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Football: O’Korn brings new threat for Michigan offense

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Michigan quarterback John O'Korn is pressured by Indiana defenders during the Wolverines' game against Indiana on Nov. 19. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

Michigan quarterback John O’Korn is pressured by Indiana defenders during the Wolverines’ game against Indiana on Nov. 19. Credit: Courtesy of TNS

The No. 3 Michigan Wolverines lost their starting quarterback Wilton Speight to a collarbone injury against Iowa. On Saturday against Indiana, everyone had a chance to witness the Wolverines’ backup quarterback start a football game for his first time since 2014.

John O’Korn, a redshirt junior, transferred from Houston last season after seeing playing time lost to Greg Ward Jr., the Cougars current starter. O’Korn played in all 13 games in 2013 and recorded 3,117 yards, 28 touchdowns and 10 interceptions with a completion rate of 58 percent.

Standing at 6-foot-4 and weighing in at 215 pounds, O’Korn is a big quarterback who is not afraid to run. With more than 100 career rushes in his college career, he has been known to show off his athleticism and run when a play breaks down or the defensive coverage is too tight. Last weekend, one of his biggest highlight came on a momentous 30-yard scamper that set up a rushing touchdown on the next play. Look for Ohio State to focus on containing him on Saturday, as O’Korn’s running might be something on the radar of OSU coach Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes.

In his first start for the Wolverines against the Hoosiers, his stat line was unimpressive, to say the least, completing just 7-of-16 passes for 59 yards and adding 19 yards rushing on six attempts. A couple of factors such as snowy conditions, limited attempts, and conservative, run-heavy play calling all attributed to the lackluster play of O’Korn. It was still an alarmingly average game by the quarterback, and much still remains unknown heading into The Game. Perhaps that is the plan of Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who is known for his dedication to confusing opponents.

Furthermore, comparing the statistics of the two starting quarterbacks for the game would be arbitrary. Barrett and the Buckeyes offense have been inconsistent.

At the same time, don’t write off O’Korn for one poor game. His only start was uninspiring, but conditions were against him, and he has proved to be a competent starter in the past. Don’t forget, before the start of the season, Michigan had an intense quarterback competition between Speight and O’Korn, showing he has the talent and the trust of his team. Ultimately, when the clock strikes noon this Saturday, OSU will learn who will start at quarterback for Michigan. Regardless of who starts at quarterback for Michigan, the game is sure to be an instant classic in a legendary rivalry.

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