Coach Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines football team comes up short in a bowl again, losing to Alabama 35-16 in Citrus Bowl
By TIM REYNOLDS
AP Sports Writer
ORLANDO, Fla. — Jerry Jeudy could have sat out Alabama’s bowl game and still almost certainly would have been a first-round draft pick.
He played instead — and if this was his finale, his stock likely soared.
Mac Jones threw three touchdown passes, Jeudy became the first Alabama player to top 200 receiving yards in a bowl game and the ninth-ranked Crimson Tide topped No. 17 Michigan 35-16 on Wednesday in the Citrus Bowl.
“I’ve played football all my life,” said Jeudy, the junior who was the game’s MVP pick. “I couldn’t just sit out there and watch my team play.”
Jones connected with Jeudy for an 85-yard score on Alabama’s first snap, DeVonta Smith and Miller Forristall added TD grabs in the second half for the Crimson Tide (11-2), which trailed 16-14 at the break. Najee Harris ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns for Alabama.
Jones — who took over as Alabama’s starter when Tua Tagovailoa was lost for the season with an injury in November — completed 16 of 25 passes for 327 yards.
Shea Patterson completed 17 of 37 passes for 233 yards and a touchdown for Michigan (9-4), which dropped its fourth consecutive bowl game. Quinn Nordin kicked three field goals for the Wolverines, including a school-record-tying 57-yarder to end the first half and give Michigan the lead.
“It was a hard-fought game,” Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said.
The Crimson Tide had two touchdown drives of 90 seconds or less — Jeudy’s score on Alabama’s first play and a long go-ahead touchdown grab by Smith early in the third quarter. They were quick-strike all season long, with 22 TD drives taking 1:30 or less and 38 TDs coming in 2:00 or less.
The Wolverines have dropped 16 straight road or neutral-site games against teams ranked No. 15 or higher in the AP poll, including all 10 under Harbaugh. The last time the Wolverines won such a game was Jan. 3, 2012 over then-No. 11 Virginia Tech.