Shea Patterson Lives Out Dream of Playing in Michigan Stadium for the First Time

shea patterson michigan quarterback first home game

Shea Patterson Lives Out Dream of Playing in Michigan Stadium for the First Time

Football

Shea Patterson Lives Out Dream of Playing in Michigan Stadium for the First Time

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Can you call the beginning to something a storybook ending? Because that’s close to what you would call Shea Patterson’s debut at Michigan Stadium on Saturday.

A little backstory — the former five-star transfer from Ole Miss might have Louisiana listed as his home state, and IMG Academy in Bradenton (FL) as his high school, but growing up, the Patterson family lived in nearby Toledo, and his father, Sean Patterson, was a Michigan season ticket holder.

(You can read more about how the Patterson’s paternal figure would tell Shea bedtime stories of The Big House in an excellent story by The Detroit News’ Angelique Chengelis here, but there’s a salient excerpt below.)

The bedtime story was told nearly every night to the little boy who clutched either a football or a football helmet in his arms. Sometimes Dad told variations of the fabricated tale, but the constant was the location and scene. It always took place at Michigan Stadium before a raucous crowd watching the Wolverines in a tight game facing a desperate situation.

While last Saturday saw the younger Patterson’s dream come true as he strapped on a winged helmet for the first time in official game capacity, this Saturday’s ordeal was a different story.

It was the reality he never thought possible back when he was hearing tales of the maize and blue.

“I always think back to that, but it really didn’t hit me until I was on the bus driving over here, because I just remember tailgating with my dad and being around that,” Patterson said. “That’s when it really hit me. And then, when I ran out of the tunnel with all my teammates, I can’t describe that feeling. It was kind of emotional – but exciting as well.”

So, Saturday marked Patterson’s first time running out of the tunnel in front of 110,000 fans.

He had a few dress rehearsals before, but those didn’t count. He had his visit last year in December when he was starting to seek out his transfer destinations in earnest. Then, last month, Michigan held an open practice at The Big House.

While he got to run out of that tunnel, he did not get to touch the famous banner.

His head coach, Jim Harbaugh, says that he spoke at length to Shea Patterson about this moment, and what it would be like. It was something more cognizant on Patterson’s mind, of course, but Harbaugh had done it both as a star player and as a coach.

So, when Patterson’s moment had neared, Harbaugh stayed in close proximity to see how it went.

“I’ve had several discussions with him about running out of the tunnel,” Harbaugh said. “From our very first conversation and then over the last months. He keeps bringing it up – first time he got into the stadium for practice we had in there and he looked up and pointed out where he saw his first game.

“I was running behind him coming out of the tunnel. I just kinda wanted to see what he was gonna do when he touched the banner. It looked like he went up and did a whole reverse dunk. He had a little sugar on the flakes going up and touching the banner!

“But that was neat. I wanted to see that. It’s awesome when it means something to somebody.”

And, beyond that, there was — you know — a game that was played.

In his Michigan Stadium debut, Patterson wasn’t asked to do too much, as he only dropped back 17 times all game — thanks in large part to a stellar rushing attack. Still, he completed 70.6% of his passes for 125 yards and three touchdowns, improving on last week’s 67% and O-fer in the latter category.

Above all else, of course, Harbaugh was pleased to see how Patterson performed when the lights were on — proverbially speaking.

“I thought we played well, start to finish of the ball game,” Harbaugh said. “I thought Shea played really well again. He made some big time plays. A couple throws he made out of the pocket, or on the dead run, getting out of trouble – those were big time plays.

“But he’s accurate – really accurate again. Playing cool and making the tight window throws second week in a row. Thought he was more in control, more in charge. And look to expand that next week. Take another step next week. But he’s ascending and playing very well.”

Patterson will continue to live out his dream next Saturday, with SMU coming to Ann Arbor for a 3:30PM kickoff.

Contact/Follow @WolverinesWire@isaiahhole

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