By RICKY LINDSAY, Editor-in-Chief
It’s been a long time coming for Michigan’s soft-spoken fullback.
Sione Houma has appeared in every game the team has played from 2012-2014. Seeing the field has never been an issue for the senior.
But with all those games played, he never had a shot to display his talents; former head coach Brady Hoke’s offense did not utilize fullbacks.
Enter Jim Harbaugh and a career revitalization for Houma.
Harbaugh’s offense employs the position in a power run game. It’s allowed Houma — who was primarily a pass catcher until this season, albeit in a modest role — to record his first rushing statistics in his four-year career.
In Michigan’s game against the University of Nevada Las Vegas on Saturday, Houma’s patience paid off.
Early in the fourth quarter of the Wolverines 28-7 win over the Rebels, Houma was targeted on a 6-yard pass from quarterback Jake Rudock. It appeared Houma crossed into the end zone, but officials reviewed the play and ruled him down at the half-yard line. It would have been his first-career touchdown.
“I thought I scored, so everyone was giving me high-fives and hugging me, saying congrats,” Houma said. “Then they call the review.”
Houma got a second chance at his first career touchdown on the next play when the coaches called a fullback run.
“I knew I had to make that one,” he said.
And Houma did — he pounded through the line for a 1-yard score to put away UNLV.
It was an incredible moment for a player who waited over three years for his opportunity.
“It was my first touchdown of my career. I just laid there and tried to take in the moment,” Houma said. “(I) thanked God; he’s the one that did it. He built me up to be this fullback that I am right now.”
Houma was asked by a reporter where his first career touchdown ranked amongst the best moments in his life. He didn’t hesitate with his answer.
“Probably number one. There’s no feeling like scoring your first touchdown on your home turf,” he said.
Jehu Chesson lives with Houma and Drake Johnson. Houma said they call their house ‘The Kingdom.’
“We just came up with it,” Houma said. “When we all get together, it’s like, ‘Kingdom!'”
The trio have talked about Houma scoring. Chesson was elated that it finally happened.
“Once we saw him score, it was unbelievable,” Chesson said. “We’d always be talking about it. He’d be saying, ‘Man, I just got a fullback run, maybe I can score on that.’
“I’m so happy for him; I love him so much. He works so hard… to help his team win in practice.”
When the Wolverines lined up for the play after Houma’s touchdown reception was overturned, they had a feeling he’d get the ball again.
“I knew coach Harbaugh would probably (give Houma the ball) because he gives the ball to people who are deserving of carrying the team in his hands, and Sione is very deserving of carrying the team in his hands,” Chesson said.
Houma doesn’t have much to say often, but when he does, Chesson insists you listen.
“He really doesn’t talk that much, but he’ll get you going, man,” Chesson said. “If I have a bad day or if I drop an easy ball… he’s right there with you. When he does talk, you have to listen to him because it’s something special.”