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Karan Higdon on pace to crack Michigan’s top-10 single season rushing list

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It’s no surprise Higdon has excelled and is running for the record books.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Karan Higdon started showing signs last year he could be a true weapon in the back field. He came up just short of 1,000 rushing yards in 2017 with 994 yards.

Michigan v Michigan State Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The talk in August was he would have a great chance to be a special player and difference-maker in 2018, if the offensive line improved.

He’s not only delivered so far, he’s also seventh in the country for most yards per game average, according to ncaa.com.

He’s on pace to break 1,000 yards in the next two games against Penn State and Rutgers if he rushes for 169 yards in those matchups.

Higdon stats after eight games:

  • 153 carries
  • 831 total yards, 5.4 yard ave/carry
  • 118.7 yards/game (No. 7 in nation)
  • Six touchdowns
NCAA Football: Michigan at Notre Dame Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports

The last two weeks, Michigan faced Wisconsin and Michigan State, who were top-25 opponents with top-50 overall defenses. Here are a few more stats before their matchups happened against Michigan and how Karan Higdon performed.

  • Michigan State had the best rush defense in the country, averaging only 62.3 yards allowed on the ground. Higdon ran for 144 yards on 33 carries (4.36 average yards per carry).
  • Wisconsin allowed 130.2 yards rushing per game (43rd rush defense). Higdon ran for 105 yards on 19 carries, and had one touchdown (5.52 average yards per carry).

First-year offensive line coach Ed Warriner is starting to settle in. Progress is happening right before our eyes with this unit, coming together to start off the second half of the season with wins over ranked teams. The offense has improved since last year and has the stats to prove it.

  • 55th overall offense (420.4 yards/game)
  • 29th in scoring (36 points per game)
  • 32nd in rush offense (212.8 yards per game)
  • Seventh in time of possession (34:17)

This is another promising breakdown in the latest S&P Rankings.

Higdon has four more regular season games against Penn State, Rutgers, Indiana and Ohio State. Those defenses have struggled and are all above a top-50 rush defense.

Rush Defense

Penn State No. 74

Rutgers No. 118

Indiana No. 69

Ohio State No. 57

Total Defense

Penn State No. 71

Rutgers No. 84

Indiana No. 69

Ohio State No. 70

Here is how those defenses did last week:

  • Purdue smoked the Buckeyes for 539 yards total and 161 yards rushing.
  • Indiana rushed for 224 yards in the 33-28 loss to Penn State last Saturday.
  • Meanwhile, Penn State ran for 175 yards against the Hoosiers.
  • Rutgers allowed 128 yards to Northwestern’s rush attack.

Running for the record books

Karan Higdon has to rush for 1,409 yards to crack Michigan’s top-10 single season rushing list. If he keeps up his average yards per game, he would be at No. 7 on the single season rush list. If Michigan gets an extra game in the Big Ten Championship, it would give him another game to add yards.

This is a balanced offense that’s developing nicely with a great run game to compliment a solid passing game. The momentum is shifting in the direction of the Wolverines making some noise in November, with Higdon leading the charge.

Follow on Twitter: @DavidRNoe/@MaizenBrew