For Jim Harbaugh and Michigan, this week's matchup against Ohio State is certainly not "another game on the schedule."
When asked whether or not that was true during his weekly press conference, Harbaugh replied, "Of course not."
Michigan brings the nation's top-ranked defense into the game — or "The Game" as Harbaugh pointed out — while allowing 234.8 yards per game, almost 19 yards fewer than its closest competitor.
However, Harbaugh made a point to recognize Ohio State's offense as the Wolverines attempt to corral quarterback Dwayne Haskins, running back J.K. Dobbins and the rest of the Buckeyes' offense.
"They do a great job scoring points," Harbaugh said. "Along with the passing game, they have a really effective running game as well ... talented players and good schemes and really good execution."
And on Haskins specifically:
“(The passing game is) really good. Really good quarterback," he said. "Get the ball to all parts of the field. Playmakers. At all the eligible positions. Do a great job of protecting. Quarterback does a great job of getting the ball to multiple people in the passing game.”
Before the Buckeyes and Wolverines prepare to get after each other at noon Saturday at Ohio Stadium, here's a full recap of what Harbaugh said to reporters Monday morning.
- Back in 1986, Jim Harbaugh was Michigan's starting quarterback. He guaranteed a win over the Buckeyes that year and it happened; a 26-24 final in Columbus. When asked why he felt so compelled to do so, he said, "I don’t know.I honestly don’t know what made me think about that. Been a long time since. Not much to say about that."
- He also talked about "life-giving energy." With a Big Ten title and College Football Playoff spot on the line, Harbaugh was asked about the pressures that came with Saturday's game. He said, "I always look at pressure as life-giving energy."
- As he pointed out, it's not just another game. Harbaugh said the game has a certain meaning, stating,"The same as it's always meant. It's a big game. It's the big game."
- Concerning his own team, he was asked about his team's avenue to success and said, "It's just a good ball team. I think of it like any good ball team you've ever been on, whether it was little league or high school or college or pro team. Probably the most profound thing is how they talk about each other. If you're complimenting one of our players, they're very quick to move the spotlight off of them and onto another position. I think that speaks volumes."
- Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson seems to get better each week. He has 2,177 passing yards with an 18-4 touchdown-interception ratio. Harbaugh said that Patterson is handling things in a "terrific" sense and that he's playing at a "most valuable player" level.
- More on Patterson: "He does what’s needed. He does what’s expected. You need him to make a play, he makes it. Whether it’s throwing or running or not turning a bad play into a worse play. He’s got a great feel, talent, energy for the game. Love his focus, love his intensity.”
- Defensive end Chase Winovich and running back Berkley Edwards were injured during this past week's win over Indiana. Harbaugh gave a status update on both saying, "Really best possible outcome for both Berkley and Chase. As the way it looked on Saturday. CAT scans were negative, X-rays negative for both Berkley and Chase. But continuing to evaluate every day.”
- When asked a follow-up about Winovich an whether he would be playing Saturday, Harbaugh said "We continue to evaluate every day."
- And speaking of the Wolverines' defense, Harbaugh said "Lot of things I love about our defense and how they’re playing. So many players are playing at a really high level. They’re playing their best football. Consistently playing really well week after week."