Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh stopped Shea Patterson moments before he trotted onto the field to put the finishing touches on his best performance as a Wolverine.
“I told him before he went out to take that snap, I said, ‘Now this year, after you take the kneel down, keep the ball and don’t throw it up in the air,’ Harbaugh recalled. “Because he had a heckuva game and I thought he should have the game ball.”
You can’t throw out the records here because the records tell all. This is one side trying to cling to a fading sense of who it once was, the other looking to send that crisis into turbo. This is Jim Harbaugh trying to deliver a knockout punch to his most formidable foe. This is Michigan trying to bludgeon a Michigan State program slowly sinking in quicksand. The onus is on the Wolverines to grab hold of the reins.
It was July 4, 2018, and her two sons were out at a nearby fireworks show in their hometown of Indianapolis. For many, it’s a routine Independence Day venture. For sophomore linebacker Cameron McGrone and his younger brother, Aaron Redd, it was a monumental step.
That’s how much time elapsed while freshman Giles Jackson fielded the opening kickoff on Saturday, offered one juke, burst past the kicker’s diving grasp and into the end zone. If there was any doubt about whether the Michigan football team would take care of a hapless Maryland squad; any doubt the Wolverines could re-focus after last week’s big win; any doubt that there could be such a thing as an easy road win in the Big Ten — it was all squashed.
I think those thoughts are scattered enough for today. Should the Wolverines take care of business on the eastern seaboard this weekend (stunningly inconsiderate to traveling student newspapers to add a team to the Big Ten that geographically does not belong, but I digress), we’ll all be gearing up for an emotion-filled Michigan-Michigan State game soon. The Spartans appear on the verge of catastrophe, but, as we all know, that all goes out the window when Mark Dantonio gets his annual shot at Harbaugh.
Cesar Ruiz sat atop the podium, smirking frequently and bantering with junior guard Michael Onwenu to his right. The confidence oozed — perhaps due to the 57-carry, 303-yard demolition his unit had just orchestrated, perhaps simply a product of his happy-go-lucky attitude.