The Michigan Wolverines have been really successful over the past few weeks on the offensive end and a big reason for it is because Shea Patterson is trusting his wide receivers and they are connecting on big play down the field.
The best thing is it is coming in a variety of different ways and it is struck several times throughout the past few games.
Here is an example of a play-action pass and a wheel route by Giles Jackson.
Jackson came out of the backfield on the play action and No. 7 of the Hoosiers’ defense bit on the fake. It was a man-to-man defense and Giles Jackson was gone. It was an easy 50-yards for the Michigan offense as Patterson found Jackson with only one man to beat.
Not every play is as wide open is the previous one, but Patterson still wasn’t concerned with taking shots. Look at this beautiful pass from the Michigan QB to Donovan Peoples-Jones who made an exquisite catch.
This is just DPJ being the better athlete in the matchup. He is just a step quicker and and has a much better vertical and snags the ball right out of the air on an impressive catch. It was a deeper fade route and all that Patterson had to do was put the ball up for him.
Taking deep chances came against Michigan State as well. Right after a turnover, Patterson tossed one up to Nico Collins who has been balling out the past few games. Take a look:
The Spartans are in a cover-2 zone and one of the best areas to attack that is right up the middle of the field. That is exactly where Nico Collins goes on the fly route. He wisely takes a step toward the outside to make it seem like he is going on a corner route which fools the safety by just a step leaving Collins open just with just enough time for Patterson to sneak the ball in. The result is a touchdown immediately after the change of possession to put a bit of extra emphasis on this big victory.
This vertical offense has made the opponents quiver in fear as the Wolverines have some of the most athletic receivers in the country. With guys like Collins, DPJ, and Black that can go up and get any ball, and Ronnie Bell and Jackson who can burn past defenders, this receiving corps is one of the best of the country that is finally being utilized to their full potential.
The separation they have been getting and the confidence they have been instilling in Patterson has certainly helped the senior QB as well. Patterson has racked up 9 TDs and 750 yards in his past two starts. Remember that this is a guy that several fans wanted to bench after the loss to Wisconsin early in the season and that struggled mightily in Josh Gattis’ new offense.
However, at this point he is playing as well as any quarterback in the country because of the looser play calling and the confidence that his receivers are giving him. He is the largest reason why the Wolverines now have their most prolific offense in Harbaugh’s tenure.