Wolverines' Nico Collins proving too tall an order to handle
College Park, Md. — Michigan receiver Nico Collins is a big-body, sure-handed receiver who gives defenses fits and opens the offense for his teammates to take care of business.
Collins didn’t have gaudy numbers in the Wolverines’ 38-7 victory over Maryland on Saturday, with two catches for 65 yards to leads all receivers. But it was his 51-yard catch in the second quarter, a play after Michigan converted a fake punt, that gave Michigan breathing room. Zach Charbonnet scored two plays later for a 21-0 lead.
“Shea took a shot and I came down with it,” the 6-foot-4, 222-pound Collins said. “The ball’s in the air, it’s one-on-one, you’ve just got to come down with it. That’s what I did.”
Because of his size and threat as a receiver, Collins often draws double coverage as was the case in the Wolverines’ 45-14 win over Notre Dame a week ago.
“That happened last week and some today,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “You recognize that and that helps your running game, too, because you receiver is occupying two defenders. He’s got a knack for it. He’s as good as I’ve seen in a long time in going up and making the contested catch at its highest point.”
Collins also has a knack for drawing pass interference penalties. On third-and-10 at Maryland in the third quarter, he drew the call and Michigan would eventually score that drive on a 5-yard pass from Patterson to tight end Nick Eubanks for a 28-0 lead.
“He adds a dynamic element to our offense to where you’ve got to pay attention to him every snap,” Patterson said. “Most of the time when he’s one-on-one, he’s going to go up and get it, so I think he draws a lot of attention to himself.”