Jim Harbaugh called it a “miracle” Wolverines running back Drake Johnson was not seriously harmed when he was run over by a forklift in April, and a police report unearthed Tuesday detailed exactly how it happened.
According to the document obtained by the Detroit News, a forklift operator identified named Matt Johnson was operating his vehicle at Michigan’s indoor track facility “and felt a bump, stating he thought he ran over a starting block, when he saw Drake Johnson, a student-athlete, roll from under the forklift. And M. Johnson realized he had ran over Drake Johnson who was sitting on the track floor stretching.”
The operator only realized he ran over the running back when he rolled out from under the vehicle.
Johnson was examined by a Michigan athletic trainer at the scene, then again at Schembechler Hall before being transported to U-M Hospital’s emergency room by athletic staff.
“All I can say is thank god,” Johnson later tweeted.
“I can tell you this, it would have killed a lesser man, but he is blue twisted steel, very flexible and amazing,” Harbaugh said on the call. “But it’s one of those miraculous things and he is doing well.”
“It’s a miracle right up there with Easter. Just thanking God he is all right, that’s my thoughts on it.”
We still don’t the specifics of a bizarre incident from yesterday, but we now know it could’ve been a whole hell of a lot worse.
Rumors began circulating Tuesday night that Michigan running back Drake Johnson was hospitalized after being run over by a forklift at an on-campus indoor practice facility. Wednesday, the university would only confirm that Johnson had been involved in an incident that required medical treatment.
While not getting into the details, Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh addressed the situation during the Big Ten coaches call early this afternoon.
It’s still unknown the extent of the injury or injuries Johnson sustained in the accident. The good news, though, is that it appears the player is a lot better off than he could’ve been.
I haven’t bothered to do a search, but I think I can safely say that the above words are making their first-ever appearance in a headline at our humble abode.
Wednesday, rumors began circulating around the vast expanses of the Internet that Michigan running back Drake Johnson had been involved in an accident at UM’s indoor track building. Specifically, the speculation was that Johnson was either run over or hit by a forklift while stretching prior to a workout.
Thursday, while they didn’t confirm the specifics, UM officials did indeed confirm that Johnson was involved in some kind of incident yesterday at the indoor facility.
The specific injury or injuries suffered by Johnson haven’t been detailed, although the player indicated on Twitter that he’s OK.
Unfortunately for the running back, injuries are not a new phenomenon.
Johnson tore the ACL in his left knee, while scoring a touchdown, in the loss to Ohio State to close out the 2014 season. In the 2013 opener, he tore the ACL in the same knee and missed the remainder of the season.
Returning in 2014, Johnson was the Wolverines’ third-leading rusher in 2014 with 361 yards. His four rushing touchdowns were tied for second on the team.
Last season, he ran for 271 yards and another four rushing touchdowns as he started one of the 12 games in which he played. The rushing yards were second on the team.
It was supposed to be a bloody-nosed fist fight pitting two of college football’s best defenses, but only one team showed up as No. 18 Michigan exposed No. 13 Northwestern, winning 38-0 at the Big House Saturday afternoon.
The demolition started from the opening kick – literally – as Jehu Chesson returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. The Wolverines forced a three-and-out and then marched 59 yards in seven plays, capped by a one-yard Drake Johnson run, effectively ending the game less than five minutes after it started. Jake Rudock danced in from two yards out, punctuating a six-play, 75-yard drive, to give Michigan a 21-0 lead before the end of the first quarter.
Jourdan Lewis added a 37-yard interception return just before the break to give the Wolverines a 28-0 halftime lead, and Derrick Green provided the exclamation point with a four-yard rush with 2:14 remaining.
In all, Michigan rushed 45 times for 203 yards and three touchdowns while Rudock added an economical 179 yards on 17-of-23 passing.
But the story, again, was the Michigan defense.
Against an admittedly limited opponent (Northwestern came in ranked 116th nationally in yards per play), Michigan posted its third shutout in a row, with an overall edge of 160-14 in its five-game winning streak. The maize and blue held Northwestern to 168 yards of total offense (130 passing, 38 rushing) and 13 first downs on the day.
But it wasn’t just what happened in Ann Arbor that staked Michigan’s claim as the Big Ten’s best team. Down south, Ohio State struggled with a Maryland team that Michigan blanked 28-0 in College Park just one week ago.
In the end, the question remains unanswered. But that it’s a question at all magnifies the job Jim Harbaugh and company have done this season.
Michigan’s offense has already produced two touchdowns. And considering the Wolverines’ special teams and defense have also added touchdowns on their own, that’s a major problem for Northwestern.
In a game that was billed as “first to 14 wins” in a battle of top-ranked defenses, No. 18 Michigan has thoroughly dominated No. 13 Northwestern, taking a 28-0 lead into the break at the Big House.
The fun started for the Wolverines on the very first play, as Jehu Chesson returned the opening kickoff 96 yards for a touchdown. Michigan then forced a three-and-out and moved 59 yards in seven plays, setting up a one-yard Drake Johnson touchdown plunge and effectively putting the game out of reach not five minutes in.
Jake Rudock added a two-yard keeper to give the Wolverines a 21-0 edge at the 2:35 mark of the first quarter. Jourdan Lewis added to the lead with a 37-yard interception return for a touchdown with 3:20 remaining in the half.
Northwestern’s offense, ranked 116th in yards per play and 89th in scoring entering the day, mustered only 95 yards, including 24 yards on 16 rushes, in the first half.
Michigan achieved an economical 213 yards, 119 on Rudock’s arm and 94 on the ground. And its defense hasn’t allowed a point since Sept. 19, pushing the maize and blue’s unanswered scoring run to 87 points.
Northwestern will receive the second half kickoff.