Guarantees are not always equal.

Such was the case this week when Michigan running back Karan Higdon was asked whether he wanted to match his coach, Jim Harbaugh, from 22 years ago by guaranteeing a win Saturday over Ohio State, which Harbaugh famously did when he was the Wolverines quarterback.

Harbaugh said Higdon, a senior captain, was led into the matter by a reporter who asked a couple of times. Higdon responded with “I do” and spoke of the confidence he has in his teammates, but the word “guarantee” never came out of his mouth.

 

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Nevertheless, it’s out there, and as Bo Schembechler, Harbaugh’s coach, told him then, “You better back it up.”

Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson said the Wolverines have Higdon’s back.

“He is our captain,” Patterson said. “I don't think there is any lack of confidence from any player in our locker room. I feel like everyone feels that way. He is our captain, so we support him.”

The play of Patterson and Higdon will go a long way toward deciding the outcome. Higdon gained 101 yards and scored the go-ahead touchdown last week against Indiana. Patterson added 68 yards on the ground.

Considering how Maryland freshman running back Anthony McFarland ripped through the Ohio State defense a week ago for 298 yards, with 156 of that coming on touchdown runs of 81 and 75 yards, that could bode well for Higdon, who is second in the Big Ten in rushing with 1,106 yards.

“He’s a very talented player, really explosive player,” Ohio State linebacker Tuf Borland said. “It will be a good challenge for us.”

And he meant that no matter the guarantee.

“We’re not really concerned about it,” Borland said. “We’re going to control what we can control in these four walls and see what it brings Saturday.”

tmay@dispatch.com

@TIM_MAYsports