No. 3 Wolverines ‘didn’t flinch’ without Harbaugh at No. 10 Penn State 

Moments after No. 3 Michigan topped No. 10 Penn State 24-15 on Saturday, Wolverines acting head coach Sherrone Moore had a postgame interview with FOX’s Jenny Taft. 

The Wolverines were without Jim Harbaugh, who served the first of a three-game suspension as a result of the Big Ten Conference’s discipline of the Wolverines program for in-person, advanced scouting. Moore was emotional after the victory. 

“I want to thank the Lord,” Moore said. “I want to thank coach Harbaugh. I f—ing love you, man. I love the s— out of you, man. We did this for you, for this university, the president, our AD. We got the best players, best university, best alumni in the country. Love you guys. These f—ing guys right here. These guys right here man. These guys did it. These guys did it man.” 

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Moore and the Wolverines rolled to 10-0 amid a season in which investigations and suspensions have loomed over the team. 

So when Moore had an opportunity to talk up the Michigan program and the state of the Wolverines, he took it. 

“I’m a pretty calm guy but there’s a lot of emotions,” Moore said. “Being here six years, I feel like this place is home. What coach Harbaugh has done for me just giving me the opportunity to be here and this whole university and these players, these fans, I mean, this place is like home to me. Home to my family. So it’s very deep, and I wear my heart on my sleeve. I work extremely hard as we all do so that meant a lot for us to get this win in this situation. To show that and make it about players, the players are — we have elite players, elite university, and just so happy for them.” 

In the days and weeks leading up to the Big Ten’s announced suspension of Harbaugh following in-person scouting, Michigan supporters asked conference commissioner Tony Petitti for due process in investigating the Wolverines program. 

Michigan university president Santa Ono wrote a letter last week to Petitti encouraging due process. After Harbaugh’s suspension was announced, athletics director Warde Manuel released a statement Saturday criticizing the Big Ten and NCAA. 

Playing without Harbaugh, Moore said the message rang a similar tune as usual to the Wolverines players. 

“Play for yourselves, play for the team and play for Michigan. That’s the constant message,” Moore said. “We did make it about him. Just play for everybody that you’ve always played for. Think about this game as you’re in the backyard with the boys, with your friends, and you’re just going to have to win. This was a tournament game for us, a playoff game for us, so we knew we had to do whatever we needed to do to win. So it’s been a crazy 24 hours but at the same time our team is built for this. Our staff is built for this, and we’re all built for it.” 

READ: Big Ten issues penalty to Michigan after violation of sportsmanship policy over in-person scouting

Michigan beat Penn State on the ground, rushing for 227 yards which are the most allowed by the Nittany Lions this season. 

Running backs Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards each had a rushing touchdown, and the former had two, while the team carried the rock for 4.9 yards per run. 

“We got two of the best backs in the country so at the end of the day we do whatever it takes to win,” Moore said. “Sometimes it’s throwing more, sometimes it’s punting more, and we’re going to do whatever we can in that game to win. We thought as we got into the game obviously the run game became priority, and I think our guys up front really asserted themselves to be dominant and those backs ran super hard so I was really excited about that.” 

The Wolverines FaceTimed Harbaugh after the victory. Moore said Harbaugh “always alluded to” him potentially serving as acting head coach if a suspension was announced in the week leading up to the Penn State game. 

Moore said he leaned on defensive coordinator Jesse Minter and running backs coach Mike Hart among members of the coaching staff against the Nittany Lions. Amid tumultuous times for the Michigan program, the Wolverines led themselves to a top-10 win despite the news. 

“They were ready. It’s crazy,” Moore said. “This team is different. They’re built very different, and we let them know that coach wasn’t going to be there. And they knew that there was possibly that he wasn’t, and then when we told them here, they were ready to go. They didn’t flinch.”