Michigan hold off SMU
Written by Matt Pargoff   

The Wolverines may have gotten more of a first half fight from SMU than fans were expecting, but a key interception at the end of the half and strong start after the break helped the Maize and Blue build up an advantage, ultimately moving forward with a 48-20 victory.

Michigan’s first three offensive possessions included two punts and an interception, but quarterback Shea Patterson found his rhythm, leading six straight scoring drives after the big mistake.

Patterson completed 14-of-18 passes in the game for 237 yards and three touchdowns, with wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones pulling in four catches for 90 yards and each of the three scores. Tight end Zach Gentry was also a favorite target, hauling in four receptions for 95 yards.

But while the offense helped the Wolverines distance themselves, it was the defense that sparked the separation. Stuck in a 14-7 battle with the Mustangs late in the first half, safety Josh Metellus was called for pass interference, moving SMU well into Michigan territory. On the next play though, Metellus stepped up, intercepting a pass and returning it 73 yards for a touchdown as time expired.

While it was not a banner day for the Michigan defense, giving up 319 yards, that turning point was key in the victory.

The Wolverines’ offense was without starting running back Karan Higdon due to injury, later losing backup Chris Evans as well. Following the game, head coach Jim Harbaugh said that Higdon not playing was a game-time decision, with the senior back dressed for action. Harbaugh noted that he did not know yet on Evans’ status, suggesting that it could be a “strain” or “cramps.”

Improving to 2-1 on the season, Michigan will open Big Ten play next week at noon, playing host to Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are off to a very rough start to year under new head coach Scott Frost, with the first game against Akron cancelled due to weather, and two losses since to Colorado and Troy.

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