Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson said Tuesday night that his eyes were gouged during a fourth-quarter touchdown in Saturday's 28-21 loss at Penn State.
The play in question: a fourth-and-goal quarterback sneak from the 1, during which Patterson was stuck underneath a pile while trying to reach for the touchdown.
It was during those moments, as he fought to extend the ball, that the incident occurred.
“Yeah, a little bit," Patterson said when asked about it. "That was not fun at all. They had me for a good 10 seconds in there.
"I was trying to reach the ball across the plane. I know for a good while I was screaming for my life. Wasn’t too happy about that.”
The eye-gouging was initially brought up unprompted by left tackle Jon Runyan Jr., who had been answering an unrelated question about Patterson's play in the game.
“Shea played lights-out that game. I loved his composure. His leadership. Even on the touchdown, the QB sneak, I can’t believe it, but we were down there, and we were in the pile — I wasn’t in it — but Shea was getting his eyes gouged out in the scrum," Runyan said. "He was still fighting, people were getting in his eyes. He came to the sidelines, tears all in his eyes. It was ridiculous that people were trying to gouge his eyes out. But he kept fighting for us and I appreciate it. He’s an awesome leader.”
Patterson confirmed Runyan's account.
“Uh, yeah," Patterson said when asked later if he believed Penn State's defense was trying to gain an advantage. "Anything you can do to help win, right?”
He later said that he'd never been in a pile "as violent as that one."
“Yeah, dude had his index finger in my eye, my whole — in my eye socket, for about, like I said, 10 seconds," he said. "That wasn’t good.”
When the pile cleared, Patterson didn't get a look at who had done it. He says his eyesight was "a little blurry for a second," but that "it didn't last too long."
Up until that point, according to Patterson, nothing of that nature had occurred in the game.
"They were just a really well-coached team, very talented," he said. "Awesome environment. But no, nothing like that, not until that point.”