Michigan’s game against Northwestern last week did not get off to an easy start.
In the blink of an eye, the Wolverines were trailing 17-0. The offense couldn’t sustain a drive and Michigan’s defense allowed three scores in the first three possessions.
Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson did what all great quarterbacks do. He weathered the storm.
The possession after Michigan went down 17-0, Patterson led the Wolverines on a seven-play, 79 yard touchdown drive. Now it’s impossible to say for sure, but had Michigan not scored on that drive the game may have gotten out of hand. Especially because after that drive, Michigan had two consecutive drives ending with punts before scoring again. Had Michigan ended the first half with zero points, the momentum going into the second half may have been much different.
The story of Patterson’s day against Northwestern was his ability to make big plays when they needed him most. As mentioned above, Michigan had the key response drive after going down 17-0. In the second half, Michigan’s drives ended with field goal, field goal, punt, touchdown and a punt on the last drive as the clock was running down and Patterson had just made a huge play to extend the drive.
Patterson’s stats for the day were 15/24 with 0 TDs, 0 INTs, a QBR of 78.6 and a passer rating of 131.5.
In total, Patterson had 25 good or neutral plays, five bad plays and one great play.
Patterson was by no means perfect. He had some throws that he would like to have back, just as he will in almost every Big Ten game this season. He ultimately didn’t have any turnovers which is crucial in a game as close as this one was.
This throw on 3rd and goal was definitely one he wishes he could have back. He tried to squeeze the ball into a really tight window and ended up over throwing it and it almost took points off the board the Wolverines.
Another red zone throw he would want to redo was on 3rd and goal when he should have thrown a lob pass in the corner to Grant Perry and he instead threw a pass that was too much of a line drive and it sailed over Perry's head.
Patterson also had some awesome plays. In the fourth quarter with the Wolverines trailing 17-13 and needing a touchdown to take the lead, Patterson threw an absolute missile over the middle to Zach Gentry. The pass went in between a bunch of Northwestern defenders and had just enough velocity to get to Gentry. Michigan ended up scoring a touchdown a few plays later.
With a minute left in the third quarter Michigan trailed 17-10 and Patterson made a great throw over the middle to Nick Eubanks for a big gain that put Michigan in the red zone. That drive resulted in a field goal.
All in all, it was a good day for Patterson in which he stepped up big when he had to and played fantastic in the fourth quarter. He grades out for the day with a score of 81/100.