Recap: Michigan fights back for 20-17 win at Northwestern

By Matt Schoch
Special to The Detroit News
Michigan's Sean McKeon drops a pass in the first quarter Saturday.

Michigan completes comeback in Evanston

Michigan earned a tough victory on Saturday in Evanston, coming back from a 17-point deficit in a 20-17 win at Northwestern.

The win was the biggest comeback in the Jim Harbaugh era in Ann Arbor.

Josh Uche made the final sack for Michigan, the team's sixth of the game.

The Wolverines (4-1, 2-0 Big Ten) play host to Maryland next weekend.

Michigan 20, Northwestern 17; final

One last chance for Northwestern

After Michigan was forced to punt, Northwestern has a chance for a late comeback.

The Wildcats have the ball at about their own 15.

Michigan 20, Northwestern 17; 0:34 4th

Patterson continues making big plays in comeback effort

Michigan’s quarterback has made some big plays in this come-from-behind effort.

Shea Patterson scrambled for a 3rd-and-6 conversion on a run-pass option to pick up a huge first down.

Karan Higdon nearly picked up a first down on another third down, but Michigan may be forced to punt.

Michigan 20, Northwestern 17; 0:46 4th

Michigan defense gets ball back with chance to ice game

Michigan forced the punt and now has the ball back with a three-point lead against Northwestern.

Kwity Paye made a third-down sack for Michigan to force the punt.

Another penalty on the return gives the Wolverines the ball at the 34.

Michigan 20, Northwestern 17; 3:02 4th

Higdon TD gives Michigan its first lead

Karan Higdon took a handoff and went 5 yards for a score, giving Michigan its first lead.

Tight end Zach Gentry had two nice catches on the drive.

Shea Patterson picked up a first down on 3rd-and-6 with a scramble.

Michigan 20, Northwestern 17; 4:06 4th

Michigan defense continues domination after tough start

The Michigan defense quickly got the ball back for the offense on a three-and-out.

Michigan takes over at their own 33.

Northwestern 17, Michigan 13; 10:05 4th

'Penalty from Mars' stalls Michigan drive

After field goals on its first two second-half drives, Michigan punts it away.

FOX color commentator Joel Klatt called a penalty on Karan Higdon a “penalty from Mars.”

Michigan has nine penalties.

The Wildcats have it at their own 30.

Northwestern 17, Michigan 13; 11:37 4th

Momentum continues to build behind Michigan's D

The Michigan defense is trying to drag the team back into the game, making physical plays.

Northwestern punted to Michigan, which takes over at its own 35.

Rashan Gary is back in the game for the Wolverines, but appears to be wearing a shoulder brace.

Northwestern 17, Michigan 13; 13:44 4th

Field goal inches Michigan closer to close third quarter

The third quarter ends with a Quinn Nordin field goal from 24 yards, pulling Michigan closer.

Nick Eubanks, who left the game earlier with an injury, caught a Shea Patterson pass to get Michigan down the 10-yard line.

Patterson connected on the run with Zach Gentry on a third down to preserve the drive.

Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary went to the locker room with an injury.

Northwestern 17, Michigan 13; 15:00 4th

Injuries piling up as Michigan continues to climb back

Michigan will take over on its own 37 with a chance to tie the game against Northwestern.

Michael Dwumfour made a third-down sack to force the punt.

On the injury front, star defensive lineman Rashan Gary went down on the drive.

In addition, Michigan senior defensive back Tyree Kinnel looked dazed as he made a tackle of a Northwestern player.

Northwestern 17, Michigan 10; 5:28 3rd

Field goal draws Michigan within one score

Michigan had to settle for a field goal on its first possession of the third, as Qunn Nordin made the 23-yarder.

Nico Collins had a 36-yard catch from Shea Patterson down to the 10 to set up the chance.

On the drive, Michigan picked up third-down conversions on runs by Ben Mason and Patterson.

Northwestern 17, Michigan 10; 7:40 3rd

Michigan gets boosts at start of second half

Michigan forces a punt on the opening Northwestern possession in the second half after a Chase Winovich sack on third down.

The Wolverines take over at their own 26.

Michigan wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones missed the last series of the first half, but is back for the second half. Linebacker Khaleke Hudson is back on the field for Michigan after missing the first half because of a targeting penalty last week — for the second straight week.

Northwestern LB Nate Hall is out for the game because of an injury.

Northwestern 17, Michigan 7; 12:23 3rd

Halftime statistical leaders

Rushing: UM — Karan Higdon, 9 carries, 65 yards, TD; NU — John Maten IV, 9 carries, 19 yards, TD

Passing: UM — Shea Patterson 7-12, 65 yards; NU — Clayton Thorson, 10-14, 109 yards

Receiving: UM — Nico Collins, 4 receptions, 30 yards; NU — JJ Jefferson, 1 reception, 36 yards

Ugly finish to second quarter as Northwestern leads at half

More penalties and a toe out of bounds on what would have been a third-down conversion through the air as Michigan squanders a chance at points late in the second quarter.

