Rick Osentoski, USA TODAY

Michigan Football: After another solid outing, U-M running backs once again impress Jim Harbaugh

Michigan running backs were once again the major story to take away from an impressive victory over BYU.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan's running attack once again played a major role in the Wolverines' crushing 31-0 victory over 22nd-ranked BYU on Saturday.

U-M controlled play by rushing 51 times as a team for 254-yards and three total touchdowns. Leading the way once again was De'Veon Smith who finished the day with 125 yards rushing and one touchdown. Quarterback Jake Rudock also found himself involved in the running game as well. Despite contributing only 33 yards on the ground on Saturday, he also had two touchdowns on the ground.

However, the most memorable rushing touchdown came from Smith. Scoring on a 60 yard run, Smith somehow found himself free from the lineman scrum and found open field. He capped off the touchdown by throwing a hapless defensive back off his shoulders.

It was an impressive play for Smith. But it was even more impressive to his head coach, Jim Harbaugh.

"Just 'wow, can this happen again,'" Harbaugh said. "Can we get another plus-50 yard run for a touchdown? Those don't happen maybe once a season. Again, at any level of football, they don't occur that often. To see the second, the third, the fourth, the fifth and the sixth effort spinning, just churning, heck of a job. It's nice to see our backs hungry to do that."

What fuels the hunger for the U-M running backs? According to Harbaugh, being impossible to tackle on first contact and refusing to give up are key factors in the process.

"Not wanting to go down," Harbaugh said. "I think all our running backs, they have that mindset right now that they're not looking to go down, they're looking to stay up, break tackles, get more yards and protecting the football. It's all really good for De'Veon, Ty Isaac, Derrick Green is running really hard, I love the way he's running -- especially in short yardage and goal line situations."

With a full stable of backs, sometimes it gets difficult to divide up the carries between everyone. It also makes it more difficult for Harbaugh, who has his players asking for the ball.

For Harbaugh, who sees the positives in a lot of things. That isn't different.

"I know they all want the ball more because they've told me they want the ball more," Harbaugh said. "You can see the way they're telling us that want the ball when they're getting the ball. It speaks the loudest. It speaks volumes when you have your backs running like that. It's good."

Unfortunately for Smith, he went down with an injury during the third quarter of the game. His ankle appeared to be rolled up on during a tackle and looked to be in some discomfort laying on the field. He managed to walk off the field under his own power and with the trainers help. After heading to the locker room on a cart, Smith appeared later with a walking boot on.

U-M officials said that boot was for precautionary reasons.

"I think the news is going to be good on De'Veon," Harbaugh said. "The x-rays were negative."

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