No. 3 Michigan vies for win No. 1,000 in clash vs. Maryland
League: NCAA Football
Posted on: 15 Nov, 2023 at 01:17 PM
Credit: Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Michigan's football program is making a serious run for a College Football Playoff berth and America's favorite soap opera at the same time.
The controversy swirling around coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff has taken many twists and turns. The team's drive for a national championship, however, remains undeterred.
The Wolverines (10-0, 7-0 Big Ten), ranked No. 3 in the latest poll, will play their penultimate regular-season game against Maryland on Saturday at College Park, Md.
A victory would be the 1,000th in the program's history.
Big Ten commissioner Tony Petitti suspended Harbaugh for the remainder of the regular season amid an NCAA investigation into an alleged signal-stealing scandal. The school tried to secure a court injunction on Saturday to allow Harbaugh to coach against Penn State, but the hearing was delayed until this Friday.
A defiant Harbaugh said he's looking forward to his day in court.
"Always kind of felt like it would be cool to get up there and thunder away at a jury like Tom Cruise in ‘A Few Good Men.' Or be a judge like Judge Judy," he said. "But alas, I did not go to law school. So this will be the first time I've ever really been (in) this situation."
Harbaugh was suspended for the first three games this season for failure to cooperate with a separate NCAA investigation. If Friday's hearing doesn't go Michigan's way, offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore again will fill in for Harbaugh.
A tearful Moore expressed his love for Harbaugh and the program after a 24-15 win last week at Penn State, Michigan's first close game all season.
The Wolverines relied heavily on their running game in the second half to wear down the Nittany Lions. Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards combined for 36 carries, 197 yards and three touchdowns.
"I'm feeling a galvanized Michigan. ... Everybody fighting like the team we're supposed to be," Harbaugh said. "That's going to be tough to beat."
With a showdown against No. 2 Ohio State looming on Nov. 25, the Wolverines easily could overlook the Terrapins (6-4, 3-4).
Maryland snapped a four-game losing streak and became bowl eligible on Saturday, but it wasn't pretty. The Terrapins needed a last-second field goal from Jack Howes to edge Nebraska 13-10.
Maryland coach Mike Locksley is looking to pull off a shocker.
"We need to go into this game with confidence. Any time you win, it helps your confidence," he said. "I think our team is excited about this opportunity. I mean, very few times in your career do you get to have what I call a breakthrough type of game, and you know, what a breakthrough this would be for our program."
The Terrapins will need a big performance from quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa to pull off an upset. He's passed for 2,769 yards and 22 touchdowns while getting picked off eight times.
Michigan has limited opponents to an average of 7.5 points per game.
"They are a well-oiled machine, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They play really sound," Locksley said. "They don't make a lot of mistakes, meaning you are going to have to execute at a really high level."
The Terrapins aren't focusing on Michigan's off-field issues.
"What's going on up in Ann Arbor has nothing to do with us," Locksley said.
--Field Level Media