Michigan finally didn't fumble on the first drive! (against Rutgers)
Shea Patterson scored 4 touchdowns! (against Rutgers)
The defense, after being run over by Jonathan Taylor last week, pitched a shut out! (against Rutgers)
This will be the narrative for Michigan Football all week. A 52-0 win is something to be proud of, but you won't read into it because it's Rutgers.
I understand that this win is far from the proverbial "goal posts" that have been set for Michigan this year. And I don't blame you for not getting excited for a win over a team that has been shut out 9 times since joining the B1G Conference.
Still, there are a lot of positives to build off of after this win:
The Offense Clicked
Speed. In. Space.
That's what has been preached to Wolverine fanatics all season long. They're gonna go hurry up. They're gonna run RPO. They have the best O-Line Harbaugh has ever seen. Patterson is gonna light it up.*
*If they hold on to the football*
Seriously, when Ben Mason fumbled the ball away last weekend in the red zone, my jaw dropped. I didn't think there was any way Michigan would fumbled on their first drive in three consecutive games at the beginning of the season. I knew Urban Meyer was right when he predicted an early struggle when adapting to the RPO scheme. But 3 straight opening drive fumbles?! It looked familiar...
Sorry, I couldn't help myself. But, I did make reference to it on twitter last weekend. And I am happy to say, that Michigan finally held on to the ball on the opening drive today.
Not only did they hang on to the ball, but they scored!
Shea Patterson connected with Nico Collins for a 48 yd. touchdown pass for a quick 7-0 lead. He went on to score 3 more on the ground, and under-threw Peoples-Jones once for the only turnover Michigan had all game. It was a statement performance by Shea.
If you don't think that Patterson is the right guy under center, I'm not going to argue with you on that. However, this performance was uplifting for the entire offensive unit. Nick Eubanks said last week that the first fumble destroyed any morale the team had. Players hung their heads and quickly saw a 21-pt. deficit. This week, Patterson performed up to standard. Dylan McCaffery wasn't on the sidelines breathing down his neck due to being in concussion protocol, and Offensive Coordinator Josh Gattis, left the booth to be on the sidelines with his guys.
College football is an emotional game. Everyone in Michigan praises Mark D'Antonio for getting his guys ready to play against more talented opponents. Maybe having Josh Gattis on the sideline is the key. A moral backbone for the offensive unit. A guy that ensures his players don't hang their heads. Last week, I said I wanted the Jim Harbaugh back that would throw his headset, break clipboards and scream at refs. Today, Harbaugh and Gattis both showed much needed emotion in front of his guys.
I'm not saying that Michigan is back to where they're supposed to be after beating Rutgers, but this game may prove to be more important than a bye week. This was a much needed confidence booster for the Don Brown's defense, and Josh Gattis' offense.
Can they compete in this Conference? We'll see next weekend for Homecoming against the #14 Iowa Hawkeyes.
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