ANN ARBOR, Mich. – After three straight shutout wins for the first time since 1980, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh admitted it was meaningful in U-M’s lopsided 38-0 win against Northwestern.
“Very meaningful,” Harbaugh said. “Tried to figure out last week the last time we had three shutouts, 1980, we found out. It was good, but the most meaningful thing is defensively really everything all phases were good.”
No. 18 Michigan’s (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) defense held Northwestern offense to only 168 yards, and has only given up 378 total yards in its three game shutout streak. However, Harbaugh was quick to praise his rush defense, which held Northwestern’s potent attack to only 38 yards on 25 carries.
“With a couple exceptions, we really shutdown their running game,” Harbaugh said. “They got a few runs that got out, but not many. So for all intensive purposes, we were able to shut down their running game.”
Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson struggled against U-M’s secondary all day as well, throwing for 106 yards and two interceptions, on 13-of-27 passes.
“Coverage, our guys were in their hip pocket most every route, getting hands on the ball,” Harbaugh said. “They threw the back shoulder on Joudan Lewis a couple times, and one time he made an incredible interception. It looked like he got his arm in between the receivers arms and somehow intercepted it, and took it back to the house.”
And Michigan’s made it difficult on Thorson in the pocket too, with multiple QB hurries, causing four sacks.
“Then the pass rush was intense, all three of those phases were at the highest level today all working together.” Harbaugh said. “Again, D.J. Durkin and the defensive staff, a tremendous week of preparation and called a near flawless game. That’s an A plus, plus.”