However, Northwestern burned two timeouts before a Michigan punt, killing their chances at a long drive for points.

Northwestern 17, Michigan 7; halftime

Northwestern gets burned playing it safe

Northwestern goes conservative with three run plays to try to run clock, but Michigan forced the ballcarrier out of bounds on third down.

Wolverines take over at around their own 40 before halftime with chance to put points on the board.

Northwestern 17, Michigan 7; 1:50 2nd

Michigan miscue helps force punt

A false start on tight end Zach Gentry forced Michigan to punt on 4th-and-8 after they initially lined up to go for it.

Northwestern’s JR Pace made a nice open field tackle on Nico Collins for a third-down stop.

Wildcats get the ball back at their own 5.

Northwestern 17, Michigan 7; 2:15 2nd

Michigan forces a punt, inching back in game

Michigan finally holds Northwestern scoreless on a drive on their fourth possession as the Wildcats are forced to punt.

Michigan takes over deep in their own zone.

Chase Winovich had a big hit on a second down draw play, his second big hit of the game. Kwity Paye also had a sack on third down.

More injury concerns for Michigan as defensive back Josh Metellus goes down, favoring his right arm while leaving the field.

Northwestern 17, Michigan 7; 5:05 2nd

Wolverines on the scoreboard after Higdon TD

Michigan finally gets it going offensively getting on the scoreboard after Karan Higdon ran through a huge hole for a 4-yard touchdown.

Junior tight end Nick Eubanks went down with an injury after a 21-yard completion near the sideline.

Northwestern 17, Michigan 7; 9:14 2nd

Wildcats up 17-0 over sputtering Wolverines

Northwestern completely dominating Michigan and increases the lead on a 3-yard run by John Moten IV.

A pass interference call on Michigan's David Long prolonged the drive on a third-down play.

Northwestern 17, Michigan 0; 12:56 2nd

Northwestern up 10-0 after one quarter

The first quarter has come to an end from Evanston.

Northwestern converted a 3rd-and-6 across midfield on the final play of the quarter and its coach Pat Fitzgerald is firing up the loud crowd at Ryan Field.

Northwestern 10, Michigan 0; 15:00 2nd

Michigan scoreless through three possessions

Michigan got its first first down of the afternoon as Patterson found Karan Higdon for a short pass.

But a Sean McKeon drop helped stall the drive around midfield after Higdon was stuffed on fourth-and-1.

Northwestern takes over at midfield.

Northwestern 10, Michigan 0; 1:21 1st

Northwestern up two scores early

Quarterback Clayton Thorson hit on his first seven passes for Northwestern - and connected on two others that were nullified by penalties.

But an offensive pass interference, Chase Winovich blowing up a run play, and a short pass means the Wildcats had to settle for a field goal, which Charlie Kuhbander made from 45 yards out.

Northwestern 10, Michigan 0; 3:58 1st

More offensive woes for Michigan

Second straight three-and-out for Michigan to start.

Shea Patterson has thrown to Donovan Peoples-Jones three times in six (non-punt) offensive plays.

He’s 1-3 for 5 yards on those tries.

Northwestern 7, Michigan 0; 9:04 1st

Northwestern takes early lead

Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson ran 1 yard for the touchdown to open the scoring.

The play was set up by a 36-yard completion by Thorson to JJ Jefferson down to the 1.

Northwestern 7, Michigan 0; 10:18 1st

Rough start for Michigan offense

Michigan goes three-and-out as Shea Patterson is dropped for a sack on third down.

RG Tommy Doles is out because of an injury for Northwestern.

Gus Johnson on the Call for FOX today. That's always a good thing.

Michigan 0, Northwestern 0; 12:41 1st

Looks like a 4:47 p.m. EST kickoff coming from Ryan Field. No reason given for the delay or even if it is a delay. But sit tight anyways.

Michigan is on a roll.

The Wolverines (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) stumbled in their season opener at Notre Dame, but have trounced their next three opponents by an average margin of 39 points. That includes last week's 56-10 demolition of Nebraska.

No. 14 Michigan hits the road for the first time since its season-opening loss, taking on Northwestern at Ryan Field.

Northwestern opened its season with a 31-27 victory at Purdue, but followed with back-to-back losses to Duke and Akron before it hit its open week last week. Not playing wasn't enough to avoid more bad news, though, as running back Jeremy Larkin (two 100-yard rushing efforts in three games) retired from the sport because of a diagnosis of cervical stenosis.

That should make trying to solve a stout Michigan defense (No. 3 nationally) all the more difficult.

Follow along here for live updates.

No. 14 Michigan at Northwestern

Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Ryan Field, Evanston, Ill.

TV/radio: Fox/950

Records: Michigan 3-1 overall, 1-0 Big Ten; Northwestern is 1-2, 1-0

Line: Michigan by 14 1/2

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