Michigan QB gives nod with 'Free Harbaugh' shirt amid ban

Michigan Wolverines quarterback J.J. McCarthy wore a "FREE Harbaugh" shirt before and after Saturday's game in a nod to coach Jim Harbaugh, who is serving a school-imposed three-game suspension.

McCarthy wore the the Harbaugh No. 4 shirt with the word "FREE" written in marker on white tape above the coach's name as he got off the bus, 

during pregame warmups and during the postgame news conference.

The team lined up in Harbaugh's infamous train formation -- all aligned in a single file -- on the team's first offensive possession 

while the players held up four fingers in reference to Harbaugh's jersey number from his playing days with the Wolverines.

"That was definitely a tribute to Coach Harbaugh," McCarthy said. "That was pretty cool to do that."

Harbaugh's ban is part of the university's self-imposed sanctions from an NCAA investigation into improper recruiting contact and Harbaugh allegedly not cooperating with the NCAA.

Defensive coordinator Jesse Minter served as the acting head coach in Saturday's game, as offensive coordinator Sherrone Moore was also serving a one-game suspension related to the investigation. 

That didn't seem to slow down the Wolverines, including McCarthy, who threw for 280 yards and three touchdown passes in the win.

Harbaugh and Moore, according to McCarthy, watched Saturday's game together as they served their suspensions.

Harbaugh was able to coach the team during the week, and helped the staff with the game plan.

"When I saw him last night, it really really hit me that it's really going down," Minter said.


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