Today is a great day to wish a very Happy Birthday to Coach James Joseph Harbaugh. I know that Jim Harbaugh is working hard today – remember this guy is a “jackhammer!” However, I am certain that his coaches and players will take time from their bowl preparations to wish Coach Harbaugh a “Maize and Blue Happy Birthday.”
In keeping with my theme of Michigan Football “firsts” I wanted to examine the playing career of James Joseph Harbaugh and see how many firsts he was connected to from 1983 to 1986. As it turned out, he is connected to many, many Wolverine Football “firsts.” Check them out!
- Jim Harbaugh’s first start was also the first ever game against the University of Miami (Florida) in 1984. Michigan defeated the top-ranked Hurricanes by a score of 22-14.
- Harbaugh also played in the first ever game against Maryland in 1985. Once again, he led his team to a nice win (20-0) win over the future conference rivals.
- Jim Harbaugh was the first Michigan quarterback to throw a touchdown pass under the lights in Michigan Stadium. In fact, he tossed three scoring passes in Michigan’s 27-17 win over Ohio State on November 23, 1985.
- Harbaugh was the first Michigan signal caller to throw 18 touchdown passes in one season in 1985.
- James Joseph Harbaugh became the first Michigan quarterback to throw for 310 yards in a 34-17 win at Wisconsin in 1986.
- Jim Harbaugh became the first Michigan quarterback to throw for 300 yards twice in the same season when he threw for exactly 300 yards at Indiana on October 26, 1986. (Michigan won 38-14).
- James Joseph Harbaugh became the first Michigan quarterback to predict a win over Ohio State in 1986. Yes, he backed up his words, with a little help from his friends like Jamie Morris, and the Wolverines defeated the Buckeyes in the Horseshoe 26-24!
- Harbaugh became the first Michigan quarterback to throw 277 passes and complete 180 passes in the same season in 1986.
- Jim Harbaugh was also the first Michigan signal caller to record 8 games of at least 200 passing yards in 1986. He was also the first to post 12 games of 200 or more passing yards in a career.
- Harbaugh was the first Wolverine signal caller to throw for over 2,700 yards in one season in 1986 when he finished with 2,729 yards. He was also the first Michigan Man to end his career with 5,449 passing yards!
- Jim Harbaugh was the first Michigan QB to average 209.9 yards per game in 1986. He was also the first Wolverine QB to average 175.8 yards for a career.
- Harbaugh was the first Michigan quarterback to record 387 completions in a career.
- Jim Harbaugh was the first Wolverine signal caller to record two straight seasons with a QB “efficiency rating” of over 150. (157.0 in 1985 and 151.7 in 1986).
- Harbaugh was the first Michigan quarterback to post a career “efficiency rating” of 145.6 from 1983 to1986. (This is still second on the all-time list to Elvis Grbac who finished at 148.1)
- James Joseph Harbaugh was the first Michigan quarterback to record 11 passing games of 150-yards or more in a single season in 1986. He was also the first to record 19 for a career.
- Harbaugh was also the first Michigan signal caller to record 8 games of at least 200 passing yards in 1986.
Yes, all those impressive numbers helped James Joseph Harbaugh lead the Wolverines to an overall record of 21 wins, 3 losses and 1 tie from 1985 to 1986. The Wolverines went 15-3-1 in the Big Ten and won a Big Ten Title with Harbaugh on the field. Michigan’s winning rate with Jim Harbaugh at quarterback was almost eighty-two percent (.817).
Fortunately, I was a season ticket holder for the last two seasons of James Joseph Harbaugh’s Michigan playing career. I knew he was good, but I had forgotten how good he really was. So, today’s post helped me wrap my mind around Coach Harbaugh’s wonderful accomplishments as an All-American Michigan quarterback. I sincerely hope that James Joseph Harbaugh has a very happy birthday today. Hopefully, he will take some time to enjoy some cake and ice cream on his special day! Go Blue!
Check out the longest touchdown pass that Jim Harbaugh ever threw at Michigan – 77-yards to John Kolesar to nail down a win against the Buckeyes in 1985! Wow – he took a BIG HIT, but made a great play! Thanks to the Wolverine Historian for this memorable video! Go Blue!