Shea Patterson's numbers vs. Power 5 teams prove he still has plenty of room for improvement
Shea Patterson is undoubtedly the most talented and athletic quarterback Jim Harbaugh has had since taking over at Michigan in 2015. The former five-star product put up some impressive numbers during his two seasons at Ole Miss.
In his brief career, Patterson has demonstrated the ability to extend plays, deliver the football accurately and make big-time plays. Last year, he threw for 2,259 yards and 17 touchdowns in just seven games. On paper, and even in some of the highlights, the former Rebel appears to be the missing piece to Harbaugh’s puzzle.
There’s reason for hope, excitement and enthusiasm for the Michigan faithful. Several media outlets have even considered the Wolverines to be one of the favorites to win the B1G in 2018 and contend for a bid to the College Football Playoff.
But a closer look at his statistics show a little bit different story about Patterson. Maybe he’s not as ready to dominate the B1G, especially the East Division, as quickly as some may expect.
Patterson put up some big numbers last year, but most of those performances came against more inferior opponents on the roster. He threw for 429 yards and four touchdowns against South Alabama. He had five touchdown tosses and 489 yards a week later against Tennessee-Martin. He had six touchdown passes without an interception in games against Vanderbilt and Auburn.
The Tigers, of course, competed for the SEC title last year.
What happened to Patterson’s numbers when he stacked up against tougher competition, though?
They plummeted. Severely.
Patterson completed just 46 percent of his passes and combined to throw five interceptions without a touchdown pass in games against Alabama and LSU. He struggled against Cal too, throwing for 363 yards and two touchdowns, but with three picks mixed into the stat line.
Overall, here are Patterson’s numbers against Power 5 opponents:
In 8 career games vs Power 5 opponents, Shea Patterson has thrown 14 TD and 11 Int. Had 8 TD, 8 Int, 49 QBR and was sacked 16 times last year in the five games he played (vs Alabama, Auburn, Cal, LSU and Vanderbilt.)
— Chris Fallica (@chrisfallica) July 24, 2018
Not exactly a glowing endorsement of Michigan’s “savior.”
Numbers don’t always tell the whole story. Patterson will most definitely be joining a more talented team at Michigan, and one with some great options at wide receiver. It may turn out to be the perfect fit for Patterson and Michigan.
There seems to be an awful lot of faith in Patterson’s ability to get Michigan and Harbaugh over the hump, though. And with the likes of Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Michigan State and Penn State on the schedule, Patterson is going to face defenses just as hard-nosed as the one’s he battled in the SEC.
Last season, Patterson proved he has the ability to be one of the most electrifying and exciting quarterbacks in college football. There’s no question he’s the type of talent the Wolverines need at that position.
Maybe it’s a little premature to label Michigan as a contender just because he’s under center, though.