It was a very slow start for Michigan and the Shea Patterson-led offense against SMU.
The unit started with a three-and-out. Then a five-play drive that led to a punt. Followed by a 12-play, 73-yard drive that ended with an interception at the goal line.
You could feel the frustration in the stadium.
UM quickly regrouped from the slow start and responded with a dominant stretch where they went on a streak of drives that ended with touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, field goal, touchdown.
It’s safe to say the Wolverines figured it out.
A large part of that success was due to Shea Patterson’s play. The Maize and Blue quarterback finished 14/18 with 237 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT with a QBR of 84.1 and a QB rating of 171.2.
After reviewing the film, Patterson had 13 good or neutral plays, nine great plays and two bad plays.
It was an impressive performance, especially after the slow start.
Patterson’s worst play of the game came early on, when he threw a pass over the middle right into coverage and it hit the SMU defender right in the hands, but bounced up in the air and ended up being caught by Oliver Martin for a gain of 19. It was a bad choice but he ended up getting lucky.
Patterson was not asked to do a lot until later on in the game. Michigan was giving Patterson some easy throws and trying to establish the run game for the first two drives.
Once they let Patterson loose, he made some great throws.
On the third Michigan drive, Patterson ran a play action and dropped an absolute dime to Zach Gentry in between defenders and right up against the sideline.
Another major positive for the Michigan offense was the Patterson-to-Donovan Peoples-Jones connection. The pair hooked up four times and three of them went for touchdowns.
The best one came late in the 3rd quarter with Michigan holding a 28-13 lead. Peoples-Jones used his elite speed to get behind the entire SMU defense on his route. Patterson saw the development, hit him right in his stride and Peoples-Jones caught it in the end zone for an easy touchdown.
Another really good connection between the two came in the red zone, a place where Michigan struggled to score in the air last season. The Wolverines only had nine passing touchdowns all year in 2017. It was a simple jump ball to Peoples-Jones and Patterson put it in the perfect spot, right off the back shoulder.
As a whole, Week 3 was Patterson’s strongest yet. He made some great throws, limited the mistakes and threw the ball deep. He also got Peoples-Jones going, Michigan’s highest ceiling receiver. Patterson grades out as a 92/100 for his Week 3 performance against SMU.