Clutch gene: Kicker Jake Moody continues to deliver for Wolverines

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Lincoln, Neb. — Michigan kicker Jake Moody said last week during an interview session with reporters that he often visualizes success.

There are nights when he can’t fall asleep and thinks about all sorts of game scenarios.

“Like kicking a game-winner in the Big House against Ohio State,” Moody said.

It wasn’t the rivalry game against the Buckeyes, but in Saturday's primetime matchup against Nebraska at raucous Memorial Stadium, Moody was 4-for-4 on field goals. He hit a 31-yarder to tie the game late in the fourth quarter and then a 39-yarder with 1:24 left to lift Michigan to a 32-29 victory.

Michigan's Jake Moody (13) celebrates with holder J.J. McCarthy after kicking a field goal against Nebraska during the first half.

The win preserves ninth-ranked Michigan’s unblemished 6-0 record.

“The Northville kid,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said after the game when asked about Moody’s reliability. “It’s been the confidence, the preparation.”

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Moody gave the Wolverines their first two scores of the game with kicks from 35 and 21 yards in the second quarter. He is 12-for-13 this season, with his only miss coming from 47 yards against Rutgers, a kick he said last week felt good off his foot.

“Everyone on the team calls him, ‘My boy, Moody,’” quarterback Cade McNamara said, smiling. “He gets it done, and he’s clutch. We believe in Moody, and he came up huge for our team.”

Imitating snap count

McNamara said he was among those early in the game who made certain the referees knew Nebraska was trying to replicate his cadence.

“At the very beginning of the game, multiple times, they were making defensive shifts, and they were trying to replicate our cadence, which is illegal,” McNamara said. “The referees didn’t catch on to it until the second or third time. Once they got called out for it, they didn’t do it the rest of the game.”

In the second quarter, Nebraska was penalized 5 yards for a delay of game for this issue.

“They were definitely trying to clap, replicate the snap,” Harbaugh said. “That clap kind of stuff, that should really be an intent to deceive foul which is in the rulebook and 15 yards. But hey, I’m just going to enjoy the incredible (win) that was awesome.”

The hurdle

During the drive late in the game when Michigan eventually tied the score with the 31-yard field goal from Moody, there was a huge run from Hassan Haskins that set it all up.

Haskins had a 50-yard run highlighted by a hurdle over Nebraska's Marquel Dismuke.

“I just did it,” Haskins said, smiling. “I wasn’t thinking. I just did it.”

The run was admired by his teammates. Haskins led Michigan with 123 yards rushing on 21 carries, and he had two touchdowns.

“That was an insane play,” McNamara said.

Rolling in the guards

The Wolverines had five different players at the guard spots on Saturday. Starting right guard Zak Zinter was dealing with what appeared to be an ankle issue and left guard Trevor Keegan has had a shoulder “bothering him,” according to Harbaugh.

Chuck Filiaga played played some at left and right guard, Karsen Barnhart played at left guard and Reece Atteberry at right guard.

“We had five guards play in the game and not a single negative yard rushing by any of our running backs,” Harbaugh said.

Injury update

Receiver Roman Wilson, who had a career game against Wisconsin last week, did not make the trip because of an injury suffered in that game.

Harbaugh said Wilson, Zinter and Keegan do not have long-term injury issues. Michigan does not have a game on Saturday and Harbaugh said that “is really going to help.”

Twitter: @chengelis