The Michigan Wolverines improved to 4-0 (1-0 Big Ten) Saturday afternoon as they defeated the Penn State Nittany Lions 49-10.
Michigan got things started early, as they forced a three-and-out on Penn State’s first possession. Jabrill Peppers then returned the punt 53 yards down to the 6-yard line. Khalid Hill found pay dirt a few plays later, and the Wolverines took a 7-0 lead. Michigan added three more scores before the half, courtesy of a De’Veon Smith rushing touchdown, a Wilton Speight passing touchdown to Devin Asiasi and a Karan Higdon rushing touchdown. The Wolverines led 28-0 at the half.
Penn State was able to get on the board in the third quarter, as Tyler Davis drilled a 21-yard field goal (remains perfect as a Penn State kicker), to make the score 28-3. Nine minutes later, freshman running back Chris Evans rushed for a three-yard score. The Nittany Lions added another score in the fourth quarter to bring the score to 35-10. However, Michigan wasn’t done adding to its lead as Karan Higdon busted free, and scampered down the left side of the defense for a 40-yard rushing touchdown.
Overall, this was another great TEAM win for Michigan, and a great way to start conference play. A lot of guys played great games Saturday, but a few stood out above the rest. Let’s see who “Harbaugh’s Heroes” are this week.
Michigan Running Backs
That’s right—every single one of them. So much fuss has been made the past three weeks about how “bad” Michigan’s run game is. Just last Friday, I got into an argument with a guy at a local high school football game about Michigan’s running game. I was sporting a Michigan football shirt, and apparently that was an open invitation to bash my beloved Wolverines. This guy, who claimed to be a Michigan fan, went on and on about how bad Michigan’s running backs are, and how the offensive line is awful. He told me that he was at at UCF game, and Michigan looked awful on offense (even though I reminded him that Wilton Speight threw for over 300 yards).
This week, leading up to the Penn State game, I heard numerous commentators on the Big Ten Network talk about how Michigan would struggle in this game, because they have a weak run game. Even this morning on College GameDay, the crew mentioned how Michigan needed to get a running game going as they enter Big Ten play.
Well…Harbaugh and the boys took note, and did just that. Than ran early, and they ran often on the Nittany Lions. Michigan ran for over 300 yards (326 to be exact), and had five different running backs find the end zone. Here are how the Wolverine rushers finished against Penn State.
De‘Veon Smith– 12 carries, 107 yards (8.9 avg), 1 touchdown
Ty Isaac– 11 carries, 74 yards (6.7 avg), 1 touchdown
Karan Higdon– 9 carries, 81 yards (9.0 avg), 2 touchdowns
Chris Evans- 8 carries, 56 yards (7.0 avg), 1 touchdown
Khalid Hill- 2 carries, 2 yards (1.0avg), 1 touchdown
I’m excited to see how Drake Johnson can plug into this rushing attack, once he fully returns from injury. Michigan played a great game on both sides of the ball, and for the second week in a row, picking only a few players to award a game ball was a tough task.
Who do you think “Harabaugh’s Heroes” were this week? Be sure to let us know on Twitter, Facebook or by commenting below. I look forward to another great game by the Wolverines next week, as they welcome the Wisconsin Badgers to Ann Arbor. Go Blue!