Jim Harbaugh, because he’s Jim Harbaugh, had to answer a question about NFL coaching jobs Monday night.
For the record, Michigan’s coach said, “No,” when he was asked whether a 26-19 loss to South Carolina could be his last game with the Wolverines. If it were anybody other than Harbaugh, a beloved Michigan alum with a long track record of head coaching success, he would have been answering questions instead about whether he was worried about being fired.
South Carolina (9-4) handed Michigan (8-5) its third consecutive defeat Monday in Raymond James Stadium. The Wolverines did not beat a team this year that finished with a winning record.
Asked whether he had any answer for his team’s late-season swoon, Harbaugh responded, “Sustain the momentum, keep the momentum and get the knockout punch. That would be my thought right now. Making the play when you’ve got the other team down, you need to take advantage of those teams, and we weren’t able to do that. We kind of let (the Gamecocks) hang around, and they took advantage of it.”
The Wolverines had plenty of momentum against South Carolina. They led 19-3 late in the third quarter before allowing the Gamecocks to score 23 quick points and turning the ball over on six of their final eight possessions.
“Our guys played their guts out and so did South Carolina,” said Harbaugh, who is 28-12 in three seasons at his alma mater. “Congratulations to South Carolina on their victory.”
Harbaugh credited USC for getting better as the game went on.
“They got better as the game went on, no doubt, and made plays to win the football game,” he said. “We didn’t get the knockout punch when we needed it. We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that were there.
“They made a really good throw, really good catch on the touchdown. Made another spectacular throw and catch on the second touchdown pass. Yeah, they made they executed well, really well.”