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Karan Higdon Gives Michigan Run Game Extra Gear

A week after the Michigan Wolverines put up 78 points on Rutgers, the same team returned home and put up a 41-8 victory on the Illinois Fighting Illini.

It was an expected result for a Michigan team with a perfect record on the season.

En route to the win, Michigan racked up a ridiculous 112 unanswered points before Illinois wide receiver Malik Turner made a crazy catch for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

You’re likely to hear all about that crazy stat and the multitude of other crazy stats surrounding the last two weeks of play.

But, there is one crazy stat from Saturday’s game that should worry the rest of the Big Ten. That is running back Karan Higdon’s ridiculous 13.3 yards per carry average.

Chances are few fans, even the hardcore knew of the name Karan Higdon as a legitimate option for the Wolverines run game.

It took just eight carries for Higdon to become the leading rusher against Illinois too. Those eight carries amounted to 106 yards on the day as well.

One day, against a really bad Illinois rushing defense? So what.

But, for Higdon it was a mark of  three straight games of action where he set the world on fire.

One month ago against Penn State, he put up 81 yards on nine carries and had two scores in Michigan’s 49-10 victory. After not seeing the field in the tight 14-7 victory over Wisconsin, Higdon returned in a big way in the blowout over Rutgers.

He rushed for a career high 108 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just 13 carries in the 78-0 win over Rutgers.

Add it all up and he has put up nearly 300 yards and five touchdowns on just 30 carriers. He is also averaging a gaudy 9.8 yards per carry as well.

What has made Higdon so successful out of seemingly nowhere?

Depth at running back seems to be a good place to start, as Higdon is the lightning to all the thunder that is De’Veon Smith, Ty Isaac and Chris Evans. Opposing teams are punched in the mouth, and just when the are gassed from that physical pounding, in comes Higdon to burn them.

However, that would also diminish the fact that Higdon is starting to stand out as more than just a secondary option.

We could be seeing the eventual star in the Wolverines backfield, even if he is going to be paired with bigger options like Chris Evans after this year.

Having Higdon hitting home runs out of the backfield is a welcome sight for long-suffering Wolverines fans. It also is a sign that the long-dormant running game is good to go for the foreseeable future.

Who would’ve thunk it would be Karan Higdon being the man giving this team the boost it needs on offense?

Andy Coppens is the Founder and Publisher of Talking10. He's a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and has been covering college sports in some capacity since 2008. You can follow him on Twitter @AndyOnFootball

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