Speaking during his postgame news conference, Harbaugh remarked that his team was motivated by some trash talk ahead of the 117th playing of The Game. Then he added his own spice to the rivalry.
“There’s definitely stuff people said that spurred us on,” he said. “Sometimes people that are standing on third base think they hit a triple, but they didn’t.”
Harbaugh’s statement was widely seen as a response to reported comments made by Day last year.
Bucknuts.com reported in August 2020 that Day told his team that they would “hang 100” on Michigan after he and Harbaugh got into a disagreement on a teleconference with other Big Ten coaches.
When asked about the address from 15 months ago, Day declined comment, but he didn’t refute anything.
“I appreciate the question,” Day said, “but I’d rather not answer that right now.”
Day in 2019 notably succeeded former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, who had rebuilt the Ohio State program after a 6-7 season in 2011, then went 83-9 in his tenure and won all seven games in the series against the Wolverines. Day was previously the offensive coordinator on Meyer’s staff for two seasons.
Meyer was 4-0 against Harbaugh, who returned to lead his alma mater in 2015, while Day won his first matchup in 2019. Last season’s game was canceled due to a coronavirus outbreak within the Wolverines’ program.
The reported comments by Day appeared to be on the minds of Michigan in the aftermath of their first triumph in the rivalry in a decade.
Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson specifically cited them when he addressed reporters and suggested they served as motivation.
“These guys have been disrespecting us,” Hutchinson said. “Stepping on our jerseys. Talking about hanging a 100 on us. Doing all the rah-rah and doing all the talk. But we were about it today.”
Follow Joey Kaufman on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.