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Jim Harbaugh Says Michigan Has to 'Put It over the Top' After Peach Bowl Loss

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 29, 2018

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 24:  Head Coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines watches his team warm up before a game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on November 24, 2018 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

After starting 10-1, Michigan football lost 62-39 to Ohio State and 41-15 to Florida to close the season.

Following the Wolverines' Peach Bowl loss to the Gators on Saturday in Atlanta, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh stressed that there won't be any significant adjustments. "I think we're going to take what we have and reload a new season and tighten up and keep working to put it over the top," he told reporters.

Michigan reeled off 10 straight wins after it lost to Notre Dame 24-17 in the season opener. The Wolverines were No. 4 heading into the Ohio State game and positioned to make the College Football Playoff semifinal.

The season wasn't a total loss despite a disappointing finish, and Harbaugh expressed optimism postgame: "It was a very good season. It would have been a great season if we'd won this game, but we couldn't get it done. My feeling about the team is we're right there at the top. But we have to put it over the top, especially in the big games at the end of the year."

The season wasn't a total loss despite a disappointing finish, and Harbaugh expressed optimism postgame: "It was a very good season. It would have been a great season if we'd won this game, but we couldn't get it done. My feeling about the team is we're right there at the top. But we have to put it over the top, especially in the big games at the end of the year."

Harbaugh, who played quarterback for Michigan in the mid-1980s, returned to his alma mater in 2015 after the Wolverines finished a lackluster 5-7.

Given a seven-year, $52.1 million contract, the ex-San Francisco 49ers head coach immediately improved the Wolverines to a 10-3 mark capped by a win over Florida in the Citrus Bowl. Michigan finished the season No. 12 in the Associated Press poll.

The Wolverines started 9-0 the following year and were as high as No. 2 in the AP poll, but they lost three of their final four games by a combined five points. The season ended with an Orange Bowl loss to Florida State. An 8-2 mark preceded a three-game losing streak to end 2017.

For whatever reason, the Wolverines have encountered trouble finishing the last three seasons. This year was particularly odd, as a team that had allowed just 13.5 points per game entering the OSU contest ended the year giving up 103 combined points in two games, or just 46 fewer than it had all season.

Harbaugh deserves credit for turning around a program that had just two years with double-digit victories from 2004 to 2014, having accomplished that feat three times in four years. Also, the future looks bright for the Wolverines, as 247Sports ranked their recruiting class of 2019 the best in the Big Ten and eighth overall.

While fans are undoubtedly disappointed in recent season endings, Harbaugh and his staff deserve the benefit of the doubt.

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