Karan Higdon's Great Year

Submitted by FauxMo on October 25th, 2018 at 11:41 AM

As I sit here waiting for a plumber to arrive at my house and charge me an exorbitant sum, I started wondering about just how good Karan Higdon's year was shaping up to be. The kid is a tank, and the last drive against MSU (which I've watched 5 times) was a work of art; staying low, grinding out yards, taking big hits in stride, and just killing that clock. So, I looked at some stats...

So far through 7 games (he was held out against SMU), Higdon has 831 rushing yards. That is an average of about 119 yards per game. 

If he keeps that up in the remaining 4 games - and that seems fair, as he should over-perform in at least two of those games, and PSU doesn't strike me as a great D - and he will end the regular season with 1305 yards. 

If we add in one additional game at the same pace - either the bowl game or the B1GCG - he will finish with 1425 yards. That would give him the 14th best season by a UM RB all time (13th if we exclude Denard).

However, at 1425 yards he would be in a tight pack of RBs with similar totals. So if he can get just 75 more yards - either by going 19 yards above average per game, like in the MSU game, or us getting both the B1GCG and a bowl game - and get to 1500 yards, he would leap to 7th all time (6th if we eliminate Denard). The latter option would give him one more game than the guys in front of him, but who cares? He will have been a big part of why we got that extra game.  

I think Mr. Higdon deserves a giant HUZZAH! I also think Ed Warriner and the OL could use one too... 



October 25th, 2018 at 11:49 AM ^

I think after this bye week we will see different OL schemes that will be even better... Higdon is only starting to show how great he is... With the second half of the season everyone has multiple bumps and bruises, he will punish defenders and break even more tackles... He is a dude for sure... Another 200 yard game would not surprise me...


October 25th, 2018 at 11:49 AM ^

I actually think Higdon is one of the least replaceable pieces we have on offense.  I like Evans, but I feel like the dropoff between Higdon and Evans is significant.  

Obviously if you are ranking importance, losing Patterson would also be disastrous, but I kind of wonder if McCaffery might be able to step in and do well.   And I have no sense of what an O-line injury would look like.   But Higdon seems able to find a lot of big extra yards on his runs when it looks like there is just nothing there.  


October 25th, 2018 at 11:59 AM ^

I agree with this. What does RB look like next year? I don't think that Evans is going to be an every-down back. Tru doesn't seem to have the speed to punish a defense once he breaks through. Between the two of them, I think you have a competent backfield. One of the younger guys could have a breakout year next year, though. With the line improving, we may not need a grind it out back next year. If the line is consistently generating 3 yards, Evans may be the one to capitalize on that.


October 25th, 2018 at 12:47 PM ^

Evans will be the starter going into spring. A freshman will get a shot, and perhaps someone like Turner or Samuels will take a step forward. 

I wouldn't rule out Ben Mason picking up some more carries, either. Harbaugh likes bruisers and he has proven that he is able to hit a basic hole and thunder forward for yardage. 

If I had to guess, I'd figure on Evans and Charbonnet being 1 and 1a. 


October 25th, 2018 at 11:58 AM ^

I never understand excluding a player from a list like this due to playing a different position. What is the difference between the yards Denard's rushing yards and anyone else's? 


October 25th, 2018 at 12:15 PM ^

Higdon is playing really well. He has transformed himself as a blocker (it was visible right away against ND, and he has continued blocking well throughout the year) and is contributing crucial yards in every game. Just in the last two games he has become a weapon in the stretch/pin-and-pull runs Michigan has been running where he cuts upfield and rockets through the hole. 

It's been a different kind of year for him than last year. Last season he had a couple really big games, single-handedly beating Indiana and gashing teams like Minnesota for huge plays. This year he doesn't have as many gigantic plays and hasn't had the huge games (partly because he leaves early in games against bad teams). But he's been much more consistent (in large part due to the OL) against tough opponents and has made key plays. 

He's not the perfect back, but he's excellent. I think he's the best back we've had since Hart, and I don't think it's actually that close. 


October 25th, 2018 at 12:31 PM ^

Herbert and Warinner impact is really showing ... Higdon's yard after contact have really improved and the OL is strong and ascending in technique.  Really built well for the 4th quarter - those two coaches deserve all of the credit.