U-M seizes control to drop Northwestern after slow start
Written by Matt Pargoff   

 

After a week spent contemplating how good Michigan might be following a blowout win over Nebraska, fans of the Maize and Blue were initially treated to an alternate reality in the Wolverines’ trip to Northwestern. The Wildcats jumped out to a 17-0 advantage in just over a quarter of play, seeming to have U-M’s number at every turn.

Michigan answered with a seven-play, 79-yard touchdown drive to keep things from getting out of hand, but the change in momentum came about slowly at first. At best, the Wolverines fought to a stalemate with the Wildcats for the rest of the half, but managing that draw proved important, as Michigan took control after the break.

Outgaining Northwestern 222-56 in the second half, with most of the Wildcats’ yards coming on a final last ditch effort possession, the Wolverines slowly chipped away at the deficit with long field goal drives. When the offense needed more though as the fourth quarter ticked away, the group stepped up with an 11-play, 67-yard drive, culminating in a Karan Higdon touchdown with just over four minutes remaining.

Higdon carried the ball six times for just 11 yards on the possession, but the effort included a tough fought first down in short yardage and the score. The story of the drive though was the play Shae Patterson, who completed all three of his passes for 44 yards, while also rushing for 12.

The touchdown gave Michigan’s its first lead of the game at 20-17, which held on as the final score.

The Wolverines’ defense, which had no answers for Northwestern out of the gate, had a stellar second half, racking up four sacks on third down plays alone, with a fifth sack coming in the closing seconds for the final knockout punch.

Chase Winovich led the way with nine tackles, including three for a loss and a sack, while Kwity Paye and Josh Uche each dropped the quarterback in the backfield twice.

Patterson finished the game 15-of-24, passing for 196 yards, while Higdon ran it 30 times for 115 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Nico Collins pulled in six receptions for 73 yards, with Zach Gentry grabbing three for 46, picking up a pair of first downs on the go-ahead scoring drive.

Improving to 4-1 with the victory, Michigan will return to Ann Arbor next week for a homecoming matchup with Maryland at noon. The Terrapins are off to a solid start to the season at 3-1, claiming an upset win over Texas in the opener and blowouts over Bowling Green and Minnesota. The lone loss though was a bad one, falling by 21 at home to a Temple squad that currently sits at 2-3.

 
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