The Wolverine

November 2018

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 29 of 83

30 THE WOLVERINE NOVEMBER 2018 I n his final season with Michigan, senior running back Karan Higdon has proven he saved his best for last. In every game Higdon has played in since the Notre Dame loss through the 38-13 win over Wisconsin Oct. 13, he has eclipsed 100 rushing yards (he was held out of the SMU contest). He has become the featured back with junior running back Chris Evans missing the three games prior to Wis- consin and rushed the ball 74 times against Northwestern, Maryland and Wisconsin, gaining 323 yards and three scores. He is averaging 114.8 rushing yards in the first four Big Ten games of the season. Higdon has become the first U-M player to post triple digits on the ground in five consecutive game since quarterback Denard Robinson in 2010, and he is the first U-M running back to do so since Mike Hart in 2007. "It's fun to see," Michigan running backs coach Jay Harbaugh said. "His conditioning is such that he doesn't really wane over the course of games, which is pretty cool. He's great about expressing where his body is at if he needs [a break], if he's in any pain at all, if he needs a quick breather. "He's great communicating in that regard, and it's just fun to watch him do is thing and really help us move the ball." Higdon only has 15 rushes of more than 10 yards through U-M's first seven games, but 12 of them have ac- counted for 368 of his 687 yards. Pro Football Focus tracks a metric called breakaway percentage — which shows which runners earn the high- est percentage of their yardage on designed runs of 15 yards or more — and Higdon's 53.6 percent ranks sec- ond nationally among rushers with at least 100 attempts. "Karan is a horse," junior quarter- back Shea Patterson said. "He's our horse. He's our leader on the offense. We follow him. "He sets the tone for the game, and he opens up everything else." Against Wisconsin, he racked up 105 yards against one of the tradition- ally strongest rush defenses in the Big Ten. His yards per carry average of 5.5 against the Badgers was his highest since the Nebraska game, while four rushes of 10 or more yards were a season high. "I knew with the way they were playing, they had to be over-pursu- ing," Higdon said. "I tried it, to cut back, and I tasted a little blood. So, I went for more, and it busted open." His head coach was very happy with his performance against the Badgers. "Karan went over 90-some yards in the second half, did a great job, got some cracks, fit through them and fin- ished with some effective runs," Jim Harbaugh said. "He did a great job." His senior season has been every- thing fans could have hoped for, and he ranks third in the Big Ten with 114.5 yards per game through Oct. 14 and is tied for fourth in the league with six total touchdowns (all rush- ing). Higdon also surpassed 2,000 yards in his career against Maryland Oct. 6, becoming the 23rd player in program history to reach that landmark. His 10 100-yard rushing outings are now tied for 12th in U-M annals. "It's amazing," Higdon said. "To do it at a traditional school like Michigan. It's something that is life fulfilling. I'm excited for it. I'm so thankful and blessed." — Andrew Hussey DON BROWN, DEFENSE 'BAFFLED' BY LACK OF HOLDING CALLS It seems obvious, and charts put together by various writers have lent credence to it — Michigan's defensive line has drawn the least number of holding penalties in the conference since head coach Jim Harbaugh ar- rived at U-M, and there's no close second. Even Maurice Hurst, an All-Ameri- can a year ago and one of the best in- terior pass rushers in the country, only drew one holding call last season. The disparity came to a head in the Wolverines' 20-17 win at North- western at the end of November, and on both sides of the ball. Senior run- ning back Karan Higdon was called for holding on a read-option play on which he was tackled and junior Shea Patterson kept for what would have been a huge, fourth-quarter gain. On the other side of the ball, fifth-year senior Chase Winovich appeared to get tackled by an offensive lineman on the Wildcats' last drive. Harbaugh was especially perplexed by the Higdon call. "[The official] came back and said   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL Karan Higdon Showing He Saved His Best For Last After posting 105 rushing yards against Wisconsin Oct. 13, Higdon is the first U-M player to have five straight 100-yard outings since Denard Robinson in 2010 and is the first U-M running back to do so since Mike Hart in 2007. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL 2018 MICHIGAN FOOTBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent Time (ET)/TV Sept. 1 at Notre Dame L, 24-17 Sept. 8 Western Michigan W, 49-3 Sept. 15 SMU W, 45-20 Sept. 22 Nebraska W, 56-10 Sept. 29 at Northwestern W, 20-17 Oct. 6 Maryland W, 42-21 Oct. 13 Wisconsin W, 38-13 Oct. 20 at Michigan State Noon/FOX Nov. 3 Penn State TBA/TBA Nov. 10 at Rutgers TBA/TBA Nov. 17 Indiana TBA/TBA Nov. 24 at Ohio State Noon/FOX

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - November 2018