MINNEAPOLIS — In the same blue warmups he wore the entire game, redshirt freshman quarterback Steven Threet emerged from the locker room after the Michigan football team’s 29-6 win over Minnesota on Saturday.
He looked to his right, then to his left.
“There he is,” Threet said, grinning and pointing at redshirt sophomore quarterback Nick Sheridan.
As the starter against the Golden Gophers, Sheridan turned in the performance everyone in the Michigan program has been looking for lately. He played an efficient game, made the smart throws and led the team to a win.
It’s clear both quarterbacks like each other. But what does Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez think? Is the competition back open between Sheridan and Threet, who missed Saturday’s game after suffering a concussion at Purdue last week?
“We haven’t even taken a shower yet, so let’s not start a controversy,” Rodriguez said.
Sheridan threw for 203 yards Saturday — the Wolverines’ most in five games.
He completed 18 of 30 passes. It was the first time in the last three games Michigan’s quarterbacks completed a majority of their passes.
And his eight-yard touchdown pass to junior Greg Mathews late in the first half, coupled with no interceptions, marked the first game all season he threw more touchdowns than picks.
But until Saturday, Sheridan had thrown five interceptions and one touchdown this year. And although Rodriguez said Threet’s status for this week was “to be determined,” he said he thought Threet would be ready to play.
The quarterbacks competed for the starting job during spring practice, and Threet came out ahead. But Sheridan outperformed Threet during fall camp and started the Wolverines’ opener against Utah.
Until Saturday, Threet had started every game since Utah, and many wondered how Sheridan, a former walk-on who had no scholarship offers out of high school, earned that first start.
He showed why at Minnesota.
“That’s exactly who we saw in camp,” quarterbacks coach Rod Smith said. “Nick’s fine. He’s just got to keep making good decisions. If he makes good decisions, play(s) within (himself), Nick’s got a chance.”
Sheridan didn’t want to talk about whether his game Saturday, which included 33 rushing yards on eight carries, meant he could start next week against Northwestern.
“I hope it says I’m a fighter, and I’m a competitor,” said Sheridan, who added his biggest concern was that Michigan won.
Michigan also used another quarterback who took advantage of a shot many thought he wouldn’t get. Most schools recruited freshman Justin Feagin as a defensive back or wide receiver.
But Rodriguez didn’t have a running quarterback on the roster when he took the job in Ann Arbor, so he offered Feagin a spot at quarterback, even though he had never seen him play in person.
Feagin ran the ball each time he took a snap against the Gophers. He had seven carries for 49 yards.
“It felt real good because Coach told me he was going to give me a shot and he came through,” Feagin said. “He really let me go have fun today.”
Feagin only appeared to look to throw on one play, but running a limited package didn’t bother him.
“That’s what got me here, running the ball,” Feagin said.
The Deerfield, Fla. native moved to slot receiver earlier in the year after struggling at quarterback in practice. He made his college debut playing special teams at Purdue last week after he asked the coaches to burn his redshirt.
“Next year, when I come out, I already feel like I have a step on someone,” Feagin said.
The question now is whether Sheridan has a step on Threet.