Michigan fans should be happy that Shea Patterson knows how to fling it
Shea Patterson hasn’t been named Michigan’s starting quarterback yet, but that’s only because Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh knows he doesn’t have to name a starter.
Jim can be that way.
But with the huge opener at Notre Dame less than two weeks away, it will be a complete shock if Patterson — the former five-star QB and star at Ole Miss before transferring to Ann Arbor — isn’t the guy behind center.
Patterson threw for 3,139 yards and 23 touchdowns in 10 games over two seasons at Ole Miss, coming in for an injured Chad Kelly as a freshman late in the 2016 season, and then playing seven more games last year before ending his season with a knee injury of his own.
I’ve been working with SEC football for the last four years and I’ve had to follow Ole Miss closely. Patterson is the real deal, even though he’s had a few rough moments that really weren’t his fault.
Here are my three favorite moments from Patterson’s career at Ole Miss, and two that can’t be ignored:
- Nov. 12, 2016 at Texas A&M: After Chad Kelly was injured, it was up to Patterson to keep Ole Miss’ season alive. The Rebels had lost three straight SEC games and really needed a win. Patterson went in to College Station, and pulled out a 29-28 win, leading a last-minute drive that led to the game-winning field goal with 37 seconds left. He threw for 338 yards and two touchdowns, and a star was born. “I’ve recruited this kid since he was a ninth-grader and I’ve kind of always known that he has that `it’ quality,” then-Ole Miss coach Huge Freeze said after the game. “The guy just makes plays. He doesn’t get rattled a lot.”
- Sept. 9, 2017 vs. Tennessee-Martin: After throwing for 429 yards in the season opener against South Alabama, Patterson one-upped himself the following week by racking up a school-record 489 yards against UT-Martin. Sure, I understand the level of competition, but still, no SEC quarterback had ever thrown for 916 yards in back-to-back weeks. The history of Ole Miss quarterbacks was what attracted Patterson to Oxford in the first place. So this was a special day, setting a school record. “To be mentioned with anything connected to Eli and Archie (Manning) is an honor,” Patterson said. “No one person can break a record. It takes more, so I just thank my teammates. That’s what makes us dangerous, we have so many weapons.”
- Oct. 14, 2017 vs. Vanderbilt: After a rough stretch where things were getting ugly at Ole Miss, Patterson threw for 351 yards and four touchdowns in a big win over Vanderbilt. It mattered because Vandy’s tough defense embarrassed him a year earlier in his second career start. He racked up 57 points in what would be his last win at Ole Miss. (See below)
The not-so good
- Sept. 30, 2017 at Alabama: On their way to winning a national championship last year, Alabama took out their anger on Ole Miss, who had beaten the Crimson Tide twice in the three previous years. Alabama won 66-3 and completely embarrassed Patterson and Ole Miss’ suddenly horrible offensive line. “We didn’t play very well at all tonight,” Patterson said in a massive understatement. “We didn’t come ready to play tonight. We were prepared, sometimes you just don’t come up ready. There were plays out there I didn’t make. They’re well coached, really fast on defense and tough to play against. We’ll respond and never make this happen again. After all we went through in the offseason, nothing can break us.”
- Oct. 21, 2017 vs. LSU: Despite the NCAA mess at Ole Miss and the firing of Hugh Freeze, Patterson was still having a good year, leading the SEC in passing heading into the game with LSU. He injured his knee in the second quarter, and tried to play through it, but was just 1o of 23 passing for 116 yards with three interceptions. He suffered a PCL injury and would miss the rest of the season. He elected to transfer and after a lengthy process, was allowed to transfer to Michigan without having to sit out a year.