Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Karan Higdon. Higdon was a game-time decision in this game, and he ended up sitting out the contest. The Wolverines struggled to run the football, even if the overall numbers ended up okay due to SMU wearing down in the second half. Leading rusher Chris Evans had 18 carries for 85 to lead the team, but his day ended with his game-high 35-yard run in the third quarter, which saw him grab his right hamstring area and go down. Whether it was a cramp (hopefully) or a hamstring tear, it left Michigan with walk-on Tru Wilson and sophomore O’Maury Samuels handling the load for the remainder of the game. Higdon should be back for next week if he was a game-time decision two days ago, but Michigan needs him back.
Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Tru Wilson. I think Wilson is probably the best pass blocker of all the running backs, so I don’t want to see him disappear entirely from the rotation. While he averaged 4.8 yards/carry (11 carries for 53 yards and 1 TD), Michigan needs some other guys to step up. Wilson isn’t particularly quick or powerful, and he generally seems to just get what the offensive line gives him and nothing more.
Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Brandon Watson. Watson has been playing very well as the third corner, and he might even be playing better than the starters. He left the game on Saturday with cramps, and SMU seemed to have more success in the passing game after he left. Hopefully Watson is ready to go next Saturday.
Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . the head zebra. Michigan was penalized 13 times for 137 yards, which is a ridiculous number for a college game. Four of those penalties were for pass interference (Josh Metellus, Tyree Kinnel, Lavert Hill, Josh Ross), one was a questionable late hit out of bounds (Jordan Glasgow), one was a late hit on the QB (Aidan Hutchinson), and another was targeting (Khaleke Hudson). Those are seven (7!!!) penalties that are all 15-yarders. That won’t fly against better teams.
Play of the game . . . Josh Metellus’s 73-yard interception return for a touchdown. SMU had a scoring opportunity going into the half when they tried to run a wheel route down the offense’s left sideline. Metellus, who had struggled up to that point in this game, got a great jump on the route and picked it off. He sprinted down the sideline, got a great block from Aidan Hutchinson, and then cut back to the middle of the field to get in the endzone. When he caught the ball, there were about 14 seconds remaining on the clock, and time ran out as soon as he scored, so getting tackled down inside the 5-yard line may have run out the clock without giving the Wolverines a chance to score.
Player of the game . . . Shea Patterson. Patterson was 14/18 for 237 yards, 3 touchdowns, and 1 interception. He also ran 6 times for 20 yards. Though his one interception was maddening, as it came in the red zone in a 0-0 tie during the first quarter, the rest of his day was pretty flawless. He made some pinpoint throws to Zach Gentry (4 catches for 95 yards) and Donovan Peoples-Jones (4 catches for 90 yards and all 3 touchdowns), particularly a back-shoulder fade to Peoples-Jones that other quarterbacks over the past couple years have not been able to make.
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