Michigan overcomes slow start to defeat Rutgers in Jim Harbaugh’s return from 3-game suspension

University of Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh missed the Wolverines’ first three games of the season from the sideline due to a school-imposed suspension.

The decision to keep Harbaugh off the sideline during Michigan’s 3-0 start stemmed from alleged violations during the COVID-19 death period. In a statement released by the university in August, Harbaugh said, “We will continue to do what we always tell our players and kids at home: ‘Don’t suffer, just get better.’ Ta.

On Saturday, Harbaugh was roaming the sidelines again.

Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy threw a game-tying 18-yard touchdown pass late in the first half, and the No. 2 Wolverines defeated Rutgers 31-7.


Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh during the first half of the game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan Stadium on September 23, 2023 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Gregory Shams/Getty Images)

The Wolverines took a 17-point lead on Mike Sainristil’s 71-yard interception return with just over four-and-a-half minutes left in the third quarter. Blake Collum’s second rushing touchdown of the game and his eighth score of the season gave Michigan a 31-7 lead early in the fourth.

The Scarlet Knights took a 7-0 lead on a 69-yard touchdown pass from Gavin Wimsatt to Christian Dremel on the third snap of the game, but missed additional scoring opportunities in each quarter.

Colm capped off a 94-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run to help Michigan tie the game on its second possession, with the All-American running back gaining 97 yards on 21 carries.

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McCarthy had a career-high three interceptions last week, but had a scoreless game against Rutgers. Wimsatt rushed for 180 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He ran six times for 28 yards.

Jim Harbaugh coached the first half.

Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh plays against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Michigan Stadium on September 23, 2023 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Gregory Shams/Getty Images)

Rutgers had a chance to take a two-score lead, but a 27-yard run was negated by a holding penalty. They got a false start on third down in the first quarter and ended the possession with a punt.

Michigan quarterback throws during game

Michigan quarterback JJ McCarthy, 9, throws a touchdown pass to Cornelius Johnson during the second half of a game against Bowling Green on September 16, 2023 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (AP Photo/Jose Juarez)

Rutgers got a false start on fourth-and-1, and the Knights attempted a 51-yard field goal, but Jay Patel missed when the game was tied early in the second quarter.


The Wolverines played all of their first four games at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. Michigan will play Nebraska on the road for the first time this season next week.

Rutgers will host Wagner.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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