Jim Harbaugh praises the Wolverines’ big turnaround in the second half

Jim Harbaugh praises the Wolverines’ big turnaround in the second half

Michigan fans who spent halftime of the Wolverines’ 52-17 victory over Rutgers in silence shouldn’t feel bad — head coach Jim Harbaugh felt a similar energy in the locker room itself.

“Really good, really proud of our guys,” Harbaugh said. “They had momentum, Rutgers had momentum coming off the field in the first half, and our guys were very quiet at halftime. It was about thinking hard and going there for the second half, and our guys didn’t waver. It was fun to be a part of.”

Even with the benefit of hindsight, it would be fair to say that things did not look that way as the second quarter drew to a close. Missed field goals, blocked shots and other mistakes made for the white ball in a game that no one expected. Michigan trailed Rutgers 17-14 at the half.

However, it didn’t take long for that tension to dissipate. After JJ McCarthy’s touchdown pass to Donovan Edwards, the Scarlet Knights ran just two plays before coughing up a Michael Barrett interception, setting up Blake Corum’s second touchdown.

The situation quickly went from bad to disastrous for Rutgers, as Barrett once again picked off quarterback Gavin Wimsatt on the first play of the Scarlet Knights’ next drive, this time for six. All told, the Wolverines needed just over a minute and a half to play to turn a 14-17 deficit into a 35-17 lead.

“We got some of those deep balls, and it’s just a matter of getting better at seeing the ball in the air,” Harbaugh said. “If they throw a deep ball, let’s look at it, have fun and put it away. Coach Clink coached it and Will Johnson did a great job. Mike Barrett, what a game he had. Simply a huge place, in the right place at the right time.

“It took tremendous team defense, nine hits in the second half, they saved nine shots and only gave up one first down. Pretty special, and to score three touchdowns in a minute and twenty seconds, hell of a job. Excellent work. Good teamwork all around”

Second-half adjustments have become the name of the game for Michigan as they make their way through the Big Ten schedule. Including Saturday, the Wolverines are an almost unfathomable 131-31 in the second half of their first six Big Ten games.

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