Michigan Michigan State Player Breakdowns
It was a rough night for Michigan backup QB John O’Korn against arch-rival Michigan State. O’Korn was given the starting nod after starter Wilton Speight went down with an injury two weeks ago against Purdue. This morning, we learned that Speight is likely out for the season, which means O’Korn will be the starter the rest of the way. It was O’Korn’s second start at QB for Michigan, and it was not a good one. After seeing a tremendous performance from O’Korn two weeks ago against Purdue, most fans were expecting another great performance against Michigan State. Well, that certainly wasn’t the case. O’Korn completed 16 of his 35 passes for 198 yards, including 3 interceptions. O’Korn also carried the ball 8 times for -9 yards. He constantly scrambled out of the pocket and tried to make a play. O’Korn was sacked 4 times, but tackled for a loss multiple times. Due to the poor weather conditions, O’Korn could not connect with his receivers. It isn’t all on O’Korn, however. The Michigan receivers dropped balls again and again, giving O’Korn minimal help. He tried forcing the throw a few times, resulting in interceptions. Bad offensive play calling made O’Korn’s job even more difficult. Overall, it just wasn’t a good performance for the Wolverine offense.
Junior RB Karan Higdon was the only bright spot of the Michigan offense. Higdon carried the ball 12 times for 65 yards and also caught 2 passes for 33 yards. Higdon carried the ball many times once the heavy rain started to fall. He continued to slip through tackles and gain 5.4 yards per carry. For some reason, the Wolverines decided to throw the ball on crucial downs, even though Higdon was running the ball so well. Because of a fumble from Ty Isaac in the first quarter, Higdon took over running the football along with Chris Evans. A holding penalty on Higdon wiped out a deep touchdown throw from O’Korn to Kekoa Crawford. To me, Higdon is the best runner on the team. He finds gaps and slips tackles. He also has a great burst of speed and unexpected power. Look for him to get more carries throughout the season.
Senior DT Maurice Hurst had himself quite a night. Hurst recorded 8 tackles in the game, including 2.5 tackles for loss. Hurst’s quickness was on full display last night, getting into the backfield in a hurry. This quickness caused Michigan State’s running backs to make jump cuts into more Michigan defenders, resulting in minimal yardage. The trio of Hurst, Chase Winovich, and Rashan Gary have played very well this season and are getting more and more dangerous as the season moves on.
I cannot praise this man enough. Lavert Hill is turning into the lock-down corner that we have seen in recent years at Michigan. Hill tallied one tackle along with 3 passes breakups. He was even coming off of his man to make a play on a different receiver. Blake Countess, JT Floyd, Jourdan Lewis, Jeremy Clark, Channing Stribling, and now Lavert Hill. Like I have said before, Hill will finish this season as the top defensive back in the Big Ten.
Featured Image Credit – Mike Carter, USA TODAY Sports