Obviously another huge rushing effort. Can you talk about not only what your backs accomplished but the guys in front of them?
“Yeah, I mean, it was stalwart performances. Looked up at one point and the statistics looked like we were Air Force. I thought we were Air Force the way we were running the ball. Thought we were Western Kentucky back in the early ‘90s under Jack Harbaugh. But it was a great job. I’ve never seen that many plus-50 yard runs in one game, any team I’ve ever coached or been on. That was quite the performance.
“Karan [Higdon] and Chris [Evans] had spectacular runs. The counter play was really good to us today. The blocking was really efficient; great precision there by the line. Tight ends, very good. Really didn’t see any missed blocks in the running game. Probably always—never as good as you think it is, there’ll probably be a few, but I thought it was really good. Really good. The guys up front, I mean, that was a game for the ages if you’re an offensive lineman. Fullbacks, same. Receivers got in on the action. They were blocking as well. It was quite the performance rushing the football.”
In the past two games the running game has done very well, but are you concerned that the passing game hasn’t gotten more opportunities to shine and improve going into these last three games of the season, especially with two big games looming against Wisconsin and Ohio State?
“Well, we were running the ball so well. I think 10 yards a rush, per attempt. I mean, that’s pretty good. I’m sure if we had done it any other way you would have ‘But why didn’t you run the ball more?’ Probably would have gotten that question, right? Yeah. Just kept feeding the running game. It was working.”
Can you talk about what went into the decision to start Cesar [Ruiz] when Mike [Onwenu] was hurt and how he played?
“Yeah, we had a three-man competition during the week of practice at that position and Cesar won it, and I thought he played really well. Gave up one hit on the quarterback, a sack, but good to see him get that action. It’s been time for him to play now for a few weeks and thought he stepped up and did very well, and he earned it. He earned it in practice. Coach Drevno was—we were grading the tape after each practice to see who to play at that position and he won out and acquitted himself well.”
[After THE JUMP: Hudson’s punt block phase-out; bizarre refereeing elicits a sad trombone sound effect; and Jack A. Harbaugh, run game repairman]