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‘It was crazy’: Lewis amazes with one-handed interception

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News
Jourdan Lewis soars for a one-handed interception late in the fourth quarter against Wisconsin.

Ann Arbor – Michigan cornerback Jourdan Lewis didn’t think, and relied on instincts to propel him.

The result was a phenomenal one-handed interception on fourth-down at the Wisconsin 46-yard line with just more than two minutes left to preserve the win. Lewis said he jumped a bit early and because of that couldn’t use both hands to defend the throw intended for George Rushing. Had Rushing caught the ball, he had nothing but wide-open field in front of him.

Lewis’ interception effectively ended the game as Michigan used two timeouts and ran three plays to run out the clock and preserve a 14-7 victory over Wisconsin on Saturday at Michigan Stadium.

“The ball was in the air, and I knew I had to make a play on it, either knock it down or do what I did,” Lewis said. “I jumped too early so I couldn’t go get it with two (hands). So I put my hand up there and see what happens.

“It was definitely crazy. It was instincts (taking) over. I wasn’t thinking at the moment.”

This was Lewis’ second straight game after missing the first three with a back injury.

Running back Ty Isaac, like the rest of his teammates, were amazed by Lewis’ athleticism.

“When I saw the ball go up, I was like 'All right. We should be all right,'” Isaac said. “Then I saw him jump and I wasn't sure if he jumped too early or not, but it just seemed like he hung up there forever. When he came down with the ball, everybody kind of looked around and was like, 'Did we just see that? Did that just happen?' It was crazy. He's a great athlete and that was a great play."

Michigan had three interceptions in the game, including two by Channing Stribling.

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Quarterback Wilton Speight, who has helped lead fourth-ranked Michigan to a 5-0 record, 2-0 in the Big Ten, was awestruck by the play.

“I see him make a lot of plays, but that was on another level.” Speight said. “He jumped and floated for five yards and somehow caught it with one hand. That’s a guy who’s going playing on Sundays for a long time. Glad he’s on our team.”

Lewis said he made a one-handed interception in practice.

“It was something like that but I wasn’t in the air for as long,” Lewis said. “It was crazy. You have to react. I knew I was going to get my hand on the ball so why not go up there and snatch it down?

“I thought the ball hit the ground first. I’m like, ‘Jesus, I have the ball.’ It was really crazy. It was definitely a play that I’ll remember.”

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh also was thoroughly impressed by Lewis, an All-American last season.

“I’ve seen Odell Beckham Jr. do that,” Harbaugh said. “Looked like that kind of play. The most impressive thing about it, he jumped a little early. And I was a little nervous he was going to come down and the ball was just going to go over his fingertips. But he was able to hang in the air and made a spectacular play.

“Then I was thinking, it’s fourth down, it probably would have been better had he not intercepted it. I’m really glad he did, because it was a spectacular, spectacular football play, an athletic play. Really unbelievable.”