Michigan vs. Indiana Awards

Michigan vs. Indiana Awards


October 16, 2017

Karan Higdon

Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Ty Isaac, Chris Evans, and Lavert Hill. WTF? Yeah, I listed two running backs and a cornerback. Michigan needs to think outside the box as they game plan moving forward. Hill was a productive receiver and special teams player in high school, and Michigan should try to get the ball in his hands in limited ways. Put together a package with him as a slot receiver, which would offer a different dimension than running out three or four tight ends. As for Isaac and Evans, they’re better players than guys like Maurice Ways and Tyrone Wheatley, Jr. A couple years ago against Maryland, Michigan trotted out a full house backfield for a stretch. Maybe having Isaac, Evans, and Karan Higdon in the game at the same time isn’t a perfect trio, but two of those guys with Khalid Hill and/or Ben Mason might make for an interesting combination.

Hit the jump for more awards from Saturday’s game.

Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Eddie McDoom if he ain’t runnin’ jet sweeps. The value of McDoom right now is as a jet sweep/end around/reverse threat. If he’s not doing that – even on fakes – then Michigan doesn’t need to be throwing fades to him. He hasn’t proven himself as a downfield receiver yet, and he’s more of a slot receiver, anyway.

Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Noah Furbush. Against Penn State next weekend, I think a guy like Furbush needs to see the field quite a bit so he can offer some flexibility in pass coverage. Usually when he’s in the game, that means Bryan Mone is not. Mone has a tendency to get winded if he’s on the field for long, and PSU plays with good tempo that could find Mone stuck on the field for extended stretches.

Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Bryan Mone. See above.

Play of the game . . . Karan Higdon’s 25-yard touchdown run to win the game. His other two touchdowns were nice, as well, but on his game-winner, it looked like he would be stopped for a 3-yard loss. Center Patrick Kugler blocked the wrong way and there was a cluster in the backfield. The small-ish Higdon got lost behind some linemen, and then he bounced it out to the left sideline, outracing Indiana for the deciding score.

MVP of the game . . . Karan Higdon. He ran 25 times for 200 yards and 3 touchdowns. He was pretty consistent throughout the game and managed three plays of 20+ yards (all of which were TDs, from 59, 25, and 22 yards). Ty Isaac (7 carries for 38 yards) played okay and Chris Evans (8 carries for 5 yards) didn’t do anything. Higdon earned the bulk of the carries and did an excellent job with the opportunities.

32 comments

  1. Comments: 953
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Oct 16, 2017 at 6:50 AM

    I have yet to see this game. I’ve been informed twice now that I haven’t missed a thing. So, all I have is a question.

    Is JBB an upgrade over Ulizio?

    • Comments: 2231
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 16, 2017 at 7:40 AM

      He appeared to be an upgrade as a blocker, yes, but I believe he had two false starts. Also, as I mentioned, Indiana’s edge rushers aren’t anything special, so it wasn’t a huge test for the tackles.

    • Comments: 731
      Joined: 1/19/2016
      je93
      Oct 16, 2017 at 9:21 AM

      Two games in a row he looked better running* but pass blocking is TBD

      *not sure if that’s because of the increase in gap over zone

  2. GKblue
    Comments: 220
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    GKblue
    Oct 16, 2017 at 8:02 AM

    Lets see more of the FB as a running back in short yardage situations. I expected to see more of Khalid Hill or Mason this year.

    Lets try and get Evans out in space and give him some room to create.

    Is Ulizio just more of a power guy than zone? It seems our backs were more successful when they had a cutback lane.

    • crazyjoedavola
      Comments: 192
      Joined: 8/13/2015
      crazyjoedavola
      Oct 16, 2017 at 10:27 AM

      I think Ulizio is half decent at run blocking but is a total disaster in pass protection. JBB is a decent run blocker, but we don’t know enough about his pass protection this year because Indiana does not have elite edge rushers. Last year he was terrible at it and he got owned by MSU this year. So it remains to be seen if he is an upgrade over Ulizio.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3600
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 16, 2017 at 11:04 AM

        Ulizio got this rep as a run blocker but the run game seemed to get better quickly when he got benched. Not definitive but interesting.

  3. Comments: 731
    Joined: 1/19/2016
    je93
    Oct 16, 2017 at 9:27 AM

    As for McDoom, if we’re going to control the clock with a run game on Saturday, I’d rather see Ways out there

    • Comments: 506
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Oct 16, 2017 at 7:03 PM

      I’d like to see one play to go long (DPJ or Crawford) and 1 play to go to the TE over the middle just to keep the safety honest.

