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Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh finally heard from the Big Ten regarding what he called a “phantom hold” on running back Karan Higdon in last Saturday’s game at Northwestern.

Harbaugh said during his appearance on the “Jamie and Stoney” show on 97.1 The Ticket Wednesday morning the Big Ten admitted it made a mistake.

“I’d say it’s the worst call in the history of college football since 1869,” Harbaugh told the show. “I’d put it right up there with that.”

Early in the fourth quarter with Michigan trailing, 17-13, quarterback Shea Patterson, on second and eight from the Michigan 39, ran 20 yards to the Northwestern 41-yard line. But running back Karan Higdon was called for holding and suddenly the Wolverines were in a second-and-18 situation from the U-M 29.

The problem was, Higdon had been tackled.

More: Shea Patterson's 'infectious energy' gives Michigan a jolt

Harbaugh was asked if the Big Ten basically said, ‘Yeah, sorry, we missed it.’”

“Yeah,” Harbaugh said. “There’s nothing else to say. The running back, Karan Higdon, we faked it to him on a zone read, Shea pulled it and ran for 22 yards, I think it was 22, and their linebacker tackled Karan Higdon and then threw him down to the ground. It was a heck of a fake by Karan and then they call Karan for holding the linebacker.”

Here are some of the highlights from the show:

How much do you focus on why the team doesn’t start fast on the road? “You’d like to come out and have every drive be successful and you’d like to stop the opponent on every single drive. That’s rarely the case in any football game I ever watch. There’s two opposing wills. Northwestern played very well the first quarter of the game offensively. They converted plays, made plays, guys making plays and defensively they got stops. I think our offense had the ball two or three possessions and didn’t get the ball across midfield. Playing 60 minutes, playing the entire game I thought our coaches worked extremely hard, made adjustments in the ball game and the players, as Chase Winovich said, were willing and talented enough to come back and win the ball game.”

More: UM cornerback Long backs up his hot take on Twitter

It appears Patterson is doing everything asked: “That and more. Really happy with Shea. He’s ascending and improving every single week. Things that stood out this week the most, like Chase was on defense, Chase was a real catalyst on defense this past week. His 11 tackles, his tackles for losses and sack and his energy. Shea was that on offense, Shea was that catalyst on offense. Not only him making the plays, or the throws but also getting out of trouble, extending drives with his runs. You really felt him out there.  You really felt his leadership and his energy. Other guys were feeding on it as well. Karan also carried the ball 30 times, was a real catalyst in the ball game.”

(Fan question) Why not open the offense and run the spread? “We run quite a few spread plays in the ball game. You saw Shea running the zone road. We’re operating out of multiple spread formations throughout the ball game. Throwing and running the ball out of what’s called the spread offense.”

(Fan question) What is the plan to fix the offensive line having trouble opening holes in the middle: “We’ve been effective quite a bit running the ball this year. In the Big Ten, we strive for 200 yards rushing a game. That’s our goal. If we can get to 200 yards rushing a game and 200 yards passing a game, that’s the goal that we strive for. Other than that, I know everybody … I heard a great line the other day, (a friend) was telling me one of his dad’s favorite quotes of all time was ‘Every person in the world knows how to do three things — start a fire, pack a trunk and coach football.’”

achengelis@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @chengelis

 

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