Transfer quarterbacks keep Michigan Wolverines, Ohio State Buckeyes in the limelight
By MITCH STACY
AP Sports Writer
COLUMBUS, Ohio — While being led to the Ohio Stadium visitors dressing room through a crowd of Ohio State fans raining abuse on him, Shea Patterson looked up and retorted.
“We’ve got you next year at our place,” the Michigan quarterback shouted before disappearing into the tunnel after the Wolverines had lost The Game for the fourth straight time in the Jim Harbaugh era.
Now comes the put-up-or-shut-up chance for Patterson, who is in his second year leading Michigan after transferring from Ole Miss. He spent his early years in Toledo, Ohio, as a huge Wolverines fan, so he who knows the significance of this game.
“Just the word Ohio State means everything for us,” Patterson said.
To get his one and only career win in an Ohio State-Michigan game, he’s going to have to outplay another quarterback who has found an ideal home via transfer: Justin Fields, whose cool approach helped the second-ranked Buckeyes survive fumbles at critical times to beat Penn State 28-17 last Saturday and remain undefeated and on course for a playoff berth.
Growing up in Kennesaw, Georgia, and spending his freshman year at Georgia, Fields knows less about The Game, but he’s quickly getting it, especially after hearing coach Ryan Day talk about it all season long.
While Fields finally got a chance to show how stout he can be in a tight game for the Buckeyes, Patterson is playing his best football of the season, clicking just in time in a no-huddle, spread offense for the 10th-ranked Wolverines under first-year offensive coordinator Josh Gattis.
“He’s going into these games very confident about his reads,” coach Jim Harbaugh said. “Very confident about his job, being able to see coverages, anticipate defenses. Playing with great timing, poise, accuracy and doing tremendous things.”