Everything about it was perfect. The call was right, the blocks were right, the cut was right and the dash down the sideline for a 67-yard touchdown was exactly right.

That was Karan Higdon’s magical moment last Saturday as he put on a show in the first half of the Wolverines’ 49-3 win against a decent Western Michigan team. The big play by Higdon was important, for a variety of reasons.

First off, Michigan always prefers to be a power running team, even with a gunslinger like Shea Patterson now in town to play quarterback. Nope, nothing makes Jim Harbaugh happier than to see his running game knock off big chunks of yards.

Higdon did that Saturday. His 67-yard run in the first quarter gave the Wolverines a 14-0 lead and helped set the tone for the rout. He finished with 156 yards on just 13 carries, all in the first half.

There’s no denying that Higdon is the featured back for Michigan, and it’s going to remain that way all year — barring injury, of course. He’s earned it, even with plenty of depth in that running back room.

But what he learned Saturday is that Michigan’s offense looks completely different when the running game is rolling. All it takes is comparing the first two games, the loss to Notre Dame and the win against Western Michigan. Granted, the talent level of the opposition was vastly different, but there’s still a lot we can learn.

What we learned in the Notre Dame game is that offensive line couldn’t make many holes for Higdon and his mates. Hidden managed only 72 yards on 21 carries against the Fighting Irish. So, forced to throw, Patterson was under immense pressure all night. It was not good, and the Wolverines wound up paying for it with the 24-17 loss.

Against Western Michigan, the run and the pass were both clicking. Again, I understand the talent gap difference, but it’s still good for Michigan to experience all that. It’s critical because they’ll need that balance at the end of the year against the big boys like Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan State and Ohio State. Winning the Big Ten East can’t happen without a solid running game.

And, of course, being able to run the ball that time of year is huge because of the weather. You know there’s going to be a sloppy Saturday or two in there, and solely relying on Patterson’s arm is a recipe for disaster.

It’s going to be nice to see what happens in this next little stretch against SMU, Nebraska, Northwestern and Maryland. It better be four wins, and it will be nice if those four wins come in games where the running game keeps everything under control. We may not see 308 yards on the ground in every game like we did on Saturday, but that should be the goal.

Control the game on the ground and then let Patterson do his thing, especially in play-action. If that happens, the Wolverines offense could be a big factor again.