Nobody relished Michigan’s 27-20 overtime win over Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal more than Jim Harbaugh’s daughter, Grace, on Monday night.
Grace Harbaugh posted a message on her Instagram Stories seemingly directed at the critics and naysayers of Michigan amid the controversies and hurdles the team faced over the last few months.
“Evil Empire laughing all the way to the natty,” she wrote.
The Wolverines started the 2023 season without Jim Harbaugh on the sidelines as the school self-imposed a three-game suspension on him over recruiting violations. Then, Harbaugh was suspended for the final three games of the season over sign-stealing accusations involving staff members.
Michigan’s coaching staff would undergo a shakeup over the sign-stealing scandal, possibly putting their season in jeopardy. But in Harbaugh’s absence, the players, along with the assistant coaches, stepped up and won out. Michigan topped Maryland and Ohio and then went on to win the Big Ten Championship against Iowa.
After Monday’s win, Michigan now has a date with Washington in the national championship.
“If ever a game was going to be won up front, it was going to be won with toughness and physicality,” Harbaugh said of his team. “Our guys were just there in rhythm and got it done. Epic game. Epic game. The stick-togetherness. I guess what people don’t know – how could they know? – what the togetherness is like. There’s just nothing that can separate these guys.”
Harbaugh and Michigan are one game away from reaching the goal ultimately set by Harbaugh when he took the reins at his alma mater in 2015. Harbaugh didn’t win a conference title in his first six seasons, but has Michigan back on top since 2021.
“We broke through after the COVID year, getting here,” Wolverines linebacker Michael Barrett said. “We fell short a couple of times, man, but finally doing this, especially against Alabama, especially with a great coach like Nick Saban, great athletes they have, just having this tone-setting win, it’s definitely a turning point for the program.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.