      The rest of the pass plays include a slant to Perry or bootlegs. Simple stuff set up by grinding yards up the middle for the most part. Bleed the clock and try and get some turnover’s.

      I do think PSU wins. UM is going to have to play it’s best game of the Harbaugh era, on the road. Good luck. Has UM beaten a road team as a dog in the Harbaugh era? I don’t think so. Non-bowl game.

      17
      10

  4. Lanknows
    Comments: 3600
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 16, 2017 at 11:02 AM

    Higdon grabs the RB job forcefully but the first name on let’s see more is Ty Isaac. Ha. I see the point, but disagree that either Evans or Isaac is better than Wheatley. The 2 TE set is more effective than the 3 RB set IMO. Wouldn’t mind seeing a bit of it for fun though.

    Evans in the slot is worthwhile too – though we have plenty of options for that role. As for CBs, I think Thomas would be a better option on offense than Hill just because he has some experience with playing it and got hype for it at The Opening.

    McDoom and Crawford deserve less targets but with Schonle and Black out there’s only so many options. I would just play Perry and DPJ on the vast majority of downs. And more Gentry 2TE sets. If Harris is really practicing with the team again, I don’t know why he isn’t out there a bit too. Crawford’s been that bad.

    • Comments: 506
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Oct 16, 2017 at 5:19 PM

      I agree. Two TE sets. Plenty of Hill.

    • Blue in NC
      Comments: 25
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Blue in NC
      Oct 17, 2017 at 9:49 AM

      Agreed on Thomas. No need to move Hill there when Thomas and Evans would be perfectly good options.

      • Comments: 2231
        Joined: 7/13/2015
        Oct 17, 2017 at 9:53 AM

        There’s a reason that freshmen don’t often play both ways. Ambry Thomas is still learning the defense, and his head is probably swimming right now. He’s playing slot corner and learning outside corner. I wouldn’t want to mess with him learning offense.

  5. Comments: 506
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Oct 16, 2017 at 5:03 PM

    NEED HELP: For either LK or Thunder. Anyone for that matter.

    Am I blind or missing something? Do I not understand football? There are some IU AND UM fans who don’t think the play at 59:00 is not holding.

    I don’t get it. I clearly see (maybe I am blind) but the defender is holding the jersey of the wr so he can’t get away and he is holding for 5 + yards. I also thought the UM player who intercepted the ball later was holding the IU wr.

    I am asking anyone. Can you tell me why I am wrong. Am I not seeing it correctly? Is he NOT holding. That seems pretty blatant. I see McDoom actually grabbing the jersey but he let’s go after a couple of yards early in the route. Maybe I should watch again.

    Tell me if I need to go the optometrist or go to a football education program. By the way the IU staff is still upset over this call. I must be blind or stupid.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUPqlYQyaAA

    • Comments: 2231
      Joined: 7/13/2015
      Oct 16, 2017 at 9:07 PM

      It’s holding. Or pass interference. Either way, depending on when the ball gets thrown. Regardless, it should be a penalty. Now I will say that it wasn’t as egregious as many holding/PI calls, and a lot of times you’ll see something like that play go uncalled. But it was indeed a penalty, and I’m sure the league would agree if asked to review it.

    • Comments: 127
      Joined: 8/12/2015
      coachernie
      Oct 16, 2017 at 9:37 PM

      holding is part of football… the extreme stuff should be called …otherwise let them play it out …
      see rub routes /crossing patterns for example

      • Comments: 506
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Oct 16, 2017 at 11:23 PM

        I hear you although grabbing a jersey so the receiver can’t get away is probably not good for the sport. I am all for defenders being able to get physical.

        There is a reason holding is called otherwise it becomes a wrestling match and not a football game.

        • Comments: 10
          Joined: 10/16/2015
          Vienna Jack
          Oct 17, 2017 at 6:48 PM

          In addition to holding onto McDoom’s jersey, when McDoom tried to move towards the ball, Fant pushed him away from it and then turned to catch it himself. If Fant had not pushed McDoom away, then McDoom would have had a play for the ball. Looked like pretty clear PI to me, especially with Fant using his hold on McDoom’s jersey to push him away from the ball.

  6. mos12
    Comments: 28
    Joined: 8/15/2016
    mos12
    Oct 16, 2017 at 8:28 PM

    I was wondering what was up with the Kareem Walker cameo. One carry, one nifty run for a first down and then … gone! I’d like to see him get some more touches.

