We knew it would be going in. We saw the way they played Northwestern. We saw the way they played Indiana. That’s a team that’s – they’re close to breaking through and winning multiple games, consecutive games. (The coaches do) a really great job with the team. Thought they had a good plan offensively and a good plan defensively.”

Shea’s ability to roll out, keep plays alive

“I think the biggest majority is the feel. Pocket awareness, where the quiet spot is. He looked as good as he’s ever looked tonight in the pocket. Not panicking, moving subtly to get to the quiet spot. There’s drills for sure, things that you coach. You do the same drills with some guys and they don’t ever get it, and you do those drills with guys that really have the special awareness, the feel and innate ability and you can get really good. So yeah, it’s a greater share to the innate – guys who really understand spatial awareness and where guys are on the field. He’s gifted – he’s really gifted in that area.”

How Rashan Gary has changed since arriving in Ann Arbor

“I don’t think – he’s the same good, down-to-earth, genuine person he’s always been. I don’t think he’s changed really that much. Jennifer (his mom) really did a great job raising him. He’s the same. He’s really respectful, quiet somewhat. When he talks, it’s something important. Always works continually, works hard.

“It’s great to see – the guys, they choose – nobody gets to choose how hard they work, how hard they play. How precise they are, how smart they are. Nobody gets to choose that for them. They choose that for themselves. He’s always done that at the highest level.”

Backup QB situation

“Wanted to get them both playing, get them both reps. Brandon’s series was only one play, because Chris popped the long 68-yarder. And then, really, had the three plays at the very end.

“They both need game reps as we move forward. Get them ready before you need them.”

More on the backup QB situation

“I think the way we’re going is we like things that both can do. If we’re in that situation, keep getting them ready. Keep getting them both ready to play and be ready to have them both if that need arises.”

On Josh Metellus and other player injuries

“He had done something to himself on Thursday. It was a soft-tissue deal. He’s just still working through that. He really wanted to play. We’re gonna see how he loosened up before the game and if he did. We were going with Brad Hawkins as the starter and Josh more in an emergency role.

“Who else did you ask about? Lavert — he’s being evaluated for a concussion. Didn’t play him in the second half. Took him out before halftime.

“Aubrey Solomon didn’t play. He got sick the last two or three days before we left for the game.

“Not exactly sure what that is right now. Haven’t been informed.”

Brad Hawkins

“I think he played really well. We’re really confident in Brad Hawkins. He’s elevated himself to that third safety on the team. We’re really comfortable with him playing, playing at safety. I thought he played really good tonight. He’s taken his game up quite a few notches this year. He’s on the right path. Still a relatively young football player, but he’s doing really well.”

Does the team have a chance to do something great this year?

“Oh yeah. Do we have a chance? Sure, a good one. So, just keep preparing, keep focusing, keep taking it one game at a time and see how good we can get.”

On avoiding a letdown against Indiana

“The players – the players get to make the decision to what level they play at. How smart they play, how strong, how tough, how precise they play. Nobody gets to make that decision for them. I was excited to see at what level they played at tonight. I thought they played at the highest level they could. Expect that to be the case next week as well. Excited to see how they respond.”

Rutgers’ 80 yard run and the response

“Yeah, they faked a reverse and Chase was playing the zone read by the quarterback. I don’t know what happened, how they got inside – how we gave up the gap inside. Like I said, the backs were really hitting hard, they were running hard and fast. They’ve got good, young backs. We were in man-to-man coverage – there was no secondary support there. Good play by them. They had a good plan, a well-designed play and well-executed. They tried it a couple more times after that, and we made the adjustments. And then stopped it for a one or two yard gain the next time.”

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