After Michigan defeated Ohio State 45-23 on Saturday, linebacker Michael Barrett grabbed a giant Michigan flag and ran the width of the end zone, waving it in front of the remaining Wolverines fans at the stadium.
The Michigan players then ran up the field with the giant flag flapping behind them, only to land at midfield, where they planted the flag on the block “O” emblem at the 50-yard line. It was reminiscent of Baker Mayfield planting the Oklahoma flag after the Sooners beat Ohio State 31-16 early in the 2017 season.
The move by Mayfield caused a stir and irritation from the Ohio State players, so Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was asked how he felt after his players did the same.
“I want to get that flag and put it in our museum,” Harbaugh said.
He didn’t articulate how it actually made him feel or if he thought it was a bad idea, but he mentioned that anything goes in this historic rivalry.
“I think there’s already plenty of fuel to the rivalry,” Harbaugh said. “They have songs, the one about they don’t give a damn about the whole state of Michigan. It’s all good. It’s been going on for a century, don’t you think?
“It’s all good.”
It’s not the first time a team has taunted the other in this rivalry. Then-offensive coordinator Josh Gattis said Ohio State was a finesse team and not a power team on the radio after last season’s win. It was reported that coach Ryan Day told his players they would hang 100 points on Michigan before the 2020 game, but this year was different, with minimal bulletin board material provided until Michigan planted its flag.
Instead of vitriol or disdain, Harbaugh said he and his team were grateful for their opponent prior to Saturday’s game and kept most of his comments complimentary towards the Buckeyes.
Those comments go along with the mantra Harbaugh has been preaching, that this season has been called a happy mission and referring to his players as happy warriors. It was all smiles after the win over Ohio State, and that mantra of being happy and grateful is the same mindset they’ll take to Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship game.
“It just seemed very reflective how we’re all feeling going about our day-to-day. It wasn’t a grim mission; it wasn’t filled with any anxiety or fear,” Harbaugh said. “I would just watch them go about their business in meetings and workouts and practices, and they looked happy. They looked like they had a bounce in their step and it really resonated with me that that’s what it looked like.”
The happy mission continues as the win kept Michigan undefeated and propelled the Wolverines into the Big Ten championship against Purdue for a chance at the first outright back-to-back Big Ten titles since 1992.