By JERAMY STOVER, Sports Editor
Running the ball hasn’t been the Michigan Wolverines’ strength the last two games against Colorado and Central Florida. But they certainly dominated Penn State on the ground on Saturday.
Michigan rushed for a season-high 326-yards against the Nittany Lions and averaged an excellent 6.7 yards per carry. The fierce rushing attack didn’t come from just one Wolverine, as four of the running backs recorded over 50-yards and five different Wolverines scored rushing touchdowns.
Head coach Jim Harbaugh said he was “really impressed” with the running game and pointed out certain things each of his running backs did well. He also praised the offensive line for the job they did blocking and opening up holes for the running backs.
De’Veon Smith rushed for a team-high 107-yards on 12 carries. Karan Higdon was the second string running back and didn’t disappoint rushing for 81-yards and finding the end zone twice. Ty Isaac and Chris Evans also contributed nicely recording 74 and 56 yards respectively.
Harbaugh explained that the run game was effective in getting first downs and getting big gains throughout the game.
“It’s moving the chains and breaking some big runs is a good way to move the ball. That’s what we want to do move the ball and put the ball in the end zone and score points and I thought our offense was very effective in doing that today,” Harbaugh said.
In the middle of the third quarter Michigan started a drive on their own 20-yard line. The Wolverines called eight straight run plays and marched down the field for a touchdown. The drive started with a big 37-yard rush by Evans and ended with a three yard rushing touchdown by the same guy.
Quarterback Wilton Speight pointed out a drive in which offensive coordinator Tim Drevno called the same run play eight times in a row. Speight said he started to laugh during the drive as the Wolverines kept finding success on the same play.
“There was one drive I think it was the third or fourth quarter but we would call the same play like eight times in a row we would just flip it back and forth and I just started laughing looking at the play call because they would do the same signal, the same number every time and the linemen were getting so excited because I called the same play and we were getting like nine or ten (yards per time),” Speight said. “When that happens it’s demoralizing probably for a defense I’ve never played defense but I could imagine that would suck to go through that every single play having someone just run you over, that builds our confidence and probably makes them lose confidence.
Michigan will have a tough test next week against Wisconsin. The Badgers have allowed just 80.5 yards per rush this season.