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Takeaways from UM win: Higdon jumps into RB mix

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

What went right

Pretty much everything, starting with Jehu Chesson’s 96-yard return of the opening kickoff for a touchdown and Jourdan Lewis’ 37-yard interception return to touchdown runs by Drake Johnson and quarterback Jake Rudock. Michigan shut down the Big Ten’s leading rushing team, holding the Wildcats to 38 yards, including 14 in the second half.

What went wrong

There’s not a lot that went wrong in Michigan’s 38-0 pounding of Northwestern last Saturday, considering the Wolverines had touchdowns from special teams, defense and the offense. The only real negative for Michigan was linebacker James Ross’ ejection for targeting in the second half. Per the rules, he will miss the first half of the Michigan State game. Then again, there is the fact Michigan’s defense held each of its previous two opponents to 105 yards of offense, and Northwestern gained 168, so if you’re looking for some regression...

Key developments

Michigan saw the return of lead back De’Veon Smith from an ankle injury, and he gained 59 yards on eight carries. Seven running backs had carries for the Wolverines, including fullbacks Sione Houma and Joe Kerridge. But perhaps the most interesting development in the run game, aside from Derrick Green rushing for 47 yards on 12 carries and scoring a touchdown, was freshman Karan Higdon. He had eight carries for 16 yards. UM coach Jim Harbaugh said Higdon has been improving every day.

Most telling quotes

Tailback De’Veon Smith: “There’s something different about this team than there was last year even though we have basically the same players. I don’t know, there’s something different about us. We’re tired of losing. We have that confidence and swagger about us. I feel we believe in each other. We believe we can win next week.”

Cornerback Jourdan Lewis on Michigan State: “I know they’re a good team. A great team, actually.”

Harbaugh on quarterback Jake Rudock: “I saw it during the week of practice, he’s playing his best football, playing very confident. Thought he would have a good game (against Northwestern), thought he had an outstanding game. I saw it coming. He’s good in practice, good in games. He’s playing really good football.”