Shea Patterson was the savior of Michigan football, the missing piece to the Jim Harbaugh puzzle. He was the quarterback who would take the Wolverines to the College Football Playoff.

But we learned one thing in Saturday night’s rivalry game between No. 14 Michigan and No. 12 Notre Dame: the Wolverines offense is just as bad with Patterson under center as it was without him.

Yes, that’s a pretty harsh criticism for the quarterback, who was wearing the maize and blue for the first time in his career. And his first matchup was no easy task, going toe-to-toe with a stifling Fighting Irish defense. But Patterson was suppose to be the guy who made the offense click.

Nothing about Michigan’s offense was clicking on Saturday night. And it cost the Wolverines in a 24-17 loss to the Irish.

Patterson was 20-of-30 for 227 yards, with no touchdown passes and an interception. He struggled to extend plays when the Notre Dame defensive front chased him down. Patterson did stretch the field on a few occasions, but not frequent enough to keep the Irish on their toes.

This wasn’t the kind of debut the former 5-star recruit was expecting. Neither were the fans from Ann Arbor.

Saturday’s loss can’t be placed solely on Patterson’s shoulders. He was put into a pinch from the get-go, as two early Notre Dame touchdowns forced Michigan to play catch-up the rest of the way. That’s not an easy task for the newcomer under center.

And the Wolverines had a shot at the end. After the defense came up with a huge stop late in the game, Michigan, and Patterson, had a chance to tie things up and force overtime in South Bend. But a late fumble cost Harbaugh’s squad a chance at a huge win early in the year.

Michigan’s loss to Notre Dame hardly ends its season. The Irish are considered to be another contender for the College Football Playoff. The Wolverines still have a chance to do something special in the B1G this season. And Patterson still has a chance to prove he’s the quarterback who can get this program over the hump.

But on Saturday night, the offense was just as bad with Patterson as it was without him. And the defense couldn’t bail him out.