on point [Patrick Barron]

11/10/2018 – Michigan 42, Rutgers 7 – 9-1, 7-0 Big Ten

Confronted with every option for intrigue Michigan vs Rutgers could provide, BTN went with "who is Michigan's backup quarterback now?" The pre-game studio show teased it. The announce team mentioned it in the first quarter. There were multiple sideline shots of Joe Milton warming up next to Brandon Peters warming up. When the moment came, Peters entered, handed off to Chris Evans for a long touchdown, and was immediately replaced by Milton.

The prospect that Harbaugh was trolling BTN's angle crossed my mind. He almost certainly wasn't, but, it's not like he had anything else to do. In the aftermath of the game he praised Rutgers for not giving up ten yards a play and called Chris Ash "Rob Ash."

Rutgers. Whatever. Good… bad… Rob Ash is not the guy with the gun.


There is one bit of meaning that you might chisel out of the grim slab of a game against Rutgers. Michigan explicitly instructed Shea Patterson not to pull the ball, resulting in a fair number of runs wiped out near the line of scrimmage and a steady stream of third and mediums. Then they dialed up a bunch of high degree-of-difficulty throws.

Patterson nailed almost every one of them. He was flushed from the pocket away from his throwing arm; he calmly checked three options and hit Donovan Peoples-Jones on the third. DPJ hauled in a chunk fade on the sideline on another rollout left by the right-handed Patterson. Nico Collins got an inch-perfect back-shoulder fade for his second touchdown. Zach Gentry was permitted to explore the upper edges of the #buttzone on a seam. Oliver Martin had one TD doink off his facemask before scoring one on a two-man-route, max-protection throw from the Rutgers 16; Patterson slalomed through several defenders before finding literally the only option on the field just before it exited said field.

It felt like Michigan was calling the grossest stuff in their playbook just to see what would happen. Who puts two guys in a pattern from the 16? Who calls a short-side rollout to the left for a right-handed quarterback? Given Harbaugh's history, a man trying to make a point. The fourth quarter of Michigan's Citrus Bowl demolition of Florida a few years back featured Jake Rudock making a bunch of throws designed to end up on his NFL reel. That too was the grossest stuff in the playbook.

The 2018 edition of this wasn't aimed at the NFL, but rather Patterson himself. Patterson was asked to sit in the pocket and find guys. He was asked to take a bunch of deep shots despite a difficult wind situation. Harbaugh:

"That was a really tough night to throw the ball. It reminded me of my days back at Soldier field some of those windy conditions. But he made some throws that were just unbelievable. Put in the right spot with the wind blowing and swirling.”

Some of those deep shots got pushed off course; a couple of back-shoulder attempts didn't quite come off. As the rest of Patterson's passes zinged home against a not-terrible secondary the ceiling on Michigan's offense might have come off. The faint outline of a Rudockening is now there, waiting to be confirmed or dis-confirmed in two weeks. Also against Indiana. But in two weeks.

A version of Patterson who's taking shots to his giant leapy crew of wideouts, a version that's sticking in the pocket long enough for Michigan's routes to complete, a version that's got the whole suite of throws down: that is the guy who might propel Michigan past Ohio State and into the playoff. The hesitant version of Patterson that's slightly frustrated during Michigan's revenge tour is less likely to do these things.

Harbaugh spent this game daring his quarterback to evolve. So far so good.




Known Friends and Trusted Agents Of The Week



-2535ac8789d1b499[1]you're the man now, dog

#1 Shea Patterson. See above. 18/27 for 260 yards and three TDs. Zero rushes. One more week to stay healthy.

#2 Donovan Peoples-Jones. DPJ nosed ahead of his compatriots with a tough catch down the sideline on the aforementioned Patterson rollout away from his throwing arm and a slant on which he was able to rumble for an extra ten yards despite four different Rutgers players hanging off of him.

#3(t) Nico Collins and Zach Gentry. Tough catches for each to convert first downs and, in Collins's case, score. One point each because the points are made up and don't matter.

Honorable mention: More or less the whole defense, which had Rutgers in turtle mode the whole day. Nobody really stood out as Michigan spread out the reps and TFLs.

KFaTAotW Standings.

10: Chase Winovich (#1 ND, #3 SMU, #1 NW, T2 MSU, T1 PSU).
8: Shea Patterson (#3 WMU, #1 Maryland, #3 PSU, #1 Rutgers).
5: Karan Higdon (#1 WMU, #3 Nebraska, #3 Wisconsin), Donovan Peoples-Jones(T1 SMU, #3 MSU, #2 Rutgers).
4: Devin Bush(#3 ND, #1 Nebraska), Rashan Gary(#2 WMU, #2 Nebraska), David Long(#2 Wisconsin, T1 Michigan State), Josh Uche (T2 NW, T2 MSU, T1 PSU), Jon Runyan Jr (T1 Wisconsin, T2 PSU), Zach Gentry(T1 SMU, #2 Maryland, T3 Rutgers).
3:  Juwann Bushell-Beatty(T1 Wisconsin), Jon Runyan Jr(T1 Wisconsin).
2: Ambry Thomas (#2 ND), Josh Metellus(#2 SMU), Brandon Watson(T1 MSU), Lavert Hill(T1 MSU).
1: Will Hart (#3 NW), Mike Dwumfour (T2 NW), Kwity Paye (T2 NW), Khaleke Hudson(#3 Maryland), Ben Bredeson(T2 PSU), Nico Collins(T3 Rutgers).

