QB Shea Patterson 'seeing field really good,' hitting his marks for UM

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Ann Arbor — Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson is proving he’s accurate and efficient. Really efficient.

Patterson was 14-of-18 for 237 yards, three touchdowns and an interception in a 45-20 victory over SMU on Saturday at Michigan Stadium. He connected with Donovan Peoples-Jones on all three scores, on passes that went for 35-, 7- and 41-yard touchdowns.

Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson throws a strike to wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones who takes it 35 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

He is 46-of-65 for 589 yards — that’s a 70.7 completion percentage — and has six touchdowns and two interceptions through three games. Seven players caught passes from Patterson in the win over SMU.

“He’s seeing the field really good,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said. “He’s making really good decisions. Receivers are helping out a lot. Zach Gentry kinda broke things open for us getting in the seam route and Donovan had another monster game. Everybody was running good routes for him and catching the ball.

“He’s getting out of trouble and creating plays when sometimes there isn’t one to be there. He’s playing the position really well. And making the throws when they present themselves. He’s hitting the short ones, he’s hitting the intermediate ones, he’s hitting the deep ones. Good quarterback play.”

Gentry, a tight end, led the team with 95 yards receiving on four catches.

“It feels good to spread the ball around and make plays in the passing game and have some statistics there,” Gentry said. “It feels good to get that going. It’s improved every week since camp started.”

He credited Patterson and the play-calling.

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“They’re seeing stuff up there in the box,” Gentry said. “Shea’s the guy out there doing it. He’s taking control of the offense and spreading the ball around, which is great. He’s able to scramble, which is even better.”

Patterson, who transferred to Michigan from Ole Miss last December and went through spring practice, has quickly acclimated to this offense. He credited the players around him for his efficiency.

“Trusting and believing in this offense and knowing the progression every play,” Patterson said, explaining why he has been so efficient. “And an O-line that’s really coming together and giving me time back there, so there’s no reason why I can’t complete every pass.”

Patterson’s interception came after Michigan reached the SMU 12-yard line. He went to tight end Sean McKeon, but said he had Gentry open and should have made that decision.

But Patterson’s decision-making was sound with Peoples-Jones, who finished with 90 yards on four catches.

“He’s a freak athlete,” Patterson said of the sophomore receiver. “I don’t think there’s anything he can’t do. Very smart, very fast, very football savvy as well. I know if I throw it up I’ve just got to put it in the vicinity. There’s a lot of trust in him.”

Michigan has three touchdowns all last season by the receivers. Peoples-Jones had three against SMU and said he was happier Michigan won.

“I just got a lot of teammates that make my job easy,” Peoples-Jones said. “The O-line did a great job. Shea is out there delivering beautiful balls. Very easy to catch the ball and run.”

Patterson said they’ve worked on the back-shoulder throws with Peoples-Jones that have resulted in touchdowns the last two games.

“That’s something we work on pretty often,” he said. “The whole fall camp after our practices we’d get about 10-15 back shoulder and just regular fade routes to get our chemistry and timing down.”