The Michigan Wolverines played their season opener without head coach Jim Harbaugh, but the team's top players including quarterback J.J. McCarthy showed their support for their coach during and after their win over East Carolina.
It was an easy season debut for the Wolverines, who came away with a 30-3 win over the Pirates on Saturday, September 2. McCarthy was nearly perfect in the victory, completing 26 of 30 passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns. Star running back Blake Corum shined in his debut returning from a season-ending knee injury, rushing for 77 yards and a touchdown on only 11 carries.
After the game, SB Nation's Trevor Woods shared a picture of McCarthy wearing a "Free Harbaugh" shirt in his post-game press conference.
J.J. McCarthy rocking the Free Harbaugh shirt at the post game presser pic.twitter.com/lWs7lfqzfU
— Trevor Woods (@WoodsFootball) September 2, 2023
Harbaugh is serving a self-imposed three-game suspension following an investigation into recruiting violations. The allegations stem from a meal with a recruit during a recruiting dead period in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the suspension by Michigan will have Harbaugh back with the team in time for their Big Ten season opener against Rutgers.
McCarthy wasn't the only one showing support for Harbaugh. Before the team's first play of the season, the offense lined up in an iconic Harbaugh formation while holding up four fingers, honoring their head coach's No. 4 jersey while he was a player for the Wolverines.
The Wolverines took care of business of Saturday, and will have two more easy games without Harbaugh prior to the start of conference play. Michigan will take on UNLV and Bowling Green over the next two weeks, and their schedule seems like a cakewalk until November, when they take on Penn State and Ohio State over a three-week span.
Until then, the Wolverines and their fanbase will hope for more games like the one they had against East Carolina.
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