Who's Got It Better Than Us(?) Of The Week

Harbaugh's post-game press conference in which he noted that all of Michigan's injuries were minor.

Honorable mention: Eh, most of the rest of the game.


An 80 yard touchdown run from a guy whose name is misspelled allows Rutgers to close the first quarter 7-7.

Honorable mention: Karan Higdon cuts away from a first down on fourth and short; Ben Mason loses his mind on a short yardage run shortly after; various other Rutgers first downs.

[After THE JUMP: what happened on the 80-yarder]

1 hour and 29 minutes

The Sponsors

This show is presented by UGP & The Bo Store, and if it wasn’t for Rishi and Ryan nobody would get our jokes. Our other sponsors are also key to all of this: HomeSure Lending, Peak Wealth Management, Ann Arbor Elder Law, the Residence Inn Ann Arbor Downtown, the University of Michigan Alumni Association, Michigan Law Grad,Human Element, and Lantana Hummus


1. The Offense

starts at 1:00

Michigan takes passing practice, Shea locked on for 3rd down. Left a couple of posts to DPJ short but that Saquan Hampton made good plays. Higdon bad cuts: two in a row for the 4th down we didn’t get. Another bad bounce when a cut could have had 4. Tru was better at that. Long discussion on the receivers. Will DPJ get this FFFF star?

2. The Defense

starts at 27:18

Tried to tell you: Pacheko is the Chris Evans! Handing out negatives for the touchdown, a few other bad edge sets. WLB Sweepstakes was a solid win for Ross: thumpin hit but more impressive was taking down a TE in space in the early 4th. No Metellus no Solomon, Paye and Lavert Hill went out. Sad pass to Rescigno ruins the passing Rutger. Bush and Gary are still in for the 4th: Gary’s health vs half the people in the stands were Gary's friends and family.

3. Special Teams/Feelingsball

starts at 27:48

Coaches vs Kickoffs: Moody has discovered skying them to the 15 is the right spot to entice a bringout. Hudson somehow missed his block. Going for it on 4th was correct, woulda gone for it on 4th and 3 at the end of the half but it’s fine: Worst thing you can do is go into the half at 21-14. Roughing the Passer: Hit affected the arc of the ball. He hit him and momentum went to the ground. Poor Winovich. BAND RUTGER: Seth is mad on behalf of M fans who wanted tickets.

4. Around the Big Ten with Jamie Mac

Starts at 56:28

Iowa-Northwestern wasn’t exactly Bedlam, but Bowser gives them a running game on a night Thorson looked like a freshman again. Ferentz-Fant divorce. What the hell just happened game of the week: Minnesota dominates Purdue. IU survives a Maryland-has-an-offense-game (quarter scores read 6-9-8-9) to set up an Oaken Bucket for a bowl. MSU-OSU a derpfest until Dantonio throws the game. Lewerke is broken, Willekes dominated OSU’s OTs, OSU’s punter had a 4-yard punt and was the player of the game. FFFF’ing this game: three trouble spots on their OL? MSU receivers running open all game. Scary part: Ohio State can run the ball but if you move Haskins he doesn’t hit intermediate stuff and doesn’t want to be touched. Penn State dominated Wisconsin OL on passing downs. Nebraska-Illinois a battle of defenseless programs.


  • "Katamari on the Rocks"—Katamari Damacy Soundtrack
  • "Monkey & Bear"—Joanna Newsom
  • "The Big Rob Song”—Vylet Pony
  • “Across 110th Street”


Dave you are getting a little big for your britches.

Poor Rob

I’m writing this — a football column on Michigan’s 42-7 win over Rutgers, in Piscataway — from the Crisler Center press box. And, well, the basketball game was more competitive. If you didn’t think it would be, you probably either overestimated the basketball team, or underestimated how terribly bad the Scarlet Knights are at playing football.


Jim Harbaugh tried his best to praise Rutgers after the game. He really, truly, tried his hardest. After being asked a question about the large contingent of Michigan fans that showed up in New Jersey, he turned it around to praise Scarlet Knights’ fans, and by proxy, the Scarlet Knights.


“Rutgers has a — that was a good — I thought their home fan base was really good,” Harbaugh said. “The team was really improved and competitive. That’s a competitive football team. They did as good a job of anybody at containing our running game and also really impressed with their young backs. And they run hard, those guys. Quarterback looked good, too. He made some real plays. That was a competitive game. Knew it would be, going in. We saw the way they played Northwestern. Saw the way they played Indiana. That’s a team that’s very close to breaking through and winning multiple games, consecutive games. Rob does a really good job with the team. Thought they had a really good plan offensively and defensively.”


Let’s parse this.


[After THE JUMP: Some parsing]


Jim Harbaugh talks to the media after Michigan's ... game? Yeah, that was a game. After Michigan's game against Rutgers.

[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Michigan's defense suffocated Holy Cross after a shaky start.

Rutgers cannon empty student section

Felt like a close blowout for a few minutes

liveblog fixed