Michigan will be taking on the Florida Gators in the Peach Bowl on Saturday, but they’ll be without a few big names, including running back, team captain, Karan Hidgon. Higdon opted to sit out the Peach Bowl to prepare for the NFL Draft process.
Higdon’s absence will provide a chance for the rest of Michigan’s running backs to state their case for more snaps and carries in 2019.
The running back starting job is up for grabs, and it’s hard to say who will receive the most carries against Florida. Chris Evans has the experience, the one time walk-on Tru Wilson has the heart and pass-blocking prowess, and freshman Christian Turner arguably has the most upside of the trio.
Michigan’s offense got a little harder to gameplan for because Higdon’s sitting out, believe it or not.
Florida has the 73rd ranked rushing defense, allowing 170 yards per game, so it should come as no surprise if Michigan decides to pound the rock early and often against them.
When asked what running backs have stepped up in Higdon’s absence coach Jim Harbaugh mentioned Wilson and Turner, saying Turner “has had really, really great weeks of preparation now. So during the bowl game, he’ll see time in this game. It’s pretty neat. He’s from Atlanta, from Buford High School. He’s stepping in nicely.”
So we know Turner will receive carries, but how many? Will he be the bell-cow in this one? Will Michigan utilize a running back by committee?
Turner has ran the ball well in limited snaps. On 13 carries, Turner’s rushed for 63 yards (4.8 yards per carry).
Wilson’s had an excellent season, the junior is averaging over 6 yards per carry with 355 yards rushing.
Evans season (403 yards rushing) is on par with Wilson’s, but Evans has been more of a threat in the passing game, hauling in 17 receptions for 142 yards.
I’m not going to try and predict who will receive the most snaps but I’d expect a steady does of Turner in the Peach Bowl. Turner is just a freshman and could potentially be Michigan’s running back of the future along with incoming freshman Zach Charbonnet, while Wilson and Evans will both be seniors in 2019.
It’s realistic to think that Michigan would like to have a long look at Turner in live-game action to see how he handles himself.
If Turner is to receive the bulk of the carries, that wouldn’t necessarily mean Evans and Wilson won’t see the field. Still expect to see the duo in passing situations, as Wilson is Michigan’s best pass-blocking RB and Evans is a fine security blanket for Shea Patterson to throw to.
The game could also start out letting the trio all receive a few carries, and then Harbaugh will go with the hot hand from there. How Michigan’s running backs will be used has become an interesting story-line for the Peach Bowl.
Who will lead Michigan in rushing at the Peach Bowl
This poll is closed