The TSX Files: Michigan Monday

The U-M plan this season was to let the running backs do the majority of the work and keep Robinson healthy for the stretch run. After several false starts in that campaign, the Wolverines might have found a solution to their dilemma. Sophomore RB Fitzgerald Toussaint carried the ball 20 times in a 36-14 victory over Purdue on Oct. 29 and piled up 170 yards, scoring a pair of touchdowns.

INSIDE SLANT
Toussaint steps up as another offensive option


It has been an arduous search as Michigan has sought out another viable offensive option in its effort to protect and preserve the health of junior QB Denard Robinson.

The Wolverines learned a tough lesson last season when, after Robinson wowed the college football world and made a strong case for his Heisman Trophy candidacy with his explosive running in the first half of the year, then saw him limp through the final month, battered by injuries from all of the contact.

The plan this season was to let the running backs do the majority of the work and keep Robinson healthy for the stretch run. After several false starts in that campaign, the Wolverines might have found a solution to their dilemma. Sophomore RB Fitzgerald Toussaint carried the ball 20 times in a 36-14 victory over Purdue on Oct. 29 and piled up 170 yards, scoring a pair of touchdowns.

"It's always an emphasis," senior OT Mark Huyge said about spreading the work load around. "One of our main goals is to get some tailback yardage, because when we can get our tailbacks out and take some pressure off of Denard, that's a big thing and that's a big key to our success."

Michigan coach Brady Hoke said that if Toussaint or the other Michigan backs are picking up yardage, the passing game improves and Robinson gets protected.

"We want to run the football, and I think it helps Denard a lot when we throw the ball with play action," Hoke said. "If you're running the ball well enough, it's going to open up."

Hoke was pleased with the way the Michigan offense operated in the rout of the Boilermakers, and that the meat and potatoes in his team's attack is just hammering the ball right at the opposition.

"Rushing the ball -- we had 360 yards rushing the ball today," Hoke said after the win over Purdue. "When you can do that, you can determine the time of possession and determine a lot of things in a football game."

NOTES, QUOTES

--The Wolverines had 535 yards of offense in the win over Purdue, marking the third time in its last four games that Michigan has piled up more than 500 yards of offense.

--Michigan has scored a touchdown on its opening drive in five consecutive games.

--When Michigan DL Mike Martin dropped Purdue's quarterback in the end zone for a safety, it was the Wolverines' first safety since the 2003 season.

--In the win over Purdue, Michigan's defense had seven tackles for loss, including four sacks.

KEEP AN EYE ON: DE Mike Martin -- Pegged for stardom from the day he arrived on campus, Martin had a huge game against Purdue. The senior stopped Purdue QB Caleb Terbush in the end zone in the second quarter for a safety, one of his two sacks in the game. Martin has nine sacks in his career.

LOOKING GOOD: RB Fitzgerald Toussaint delivered the knockout punch against Purdue, carrying the ball a career-high 20 times for

a career-best 170 yards and a pair of touchdowns. STILL NEEDS WORK: The Wolverines wobbled a bit at the start against Purdue, allowing the Boilermakers to turn a bubble screen into a 48-yard touchdown on the game's first possession, then watching Purdue push down to the Michigan 16 yard line before a tipped ball turned into a Michigan interception. After that, Michigan dominated, but the sluggish start is a concern.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We just have to focus on ourselves and this team, Michigan. We just have to come out ready to play every weekend because the Big Ten is always competitive, so that is what we have to do every week." -- Michigan junior QB Denard Robinson

PLAYER NOTES:

--QB Denard Robinson completed 9-of-14 passes for 170 yards against Purdue and carried the ball 15 times for 63 yards and a touchdown.

--WR Jeremy Gallon had 79 yards in receptions in the win over Purdue, the most productive day yet in his career at Michigan.

--PK Brendan Gibbons knocked through a 37-yarder against Purdue, the second-longest field goal of his career.

--RB Fitzgerald Toussaint had a 59-yard scoring run against Purdue, the longest rush for a touchdown in his career and his second longest rush in distance only to his 61-yard run last season against Bowling Green.

ROSTER REPORT:

--DB Greg Brown, an early freshman enrollee who played little this season, left the program the week before the Purdue game.

--DE Nathan Brink, a sophomore, made the first start of his career in the win over Purdue.

--OL Ricky Barnum, who missed the three previous games with an injured ankle, played against Purdue but had to leave the game when he re-injured the ankle. His status for the next game at Iowa is questionable.

--OL Michael Schofield started at left guard, and then replaced the injured Ricky Barnum who had rotated in at the position.

--S Jordan Kovacs missed the Purdue game with a knee injury. His status for Iowa is questionable.

--CB Troy Woolfolk replaced the injured Jordan Kovacs at safety in the Purdue game. Woolfolk is expected to remain at safety for the rest of the season.

--CB Blake Countess started for the Wolverines against Purdue, replacing Troy Woolfolk who moved to safety.

--LB Desmond Morgan, a freshman, got the start against Purdue, replacing benched starter Brandin Hawthorne. Morgan led the Wolverines with nine tackles in the game.


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