Football

Offensive coordinator Josh Gattis was on staff at Penn State when it went from a 2-2 start to a Big Ten championship.

Flip a few of those names around and you have the same eulogies currently being written about the 2019 Wolverines. Attribute McSorley’s quote to Jim Harbaugh or Shea Patterson after Michigan’s 35-14 loss to Wisconsin two weeks ago and no one would bat an eye.
There’s a kicker, though.
Three months later, McSorley stood on a podium in Lucas Oil Stadium, draped in confetti, triumphantly raising the Big Ten championship trophy over his head.

Senior quarterback Shea Patterson's play could determine the outcome of Saturday's game.

In all likelihood, No. 19 Michigan’s true capability as a team is somewhere between the one that got run out of Camp Randall Stadium on Sept. 21 and the one that shut out Rutgers last Saturday at the Big House. But where on that spectrum it is will determine the direction of its season. Can the Wolverines achieve the goals they’ve spent the last two weeks saying are still attainable? Or is this a team ticketed for 7-5?

The Michigan football team has a chance to define its season against Iowa.

From there, it goes one of two ways. Last season, Michigan ripped off 10 straight wins, including three over good teams, riding the streak into Columbus as the bruise left by the initial loss faded. In 2017, it metastasized and Michigan went 8-4 in the regular season, the worst year of the Harbaugh era.
Those are the two directions this season can head towards Saturday.

Junior cornerback Ambry Thomas is one in a long line of Michigan cornerbacks from Detroit.

They’re four of eight Michigan defensive backs in the last seven years to be from Detroit. Spearheaded by a host of older role models, that group lives, breathes and reinforces its roots. It’s no accident that Detroit regularly produces elite defensive backs, nor that the talent finds its way to Michigan more often than not.

Freshman safety Daxton Hill showed his potential and proved part of his hype with his performance against Rutgers.

While one game against Rutgers isn’t going to suddenly rocket freshman safety Daxton Hill up the depth chart, his hype train has regained steam, and for good reason.

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Look past Harbaugh suggesting the Wolverines run the ball 60-plus times in a game, and you’ll see what he wants this running back group to be - balanced.

Sophomore running back Christian Turner scored his first career touchdown against Rutgers.

Last year, Karan Higdon told him to be patient. Christian Turner brought it up in the context of running the ball and waiting for a hole to open up. It was hard not to see a bigger picture coming into focus.
On Saturday, instead of going down when he got hit, Turner moved the pile and crossed the ball over the plane.

Junior receiver Nico Collins has just 10 catches in four games this season.

When a player of Nico Collins’ caliber only has 10 catches, there is a reasonable question as to whether everything has been over-thought. Collins and juniors Donovan Peoples-Jones and Tarik Black are among the three best weapons — if not the three best — this team has.
To not use them repeatedly, particularly amid offensive troubles, would be to self-restrict this group’s ceiling.

Senior guard Ben Bredeson called Saturday's game against Iowa a "measuring stick" for Michigan's offensive line.

As Michigan’s offense entered the season with sky-high expectations, every conversation was rooted in one assumption: The Wolverines would have a steady, reliable offensive line.

Freshman running back Zach Charbonnet has just seven carries the last two weeks.

The football theory of establishing the run has been long disproven.