The Wolverine

February 2020*

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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FEBRUARY 2020 THE WOLVERINE 37   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL Three Best Players 1. Freshman running back Zach Charbonnet He ran for 84 yards on only 13 car- ries (6.5 yards per attempt) and ap- peared to be fully healthy for the first time since September, piling up the most yards he had tallied in a game since compiling 116 in the Oct. 12 win at Illinois. Charbonnet did almost all his damage in the first two quarters alone, tearing up the Crimson Tide defense for 73 yards on 10 carries prior to the break. 2. Fifth-year senior linebacker Jordan Glasgow He racked up 10 tackles, which were the second most on the team (behind senior safety Josh Metellus' 11) and tied for the third most he had accumulated in a game this season. The fifth-year senior also chipped in a stop behind the line of scrimmage, which occurred on a highlight reel hit when he sniffed out an Alabama screen with 5:26 remaining in the first quarter. 3. Freshman wideout Giles Jackson His 57 receiving yards led the Maize and Blue, while his four receptions were tied with sophomore wideout Ronnie Bell and junior wide receiver Nico Collins for the team lead. Jackson produced two of the biggest plays for the Wolver- ines on the afternoon, reeling in a 40-yard reception late in the first quarter and taking the game's opening kickoff 50 yards to midfield. Key Play With Michigan leading Alabama 13-7 and 4:21 to go in the second quarter, the Crimson Tide took a snap from the U-M 26-yard line looking to convert on third-and-10. Sophomore defensive end Aidan Hutchinson got excellent pressure on the play and crushed redshirt sophomore quarterback Mac Jones just as he released the ball. Jones' pass flew harmlessly out of bounds, and it appeared as if the Crimson Tide would be forced to settle for a 43-yard field goal try. The officials instead called Hutchinson for a controversial roughing the passer penalty, giving Alabama a first down and new life. Junior running back Najee Harris found the end zone two plays later on a nine-yard touchdown run to give the Crimson Tide a 14-13 lead and the momentum it had been lacking for much of the first half. Granted, the Wolverines took a 16-14 lead into the break, but Hutchinson's roughing the passer penalty swung the game and allowed Alabama to primarily control the contest from that point on. Best Highlight With the Wolverines trailing 7-0 and 8:28 remaining in the first quarter, they lined up to take a first-and-10 shotgun snap at their own 48-yard line. Before snapping the ball, se- nior quarterback Shea Patterson nonchalantly stood behind senior right guard Mike Onwenu, as if he wasn't even paying attention to the play. Redshirt freshman running back Hassan Haskins lined up in Patter- son's vacated place, meanwhile, and took the direct snap six yards behind the line of scrimmage before darting straight ahead. Patterson returned to his original quarterback spot just as Haskins pitched him the ball, with a beautifully designed flea flicker clearly in the works. The senior quarterback scanned the field as Michigan's front five held Alabama's defensive line at bay, be- fore rocketing a dart to a wide open Donovan Peoples-Jones at the Crim- son Tide 35-yard line. The junior wide receiver made it all the way down to the Alabama 18-yard line before be- ing forced out of bounds, leading to a U-M touchdown two plays later. The flea flicker resulted in a 34-yard gain, and was the first time Michigan's offense had run the play in a game all year. Surprise Performer Redshirt junior kicker Quinn Nordin gets the nod here, thanks to his 3-of-3 showing on field goals in the Citrus Bowl and the consistency he displayed to end the year. The redshirt junior had failed to connect on any of his three attempts through the first two months of the season, but ended the campaign by making his final 10, including successful kicks from 36, 42 and 57 yards against the Crim- son Tide. The 57-yarder in the second quarter matched a school record, with Hayden Epstein also connecting on a 57-yard kick against Michigan State in 2001. Bold Prediction Michigan will enter the 2020 campaign ranked in the top 10 of the preseason Associated Press poll. The Maize and Blue will have offensive question marks surrounding their quarterback spot with Patterson graduating and up front with four offensive line starters departing, but appear to be in adequate shape at every other position on the roster. The Wolverines' 2020 quarterback (likely either redshirt sophomore Dylan McCaffrey or redshirt freshman Joe Mil- ton) will have a plethora of offensive weapons to work with, highlighted by a running back stable that returns both Charbonnet and redshirt freshman Hassan Haskins (1,348 combined rushing yards in 2019), a group of receivers that welcomes back the 1,487-yard tandem of Bell and Collins, and a tight end unit that will once again be headlined by redshirt junior tight end Nick Eubanks (25 receptions for 243 yards and four touchdowns this year). U-M's defense is losing five starters, but defensive coordi- nator Don Brown has shown a consistent ability to reload en route to his first four defenses in Ann Arbor each finishing among the top 11 nationally. — Austin Fox Superlatives For The Loss To Alabama In The Citrus Bowl Freshman running back Zach Charbonnet rushed for 84 yards on only 13 carries (6.5 yards per attempt) against the Crimson Tide. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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