Football

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Giles Jackson, then a four-star whose position in college was at question, committed last September. His skillset, based around speed, not size or technique, didn’t seem to fit into Jim Harbaugh and Pep Hamilton’s offense. To succeed as a receiver, Jackson would need to be put into open space, where he could make use of that skill set and pick up yardage after the catch. Gattis, of course, has built his offense around that very concept.

Sophomore wide receiver Ronnie Bell leads Michigan with 621 yards on 37 catches, but still hasn’t found the end zone.

Bell’s block was perhaps the best example of improved blocking from Michigan’s wide receivers over the past month or so. While blocking isn’t nearly as glamorous as catching passes or scoring touchdowns, it’s equally important, and the Wolverines’ receiver room has taken that message to heart.

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Redshirt freshman Cam McGrone has developed into a permanent starter and one of the Wolverines' key defensive pieces, moving beyond just his unrivaled speed.

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This year, in particular, few in and around Schembechler Hall are under any illusions about the challenge of going to Indiana and the cliche of the Hoosiers providing Michigan with a trap game.

Sophomore receiver Ronnie Bell had 150 yards on nine receptions in Michigan's 44-10 win over Michigan State..

As the Michigan football team returned to the sideline with the end zone covered in towels, a stadium rocking and the game in hand, Ronnie Bell had his helmet off. He was talking to Josh Gattis. It was the start of the fourth quarter and the Wolverines were leading by 24.

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Michigan rushed the field, lifting the Paul Bunyan trophy in the end zone and gesturing to the crowd.

Mark Dantonio walked off slowly, following his team into the tunnel.

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Lavert Hill bounced down the Michigan sideline, waiving his arms in jubilation with his helmet in hand. Behind him, the rest of the Wolverines did the same, spilling onto the field, toward the stands and everywhere in between.

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I know that’s not 100 percent accurate. For the Wolverines, a loss would end any faint hopes at a New Years’ Six Bowl. For Michigan State, it could be the difference between the Quick Lane Bowl and the Pinstripe Bowl — both worthy successors to its prestigious 2018 RedBox Bowl appearance.

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It’s for good reason — Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio is notorious for his trick plays. He’s run them for years, with well-known plays dating back to the beginning of his tenure in East Lansing. The Wolverines are well aware how much hate goes into this rivalry, and they know that Dantonio’s trickery is another thing to look out for.

Over the course of the season, Shea Patterson has improved his ball security, with six games since his last lost fumble.

With increased ball security, Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson has been able to use all the weapons in his arsenal for the offense.