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Inflection Point: Peach Bowl 2018

Michigan was driving down 13-10 early in the third quarter. The Wolverines unraveled after a Shea Patterson pick near the end zone.

NCAA Football: Peach Bowl-Florida vs Michigan Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

A close game unraveled after a third quarter miscue.

No, I’m not talking about Ohio State again. Down 13-10 in the third quarter of the Peach Bowl, Michigan was driving to retake the lead against Florida.

Gator junior safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson swiped a Shea Patterson deep ball in front of the goal line to end the threat.

The wheels started falling off, just like they did against the Buckeyes a month ago. After Gardner-Johnson flipped field position, quarterback Feleipe Franks deftly connected with Lamichal Perine on a screen to boost the lead to 20-10.

In the first half, Michigan moved the ball decently, but couldn’t convert drives into points. In the second half, the well dried up, as the offense mustered just 75 yards the rest of the way.

Meanwhile, Dan Mullen’s spread was busting backs loose on Don Brown’s defense. Jordan Scarlett ripped the Wolverines up the middle to set up another score. Next, Perine put the game away with a 53-yard jaunt on third-and-20.

The Patterson pick kickstarted the blowout, though here’s the other blown opportunities to spark a comeback:

  • Failed to hold the edge on Kadarius Toney’s 30-yard jet sweep on fourth-and-short.
  • Let Josh Hammond grab a jump-ball over the middle for 30 on third-and-12.
  • Tarik Black drops a touchdown to potentially close the deficit to 27-17.
  • The aforementioned Perine score on third-and-20.

Jim Harbaugh’s first team used a dominant victory over Florida to springboard the 2016 team into a near berth in the College Football Playoff.

Dan Mullen flipped the script, leading many, including Harbaugh, to ponder what he needs to do to get over the hump next fall.