The Michigan Wolverines come into Saturday’s Rivalry Week matchup against No. 1 Ohio State riding the momentum of quarterback Shea Patterson and the rest of the offense.
No. 13 Michigan is unbeaten in its last four games and for second place in the Big Ten East with a record of 9-2 overall.
“The play of the offense has really jelled,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said. “All position groups are playing extremely well, and we’re riding the quarterback. He’s playing great.”
Patterson is looking to continue his successful 2019 campaign, which recently made him the first quarterback in Michigan history to throw four touchdown passes or more in consecutive games.
In the team’s last two games against Michigan State and Indiana, the senior has added 750 yards to his previous total of 1,773. He has completed 61 percent of his throws in his last eight games.
Wide receiver Nico Collins and offensive coordinator Josh Gattis will be key if Michigan is to upset Ohio State.
The two have developed a solid relationship that has been translating on the field recently, with Collins catching six passes for 165 yards in a win last week over Indiana – a single-game career best for the junior.
“The man is a beast,” said linebacker Josh Uche. “Everyone in the organization, we knew that. Anyone can be a practice All-American, but to see it come to fruition on game days is magical. To know what someone is capable of and seeing them execute is great to see.”
Gattis came to the Wolverines from Alabama in a last-minute switch, just before accepting a job at Maryland. Harbaugh reached out to Gattis, asking if he would consider Michigan, and within a matter of hours he had made the commitment.
The beginning of this season proved to be a struggle for Gattis and his players. Turnovers and missed opportunities were the underlying issue for an unproductive offense. Many credited the problem to the change in leadership. Gattis implemented an overall faster-paced system that took some time to ingrain.
However, in recent weeks it seems as though it has started to click for the Wolverines.
“There were some growing pains early on (this year),” said Patterson. “But we’ve made our adjustments.”
Though they have seen recent success, they have yet to face their biggest test of the season in Ohio State. Patterson will be up against OSU quarterback Justin Fields, who has thrown for 33 touchdowns against just one interception.
The Buckeye defense could also prove to be problematic for the Wolverines, as they have not given up more than 285 yards all season.
Michigan has not beaten OSU since 2011; and that was its only win in the last 15 tries in the series.
Defensive lineman Aidan Hutchinson said, “Obviously this game is the biggest of our schedule. We’re just going to come out here and do our thing. We don’t see them as unbeatable. Every team can be beat.”
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