Those big guys up front, they don’t like it when you question their toughness, question their talent, question their ability to help win games. That’s a football thing.

And it’s very true at Michigan, as well. For the past couple of years, much of the finger-pointing over the Wolverines’ troubles have been directed at the offensive line. They haven’t delivered, and they knew it.

When this season started, that group vowed that things would get better. Most critics took a wait-and-see approach, but now the results are obvious. Michigan’s offensive line is dramatically improved, and it’s a big reason why the Wolverines are on an impressive six-game winning streak now.

“I think it was a statement game. We came out and kind of gave it to them a little bit,” Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson said. “We didn’t win. We kind of dominated them.  I think it was a huge win for us tonight. That was one of the funnest games I’ve ever been part of,”

It was so fun because Michigan simply pushed around a talented Wisconsin team Saturday night in primetime with most of the nation watching. The Wolverines ran for 320 yards and were really never threatened by the Badgers in this 38-13 win. The offensive line simply controlled this game, and the numbers bore it out.

  • The 320 rushing yards were a season high.
  • There were four runs of 23 yards or more.
  • Shea Patterson’s 81-yard run was the longest of the season.

Michigan had 285 yards rushing against Nebraska, 171 yards rushing against Maryland and 180 against Northwestern in its past three games. During that stretch, cohesion has been showing up more and more. This group is coming together nicely, and it comes at a good time.

It’s Michigan-Michigan State week and the Spartans were No. 1 in the country against the run heading into last week, averaging a paltry 1.32 yards per carry. They will be a big challenge for the Wolverines’ offensive line but they seem up for the task.

Michigan’s game plan against Wisconsin was to attack its interior with zone reads and inside zone runs and the Badgers really didn’t have an answer. And when they got sucked inside, Patterson crushed them when he snuck around the edge with the ball and went 81 yards. Everything worked, all night long.

And now, they have to do it again against Michigan State.

“It’s going to be a battle,” Patterson said about his first taste of the bitter in-state rivalry. “We have to come out and be ready to play and know they are going to give us everything they got.”

Even though Michigan has been good, Patterson knows they can be even better. That’s a good sign.

“I think we can capitalize more on the red zone,” Patterson said. “A lot of that is on me for taking those two sacks. I almost gave the ball away in the first half.”