The Wolverine

December 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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DECEMBER 2018 THE WOLVERINE 37   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL Three Best Players 1. Junior quarterback Shea Patterson He played incredibly efficient football against Michigan State, Penn State and Rutgers, respectively, and was a huge reason Michigan won those three contests by a combined score of 105-21. The junior connected on 43 of 69 passes (62.3 percent), while averaging 205.3 passing yards per contest and throwing seven touchdown passes and no in- terceptions during that span. Patterson finally showed off his rushing abilities as well (24 yards against MSU and 42 against Penn State), and consis- tently displayed a knack to move the chains with his feet. 2. Senior running back Karan Higdon The senior went over the 1,000-yard mark when he racked up 42 yards in the 42-7 win at Rutgers Nov. 10. Higdon had a chance to tie Mike Hart's school record of eight consecutive 100-yard outings (set in 2007) if he would have hit the century mark against the Scarlet Knights, but saw his streak instead come to a halt. Prior to that, though, he tallied 144 yards against the Spar- tans and 132 versus the Nittany Lions, carrying a combined 53 times against the two opponents. 3. Junior linebacker Devin Bush Jr. He has been on a tear all season, and continued his torrid play from Oct. 20 through Nov. 10. Bush was a menace in the 21-7 victory over MSU with a sack, before leading the team in tackles with seven the following game against Penn State. He posted another tackle for loss and two pass breakups against the Scarlet Knights Nov. 10. His blazing speed and textbook tackling abilities were a big reason the Spartans and Nittany Lions only rushed for a combined 83 yards against the Wolverines. Key Play Michigan and Michigan State were deadlocked at 7-7 late in the third quarter of the Oct. 20 contest in East Lansing, and neither team was having success moving the ball in what had turned into a rain-soaked affair. With yards hard to come by, Michigan began a drive at its own 21-yard line with just 2:35 remaining in the third quarter. Patterson took a snap from shotgun and immediately threw deep down the right sideline to sophomore wideout Donovan Peoples-Jones, who was being single covered by MSU sophomore cornerback Tre Person. The receiver caught the perfectly thrown pass in stride at U-M's 47-yard line and dodged a diving shoestring tackle attempt by Person. Peoples-Jones then ran untouched the rest of the way into the end zone to give the Wolverines a 14-7 lead, and the team never looked back from that point on en route to a 21-7 victory. Best Highlight Michigan led Penn State 7-0 midway through the second quarter of the Nov. 3 showdown in Ann Arbor, and faced a crucial third-and-seven at the Nittany Lions' 23-yard line. Patterson took the snap, rolled to his right and rocketed the ball toward the corner of the end zone where only Peoples- Jones could catch it. The sophomore wideout grabbed the football just before he went tumbling out of bounds, but still somehow man- aged to get both feet down. The score gave U-M a 14-0 advantage, and Peoples-Jones celebrated by running along the back of the end zone flailing his arms, mimicking the celebration that former PSU running back Saquon Barkley had made popular the year before. Surprise Performer Junior linebacker Josh Uche gets the nod here. When junior defensive end Rashan Gary was forced to miss the entire month of October with injury, it allowed Uche to emerge in a big way. He basically turned into a pass-rushing specialist in Don Brown's defense, tallying two sacks at Michigan State, be- fore following it up with two more in the team's next game against Penn State. Uche actually led the team in sacks (seven) and was tied for second in tackles for loss (eight) as of Nov. 12. Bold Prediction Michigan will beat Ohio State in Columbus Nov. 24 and then top Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship Game the following week to secure a spot in the College Football Playoff. Some people may not see that as very "bold" con- sidering U-M's No. 4 ranking in the CFP committee's eyes (as of Nov. 12), but grabbing a victory in Columbus will be no small task. If the Wolverines are able to take down the Buckeyes, an- other challenge will await from a Wildcat team who only lost to U-M by three the first time the two teams met Sept. 29. — Austin Fox SUPERLATIVES FOR GAMES EIGHT THROUGH TEN Sophomore wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones' 79-yard touch- down reception late in the third quarter sparked the Wolverines to a 21-7 win at Michigan State Oct. 20. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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