Michigan's Chesson has 7 TDs in team's 3-game winning streak
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh lined up his fastest players last spring on more than one occasion and staged 40-yard races.
Jehu Chesson sprinted across the finish line first each time, he said, just ahead of speedy teammates such as Jabrill Peppers and Jourdan Lewis.
After a slow start in terms of scoring, the 14th-ranked Wolverines are finding ways to make the most of Chesson's blazing speed.
Chesson's fourth receiving touchdown Saturday with 2 seconds left in regulation matched a school record and helped Michigan get to the first of two overtimes in a 48-41 win over Indiana.
He has seven touchdown receptions during Michigan's three-game winning streak. The junior is the first Big Ten player to have at least seven receiving TDs in a three-game stretch since Michigan State's B.J. Cunningham did it in 2011, according to STATS.
Chesson will try to keep both streaks going when the Wolverines (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten) play at Penn State (7-3, 4-2) on Saturday.
''I'm not a huge stats guy,'' he said. ''My biggest thing in terms of stats is just wins.''
If Michigan keeps winning, beating the Nittany Lions and Ohio State, it will need one rival to beat another rival in order to reach the Big Ten championship game for the first time.
The second-ranked Buckeyes must beat No. 9 Michigan State at home Saturday - at the same time as the Michigan-Penn State game - to give the Wolverines their best shot to win the conference championship for the first time since 2004. The Wolverines, of course, are simply trying to focus on what they can control.
That includes throwing to Chesson early, often and deep because he has found a knack for scoring after a slow start. He did not catch a TD pass during the first seven games of the year before having seven receiving scores over the last three games.
''I think he's improving tracking the deep ball,'' Harbaugh said. ''You watch him run, you watch him catch, you watch him block, cover kicks. Tracking down the deep ball has really come along. That's the final piece he's acquiring.''
Chesson scored two times on the ground earlier in the season and had a game-opening, 96-yard kickoff return for a score against Northwestern, but he had not scored in the usual way a receiver gets into the end zone until recently.
He equaled Derrick Alexander's single-game record for receiving TDs set in 1992. He surpassed his personal bests with 10 receptions and 207 yards receiving.
''When you have someone like Jehu, who works that's hard, it's not a surprise,'' Michigan tight end A.J. Williams said. ''We've come along on an offense. We've been able to connect a lot better and a lot more and you're starting to see the results of that.''
It's not a coincidence that Chesson's emergence as a scoring threat through the air has happened at the same time that Jake Rudock has gotten into a groove. Rudock was 33 of 46 for 440 yards with a school-record six TD passes against the Hoosiers.
The first time Harbaugh was asked about Chesson on Monday, he chose to speak about him and three other players in the passing game: Rudock, Amara Darboh and Jake Butt.
''Those four are playing as well as anybody the Big Ten conference as a group,'' he said. ''All four of them deserve any success or accolades that they're achieving because they've earned it.''
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