Despite the loss on Saturday, there was a bright spot for the Michigan Wolverines: the emergence of true freshman wide receiver Andrel Anthony. Anthony, who is from East Lansing, had 6 receptions for 155 yards and two touchdowns against the Michigan State Spartans.
“He’s been ascending every single week,” head coach Jim Harbaugh told the media on Monday. “We’ve added to his play list, and he’s responded each and every time.”
Anthony didn’t get his first game time touch until last weekend’s game against Northwestern, but his teammates have noticed his growth throughout the season.
“He’s just been having a very good past couple weeks of practice,” wide receiver Mike Sainristil said. “He’s been very detailed. He’s just been practicing very well and understanding that with guys like Roman (Wilson) not playing, Ronnie (Bell) hurt of course, just understanding that his role, he has to play a higher role and step up in the offense.”
Anthony hasn’t been in this position yet in college. For his coaches and teammates to have that kind of trust in him, it meant a lot.
“Being able to be put in a position by the coaches, stuff like that, the players even believing in me, Cade (McNamara) giving me the opportunity,” Anthony said. “It meant, like, the world to me. I’m a true freshman and stuff like that, but they really believed in me and that really meant a lot to me. My teammates, stuff like that. Just the trust and the bond we have, it means, like, the world to me.”
Being from East Lansing, Anthony has had this game circled. It was a homecoming type of game for him.
“The whole week I’ve been preparing, homecoming, that was my thing for the week,” Anthony said when he was asked about what his performance in his hometown meant to him. “I definitely wish we could’ve won, wish stuff went a lot different in the second half, stuff like that. I mean I’m happy about it, but I’m not satisfied at all. I always look at what I could do different, like extended the play, cut back, stuff like that. To have that performance, what I’ve been doing has paid off a lot, extra work, learning about the plays, coverages. My investment is paying off for sure.”
We will likely being see a lot more of Andrel Anthony in the last four games of the regular season after that performance. Despite the loss, if Michigan wins out and gets a little bit of help, they can still get to Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship and make the playoff. The loss hurts, but the season is far from over.