ANN ARBOR, Mich. – It will be hard pressed to find a defense as dominant as Michigan’s was on Saturday afternoon against Wisconsin. It could be even harder to find an interception as important, and as good, as Jourdan Lewis’ was in the final moments of the top 10 matchup.
Jourdan Lewis was forced to wait four weeks until he could step on the field. He made his presence felt last week against Penn State, when he had a significant tackle on a fourth-down in the beginning of the game. But nothing will top the impact he had on Saturday afternoon when he picked off Wisconsin’s Alex Hornibrook with 2:15 remaining in the fourth quarter.
— Evan Petzold (@EvanPetzold) October 1, 2016
Lewis will be known forever for that particular interception, but there’s more to his performance on Saturday that will be overshadowed.
“I thought the ball hit the ground first, then I was like ‘Jesus, I have the ball’,” Lewis said when asked if he knew what he had just done after the interception. “It was a definitely a play I will remember .. it was crazy.”
In his two-game season so far, Lewis has two pass breakups, one in each game, two tackles, one tackle for loss, and now an interception.
The Detroit native is not only a phenomenal player; he has the same elite attributes as a leader. A social activist, and a calm assassin on the field, Lewis has become an enigma among not just defensive backs, but among all players nationally. His impact can be seen just by his vocal presence, but if you take a look at the numbers, it’s even more convincing that he takes this defense to new heights.
Since Lewis’ return last week, Michigan has given up a total of 209 yards passing. The defense gave up 261 alone against Colorado the week before Lewis came back.
Lewis has been targeted much fewer than his comrade Channing Stribling, who had a phenomenal two-interception game, but has still racked up the stats he has. In his limited time due to injury, Lewis is letting everyone know why he is an All-American and a no-doubter in next year’s draft.
As for what Lewis faced today, it was adversity. As a team, Michigan hasn’t stared a possible defeat in the eye in the fourth quarter since Nov. 28 of 2015 when it lost to Ohio State. Today, the Wolverines felt that — they didn’t regain that lead until there were just seven minutes remaining in the game.
“We never get demoralized,” Lewis said regarding the offense’s incapability to score despite the defense’s dominance. “We just out there and execute how we’re supposed to.”
Known for leading the nation in pass breakups last season, Lewis sits at No. 4 on the pass breakups list in Michigan history with 30 after Saturday, tied with Heisman Trophy winner Charles Woodson.
There were no doubts that Michigan was getting their first test with the No. 8 Badgers on Saturday. The redshirt freshman Badgers quarterback Hornibrook threw for just 88 yards, and tossed three interceptions in one of the more dominating secondary performances you will see all season.
This defense showed what it’s made of Saturday, and Lewis let the world know that he is back.