No. 12 Michigan dominates No. 15 Wisconsin in statement win

Yahoo Sports
Michigan quarterback <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/ncaaf/players/263176/" data-ylk="slk:Shea Patterson">Shea Patterson</a> (2) rushes for 81 yards in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson (2) rushes for 81 yards in the second quarter of an NCAA college football game against Wisconsin in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Oct. 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)

No. 12 Michigan made a statement on Saturday night.

The Wolverines welcomed No. 15 Wisconsin to the Big House and emerged with a 38-13 victory. Michigan won the game with a familiar formula: a bruising rushing attack (320 yards on 48 carries), an efficient passing game (Shea Patterson completed 14-of-20 passes) and a dominant defense.

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It was a win that will vault the Wolverines back into a prominent part of the College Football Playoff conversation.

The Michigan defense was especially impressive

Alex Hornibrook, Wisconsin’s steady third-year starting quarterback, completed only six passes all game. Yes, six (well eight if you include interceptions; those are completions when you really think about it). Three of his actual completions came in the first quarter. The others came on Wisconsin’s scoring drive in the final minutes with the game completely out of reach.

Hornibrook was held without a completion from the 1:58 mark of the first quarter until there was just 4:48 left in the fourth. In between, he was intercepted twice, directly leading to 10 Michigan points. His first interception allowed Michigan to tack on a field goal and take a 13-7 lead at halftime.

His second interception came on a great play by Lavert Hill early in the fourth. Hornibrook was hit as he delivered a pass and Hill snatched it out of the air with one hand before reeling off a 21-yard pick six.


Shea Patterson got the offense going with his legs

After a scoreless first quarter, it was a run from Shea Patterson that got the Wolverines on the board.

Michigan held the ball for 7:24 on its first drive, but came up empty because of a missed field goal. Patterson wasn’t going to let that happen on the next drive. Patterson showed off his wheels with an 81-yard scamper all the way from the Michigan 14 to the Wisconsin 5-yard line. Two plays later, Michigan took a 7-0 lead on a Karan Higdon touchdown run.


To open the second half, a seven-yard Patterson touchdown run capped off a 10-play, 75-yard drive.

Patterson, who finished with 90 yards on the ground, showed he is a more versatile player than some may think. The fact that Patterson presents a running threat makes Michigan’s offense much more dynamic than what we’ve seen from Jim Harbaugh in previous years.

Michigan could make a big jump in the rankings

With losses from teams like No. 2 Georgia, No. 6 West Virginia, No. 7 Washington and No. 8 Penn State, the Wolverines have plenty of room to make a sizable jump in the rankings. It will be deserved.

Since dropping its opening game on the road to Notre Dame, which improved to 7-0 on Saturday, Michigan has won six in a row. Aside from the comeback 20-17 victory over Northwestern, the Wolverines have won each of those games handily.

Saturday night’s game sets was the first of a huge three-game stretch for the Wolverines. Next on the schedule is a trip to East Lansing to face Michigan State. The Spartans improved to 4-2 with an upset over Penn State in Happy Valley. Two weeks later (following a bye), the Nittany Lions will visit Ann Arbor.

Those games give UM a chance to add two quality wins in the Big Ten East. And if the Wolverines take care of business in those games, Indiana and Rutgers follow before a showdown against mighty Ohio State on Nov. 24 in Columbus.

If the Wolverines and Buckeyes keep winning, that came could decide the division and ultimately who represents the Big Ten in the College Football Playoff.

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