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September 30, 2019 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily

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The Michigan Daily | michigandaily.com | September 30, 2019

Michigan destroys Rutgers, Knights fire coach in aftermath

In the fourth quarter, up 38

points, Michigan went for it on

fourth down.

The Wolverines’ latest scoring

drive had been courtesy of third-

string quarterback Joe Milton


back Hassan Haskins. Facing

fourth-and-goal at the one-yard

line with the game all but over,

Michigan could’ve been forgiven

for mailing it in and kicking the

field goal. Instead, Milton ran a

bootleg, scored a touchdown and

mocked ripping open his shirt, a

la Superman.

Last week, in a blowout loss

to Wisconsin, the 20th-ranked

Wolverines (3-1 overall, 1-1 Big

Ten) seemed to lack confidence

and, more than that, killer

instinct. While it’s hard to prove

much against Rutgers (1-3, 0-2),

likely the worst team in the Big

Ten, Saturday proved about

as good a redemption game

as Michigan could’ve hoped

for. It played like a team with

something to prove, running up

the score in a 52-0 win. It was

the team’s first shutout since


“Definitely helps us a lot as a

team get that confidence back,”

said sophomore linebacker Cam

McGrone. “Because last week

was a little down but this game

with this goose egg, it definitely

lifted our spirits.”


quarterback Shea Patterson’s job

reached a fever pitch after last

week’s setback, but Michigan

coach Jim Harbaugh kept the

faith in his signal-caller, and a

week after not even completing


completed 17-of-23 passes for 276

yards, throwing a touchdown

and running for three more.

Offensive coordinator Josh

Gattis spent the game calling

plays on the sideline instead

of from the box, wanting to be

a little more hands-on. And

though Rutgers hardly offered

a test, the move seemed to

help. Patterson seemed more

comfortable in the pocket, ably

scrambling and making plays

with his feet. Michigan trusted

its receivers to make plays —

the combination of juniors Nico

Collins, Donovan Peoples-Jones

and Tarik Black. That trio, along

with sophomore Ronnie Bell,

combined for 14 catches for

248 yards in what could be the

beginning of a more involved

passing game. That was evident

from the first two drives.

In each of the past three

games, Michigan fumbled its

opening drive away. But this

week, on the fifth play of the

drive, Patterson found an open

Nico Collins along the sideline.

Collins then turned upfield and

ran for a 48-yard touchdown.

After forcing a three-and-out,

the Wolverines got the ball

back and — after the Scarlet

Knights extended the drive

with two defensive penalties —

Patterson perfectly placed a ball

to Peoples-Jones just short of

the end zone. Two plays later, on

third-and-goal, Patterson took it

in himself on a bootleg.


Peoples-Jones said. “Everybody

wanted to make a play.”

And even when things didn’t

quite go right, the Wolverines

fought through it in a way they

couldn’t last week. When the

defense struggled in a late-

first quarter drive, sophomore

defensive end Aidan Hutchinson

hit Scarlet Knights quarterback

Artur Sitkowski and stopped

him short on fourth down from

the 5-yard line. After Patterson

threw a red-zone interception

in the third quarter, the defense

stopped Rutgers on fourth-and-1

at its own 41-yard line, then the

offense marched down the field.

Bell fought for every extra yard

after a catch in the third quarter

and pushed his defenders all the

way to the 1-yard line, setting up

a Patterson quarterback sneak

for Michigan’s fifth touchdown

of the day.

“There was a lot of trust

there,” Harbaugh said. “Players

trusting the coaches, coaches

trusting the players, and a lot of

work. It was good to see it pay

off in a victory that was much


After the debacle in Madison,

it was just the kind of win the

Wolverines needed, and even

with all caveats attached, they

played with the kind of spark

that was missing the first three

weeks. They wore the Scarlet

Knights down to a pulp and



At least for a day, all the


Michigan quieted to a hush.

Daily Sports Editor


September 30, 2019 | michigandaily.com


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