Russell Shepard fell out of the conversation over the past three games; going without a touchdown or a highlight-reel play that fans had grown accustomed to when the sophomore scored three touchdowns in the team’s first two games of the year. On Saturday Shepard got the focus early and often. He finished with a career-high in receiving yards, and his 10 total touches netted 78 yards.
Patrick Peterson was somewhat limited in the return game, held to 34 yards on two punt returns and 63 yards on a pair of kick returns. Defensively the Cowboys didn’t test him, and Peterson registered only one stop across four quarters.
Backup quarterback Jarrett Lee came off the bench on the third series of the game for the third outing in a row. Once more, his opening drive resulted in points. At the same time, the junior’s 9-of-14 passing for 75 yards didn’t help the offense get down the field with rhythm.
Michael Ford ran for a career-night, going for 88 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries. Tiger fans had been calling for the redshirt freshman’s name, but it took an injury to Alfred Blue and some much-needed rest by Ridley to get him the snaps. Now that Ford has arrived, the question becomes whether he would stay in conversation.