The Wolverine

2020 Football Preview

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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BY CLAYTON SAYFIE T he 2019 campaign was filled with ups and downs for Michigan. The Wolverines broke in a new of- fense under coordinator Josh Gat- tis, looking to modernize their attack with a spread look and higher tempo. With a new system came growing pains. Michigan was plagued by turnovers early in the season, giving the ball away 13 times in its first six games, including a season-high four in a 35-14 loss at Wisconsin. If need- ing double-overtime at home to beat Army (24-21) wasn't a wake-up call, getting blown out by the Badgers in the Big Ten opener was. Despite the early setback, the Wolverines showed great improvement on both sides of the ball as the year went on. They were able to win seven of their next eight games, including blowout victories over rivals Notre Dame (45-14 Oct. 26) and Michigan State (44-10 Nov. 16). In the second half of the season, Gattis' group made good on the "Speed In Space" promise he brought to Michigan, highlighted by senior quarterback Shea Patterson's three straight games with more than 300 passing yards (Michigan State, Indiana and Ohio State). Defensive coordinator Don Brown's unit improved, too, after allowing 359 rush- ing yards to Wisconsin, tightening up and allowing less than 300 total yards to each of the next seven opponents. However, in the end, Michigan wasn't up to speed enough to beat the elite teams on its schedule, with crucial mistakes hurting the Maize and Blue in a 56-27 loss to Ohio State and inconsistent play resulting in a 35-16 defeat at the hands of Alabama in the Citrus Bowl. The Wolverines have won nine or more games in four of head coach Jim Harbaugh's first five seasons, but have still yet to beat Ohio State, win the Big Ten (their last league crown came in 2004) or make the College Football Playoff. 201 019 140 ■ THE WOLVERINE 2020 FOOTBALL PREVIEW THE YEAR THE YEAR IN REVIEW IN REVIEW Michigan Takes Down Two Rivals, But Is Still Striving To Beat Ohio State Senior left guard Ben Bredeson played in 50 career games in a winged helmet, with 46 starts, and became a stalwart blocker. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL

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