Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh stood at the podium and accepted responsibility for the Wolverines' struggles Saturday.

The scene bore all the makings of a normal press conference: Harbaugh standing there in a sweatshirt and khakis with his hands folded, speaking with as much of a filter as he can muster and giving short responses to injury questions. Rarely, though, has the Michigan coach been as direct as he was Monday afternoon. He took responsibility, and so did the players. He said, repeatedly, that the performance wasn’t acceptable, and that it starts with him. He said the effort wasn’t there on Saturday, giving the requisite cliches about believing in his team, with the caveat that, in all areas, things must improve — no excuses and no way around it.

Fifth-year senior linebacker Jordan Glasgow believes the team won't let the loss against Wisconsin define them.

Neither of those things guarantee that Michigan will do the same this year. After all, the Wolverines looked much worse against Wisconsin on Saturday than they did in their previous early-season losses. But Michigan players still remember that they’ve rebounded before, and going forward, the only thing left to do is believe they can do it again.

Nico Collins was targeted just once in the first three quarters against Wisconsin, before finishing with 66 yards.

MADISON — Tarik Black stopped on a dime, situated himself between two defensive backs and spotted Shea Patterson’s high-arching long ball. As it fell, he leapt to wrestle the ball from both defenders, securing a 32-yard gain and moving Michigan into Wisconsin territory.

The Michigan football team made the wrong kind of statement in its 35-14 loss to Wisconsin.

Now forced to pick up the pieces from a 35-14 drubbing in Madison, Michigan has to re-evaluate and re-calibrate. In doing so, it left plenty to digest about a season suddenly teetering on the brink. Here are four parting thoughts on a season now in peril.

Michigan rushed for just 40 yards against Wisconsin on Saturday.

The Wolverines came into Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday and got embarrassed, 35-14. The reason for that can be summed up many ways, but one stat was particularly telling: Michigan had 40 yards rushing, Wisconsin had 359.

Jim Harbaugh fell to 1-6 against ranked opponents on the road with Michigan's loss to Wisconsin.

But after Saturday, and Wisconsin’s 35-14 beatdown of the Wolverines, it’s hard to believe it won’t end that way. Not because anyone is consigned to anything. But because of what we saw on the field — a team that, right now, can’t hang with the class of the Big Ten and isn’t particularly close to being able to do so.

Senior quarterback Shea Patterson completed less than half of his passes in Michigan's 35-14 loss at Wisconsin.

MADISON — For a fleeting moment on Saturday, as Ronnie Bell streaked across an open field and into an unmanned secondary with only green grass ahead of him, it seemed like everything might be OK.

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor rushed for 203 yards against Michigan on Saturday.

MADISON — No matter who you asked, there was a phrase that reverberated through the Wisconsin press room Saturday afternoon.

“We just played Wisconsin football.”

Michigan's defense allowed 487 total yards in its loss to Wisconsin.

MADISON — Ten days ago, Don Brown stood in front of reporters, flashing his trademark energy and easily consumable sound bites to appease an apprehensive fanbase.


As the half mercifully came to a close, Wisconsin players paraded into the tunnel, while the two teams barked at each other. One side evoked swagger; the other reeked of frustration. One side owned the football field; the other belonged anywhere but.

Both knew the second half served as nothing more than a formality.