During the week, Land of 10 reporters following the Wolverines answer questions on the minds of Michigan fans. Submit a question or suggest a topic by sending a tweet here to Rachel Lenzi. Check back Monday through Friday as we answer the Michigan Question of the Day. Go here to see our previous answers.
Who will be the running back that will step up for Michigan in 2018?
Karan Higdon will be the running back who will step up for Michigan this fall.
Higdon had a breakout 2017. He returns with plenty of momentum, and plenty of motivation.
Higdon ran for a team-high 994 yards in 2017, good for sixth in the Big Ten. He was on the cusp of becoming Michigan’s first 1,000-yard running back since Fitzgerald Toussaint in 2011 (1,041 yards) and first 1,000-yard rusher since Denard Robinson in 2012 (1,266 yards).
He would have done it had it not been for an ankle injury sustained Nov. 11 against Maryland. He sat out the second half against the Terrapins and had only 35 carries in Michigan’s final three games, including 17 for 65 yards in the Outback Bowl against South Carolina.
Now, Higdon has the chance to be the bell cow running back. Michigan hasn’t had one of those in a while.
This year, Higdon will compete for the starting spot in a crowded position group, but here’s what sets Higdon apart:
He can see a situation, make a quick evaluation on the field and then go for a play — a lightning-fast process for some, but instinctive for Higdon.
One example: In Michigan’s 27-20 win at Indiana last October, center Patrick Kugler missed an assignment on the first play of overtime. Higdon saw the missed assignment, then immediately found another hole and ran through it — for a 25-yard touchdown. It was almost an instinctive move.
“You can’t stop in the middle of a play,” Higdon said after the Indiana game. “It’s football. You’ve got to make something happen.”
Higdon ran for 200 yards in that game. His play was especially vital, as Michigan ran for 271 yards but only passed for 58 against the Hoosiers. Expect Michigan to have more of an offensive balance this season. As important, expect Higdon to lead the way for the run game.
Read more answers to questions about the Michigan Wolverines here.
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