    • Comments: 127
      Joined: 8/12/2015
      coachernie
      Oct 16, 2017 at 9:33 PM

      yeah.. very weird. He looked awesome on that one run and then never got a second chance. Was he nicked up?!… at the end of the run he delivered a hit on the db trying to tackle him, possibly that dinged him up?

  7. Comments: 156
    Joined: 12/24/2016
    INTJohn
    Oct 16, 2017 at 8:44 PM

    I’m on the Peters bandwagon. Want to see more of Peters. Not in the PSU game but after that; against Rutgers, Minnesota & Maryland. Give him significant playing time in all 3 of those games; see how he does – he’ll at least get his feet more than wet and gain valuable experience that will certainly be needed next year if not this.

    O’Korn is not the future QB for Michigan football and given how this offense is sputtering at QB this season its time to give the future a lot of reps. Sp8 may not be back next year and even if McCaff does win the starting role Peters will still need that valuable experience coming off the bench as No 1 backup.

    Moar Peters!
    Please?…………..INTJohn

  8. Comments: 506
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Oct 16, 2017 at 9:16 PM

    The question is not whether Peters is better or worse than JOK. The question is whether playing Peters going to help Peters and UM win in the long run.

    Does throwing a guy into battle before he is fully ready help or hurt his confidence? I’ll leave it up to Harbaugh. If the answer is that Peters loses the same amount of games JOK does this year then does the experience help or hurt him going forward.

    Good question. I don’t know.

    • Lanknows
      Comments: 3600
      Joined: 8/11/2015
      Lanknows
      Oct 17, 2017 at 12:08 AM

      That’s not the question.

      We are 5-1. Right now is about right now.

      • Lanknows
        Comments: 3600
        Joined: 8/11/2015
        Lanknows
        Oct 17, 2017 at 12:09 AM

        Good statement. Yes.

      • Comments: 506
        Joined: 9/13/2015
        michymich
        Oct 17, 2017 at 10:30 PM

        I don’t know. Unless Peters is significantly better than JOK and can win games I don’t think Harbaugh is making a switch. I think people are deluding themselves that Peters is somehow about to come in from JOK even when playing RU.

        I think Harbaugh expects a certain level of game leader from his qb and Peters is probably not able to run the playbook at the level he desires. Hopefully next year. I expect JOK and staff will do okay at PSU.

        • Lanknows
          Comments: 3600
          Joined: 8/11/2015
          Lanknows
          Oct 18, 2017 at 11:51 AM

          RE: Next Year

          Per UMBIG11 (and sanity) the likely starter in 2018 will be Speight. Yet another reason why burning 2017 to the ground to ‘develop’ Peters doesn’t make sense. We’re talking about a candidate for 2019 starter* and maybe not even the top one with McCaffrey, Milton, and the new kid from DC whose name I can’t remember.

          *Though, to be fair, we need our backup QB most years.

          • Comments: 506
            Joined: 9/13/2015
            michymich
            Oct 18, 2017 at 12:59 PM

            So you agree that it’s just not about now? Interesting. I agree.

            Here is what my sizable gut says. Speight will wind up winning the job next year and will probably do okay since the run game should be better. Speight can be a good qb when he is confident AND he is the 2nd option and not the 1st in the offense. The wr’s should be better and Black and the TE’s will be back. A LT and RT should help. Well I am being too optimistic but I do believe Speight will win the job. Experience does make a difference.

            That being said, Peters has to make a serious push next year. A qb just can’t be invisible and then all of a sudden he is going to turn into the 2nd coming of Chad Henne. Word needs to come down by Spring that Peters has clicked somewhat because as Balas has stated it sure looks like he is a recruiting miss.

            What is that ole adage, if you were going to make it you would have made it by now? Things need to start trending up for Peters by spring next year.

            • Comments: 731
              Joined: 1/19/2016
              je93
              Oct 18, 2017 at 7:40 PM

              If that old adage is true, what’s it mean for JOK & speight?

              I hope one of the younger guys gets it going soon, because this team simply needs better than what we’ve had

            • Lanknows
              Comments: 3600
              Joined: 8/11/2015
              Lanknows
              Oct 19, 2017 at 2:09 AM

              Nope. Not what I said at all.

              Plenty of QBs take years to develop. Tom Brady was one.

  9. Lanknows
    Comments: 3600
    Joined: 8/11/2015
    Lanknows
    Oct 17, 2017 at 12:18 AM

    10 reasons why Michigan beats PSU:

    1. PSU Ain’t Played Nobody! Indiana is 38 in S&P, Iowa is 42 (1 spot below Florida). Northwestern and Pitt are in the 70s and 80s and then it was Akron (108) and Georgia State or something.

    2. They weren’t that impressive against teams with a pulse. Jumped out to a 28-0 lead against Indiana but it was flukey stuff (special teams and turnovers) and they never really dominated despite the scoreboard. Luck went the other way against Iowa, keeping the game closer than it actually was. Still, a close game in the 4th quarter is a close game in the 4th quarter.

    3. They ain’t ready! Michigan is the best team they’ve faced by a good bit (#15 in S&P). In contrast:

    4. We’ve already played on the road against Florida, Indiana, and Purdue. We’ve already played at night. We’ve already played high profile national TV games. We’ve already seen a team that hates our guts.

    5. Potentially favorable matchup: their pass D has been elite but their run D has been statistically meh. Pitt ran for 170 yards and Indiana 190. Iowa just 80 but almost 4YPC. This would seem to play into our potential strategy of run run run deep shot run run run.

    6. Our defense gives us a shot against anyone. This will be BY FAR their toughest test but IF they continue shutting down PSU … like last 2 years vs PSU, and everyone they’ve seen this year… we might be able to do the MSU thing where we eke out a 20-16 win by limiting possessions running 3-5 yards at a time, cobbling together 2 longer scoring drives with a couple clever play calls, and holding them to FGs instead of TDs.

    7. The Mone/Furbush dynamic makes us hard to scheme for and Bush is about the best dude to contain Barkley I can think of.

    8. Harbaugh owns Franklin.

    9. We get to be the “nothing to lose” guys for once. They’re going to be very worked up: Ranked #2, playing at night, Gameday, White-Out, double digit favorites — everything to lose. They think we’re their rival and keep losing to us. Pressures all on one side.

    10.At some point one of our WRs will make a play.

    BONUS: It’s college football. With our D we’re a smart offensive gameplan and a couple lucky bounces away from winning any game.

  10. Comments: 506
    Joined: 9/13/2015
    michymich
    Oct 17, 2017 at 10:26 PM

    Would you like to have a bet straight up? I’ll take PSU.

  11. Comments: 953
    Joined: 8/13/2015
    Roanman
    Oct 18, 2017 at 7:55 AM

    I finally got to watch this game last night.

    On O’Korn’s great/likely really lucky, scrambling completion to DPJ it looks to me like they are trying to move the pocket left, or at least Onwenu and JBB are trying to shuffle the pocket left. JBB in particular starts sliding left immediately. and looks left the entire play while three …count em … THREE … guys pour in to his right. He never sniffs them, he ain’t even looking for them.

    I have no clue what’s intended as he and Onwenu pinch the scheme. I’m sure somebody blew something, but who?

    I thought row run blocking was improved. TV guys made a big deal about Hill going left, circling O’Korn before leading back to the right side on a play they ran and then pretty much came right back with for real good yards both times. Bredeson was solid both times.

    They were blitzing the run in similar fashion to the way we do, we picked them up repeatedly.

    Walker’s run was fun, but he looked like a wild freshman with legs going in every direction turning the corner. I’m thinking he was way pumped. He has some serious acceleration.

    The game in 40 minutes thing is a blessing, I’m not sure I could have made it through this one in real time.

    • Comments: 506
      Joined: 9/13/2015
      michymich
      Oct 18, 2017 at 12:50 PM

      Here is what I have learned from JOK. There was a reason he left the pocket and took off running, his primary target was covered so he panicked. He has gotten better but instead of running he still locks onto his primary. The funny part is that he has improved from running after noticing his primary is covered to now passing into potentially double coverage instead of running. Which one is better? Lol.

      I was listening to some podcast yesterday and the coaching staff is supposedly trying to show him that other people will be open if he is willing to look in their direction. This is a hard thing to teach. This is where somebody like Brady has a gift. He can sort of survey the field and find the mismatch or go thru a few progressions. It’s a gift. Not a curse.

      JOK can throw but if you watch him play right now he seems so hyped up rather than being relaxed and having the game slow down. This to me is the challenge for Harbaugh. Teaching JOK to settle down. Going to the next stage of his development and teaching him not to panic when the initial route is covered. Now, I personally think until they see him improve in practice to wait and just have designated one route pass and run plays for him and just rely on the running game. I don’t think JOK is going to suddenly learn how to find his 2nd option. Maybe next year. 🙂

      Not many qb’s can play at even a high college qb level and go thru progressions otherwise they would be high NFL draft picks.

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