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October 09, 2012 - Image 8

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8 - Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Purdue bottles up Toussaint but
springs Robinson in Michigan rout

By LUKE PASCH
Daily Sports Editor
On Saturday, in the first min-
ute of the second quarter against
Purdue, redshirt junior running
back Fitzgerald Toussaint fell
into the end zone from the one-
yard line for the second time in
the game.
It was already his fifth-career
two-touchdown game, and the
day was still young.
But it wasn't all sunshine and
roses for the struggling tailback,
who finished with a meager 19
yards rushing on 17 carries.
"He got two touchdowns -
if that's not a good day, I don't
know what is," joked senior
quarterback Denard Robinson
after the game. "He played well,
and the offense played well. They
kind of keyed on him a little more
because lastyear he had a break-
out game. They kind of upped the
ante on that one."
Indeed, Toussaint must have
been licking his chops as he trav-
eled to West Lafayette last week-
end. In last season's homecoming
game against the Boilermakers,
Toussaint picked up 170 yards
on 20 carries. On one play, he
took the pitch from quarterback
Devin Gardner and made the
Purdue defenders look like a pee
wee squad as he cut to the side-
line, then back to the middle of
the field on a 59-yard touchdown
run.
"They weren't going to let him
do that (again)," said Michigan
coach Brady Hoke. "I mean, they
were very concerned with tak-
ing that part of our offense away.
Denard rushed for 235, so some-
thing's got to give, and what gave
was Denard."
Robinson definitely benefited
from the Purdue defense's pre-
occupation with Toussaint in
the backfield. The quarterback
dashed for 9.8 yards per carry
on Saturday, and his 235 rushing
yards were second-most in his
career and in Big Ten quarter-
back history, behind his legend-
ary performance against Notre
Dame two seasons ago (258 rush-
ing yards, in additionto 244 pass-
ing yards).

ICE HOCKEY
Wolverines start year
with home exhibition
By LIZ NAGLE Highly touted freshman
Daily Sports Writer defenseman Jacob Trouba has
impressed his teammates thus far
Heading into its first exhibition with his physical play. On June
game of the season, expectations 22, the Rochester, Mich. native
are running high for a Michi- was the ninth-overall pick by the
gan hockey team with preseason Winnipeg Jets in the NHL Entry
rankings singing its praises. Draft.
On Oct. 3rd, "He's got a really high hockey
the CCHA idsor t IQ," Bennett said. "I think you're
released its going to see him destroy guys....
polls, with the Michlgan When we let him loose against
media ranking Matchup: another team, I think you'll be
the Wolverines Windsor 0-0; able to see some exciting hits."
first in the con- Michigan 0-0 With Hunwick's graduation in
ference, and the When: Tues- the spring, the Wolverines were
coaches poll day 7:35 p.m. left with a question mark in the
perching Mich- Where: Yost crease. Rutledge remains the
igan at No.3. Ice Arena hopeful favorite, but recovery
The CCHA from eye surgery and missed ice
also named sev- Comado00 time delayed the netminder deci-
eral players to omcas9 sion.
the preseason He started taking shots late
all-conference teams. Junior last week, but Berenson was left
defenseman Jon Merrill earned uncertain as to who would stop
eight first-place votes. Sophomore pucks between the posts against
forward Alex Guptill and senior the Lancers. But Rutledge's timely
defenseman Lee Moffie were return keeps him in the forefront
voted to the second team, and of goaltending options.
senior forward A.J. Treais was an "My hope is that if he feels
honorable mention. really good after (the Blue/White)
"No one's played a game yet," game and he feels good tomorrow S
said junior defenseman Mac Ben- and looks good in practice then
nett. "We don't know how we we'll decide tomorrow," Berenson
stack up against other teams, so is said Sunday. "Butthat's the direc-
it nice to have a number one rank- tion we'd like to go."
ing? Yeah, sure. Does it mean any- A healthy goalie will be neces-
thing? No." sary against Windsor, with for-
Michigan will face off against wards Evan Stibbard and Ryan
Windsor in the newly-renovated Green, who led the Lancers last
Yost Ice Arena in an exhibition season with a combined 55 points
Tuesday night. The Wolverines --26 goals and 29 assists.
hold a perfect 3-0-0 record in the The Lancers have already
all-time series against the Lanc- seen a fair amount of competi-
ers, capped by their last meeting tive action in the preseason with
in 2009. three wins and lone loss to Michi-
Three years ago, Michigan gan State. On Monday, Windsor's
coach Red Berenson compared streak snapped, dropping a 6-1
the Windsor exhibition to pre- decision to the Spartans.
vious matchups with Canadian The Wolverines opened the
teams, noting the Lancers' "bet- season with their annual intra-
ter" performance. squad game on Sunday, when
Treais, then a freshman, Guptill recorded a hat trick in
opened up the scoring with a sec- the fast-paced two-period scrim-
ond-period goal against Windsor. mage.
He notched an assist in the same With the majority of offensive
frame en route to the Wolverines' standouts returning this year -
6-2 win. But with a handful of seven of the top 10 scorers - and a
freshmen stepping into the grad- strong defensive anchor, the Wol-
uated seniors' big shoes this year, verines main concern rests in the
anything goes. goal cage.

Redshirt junior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint managed just 19 yards on 17 carries last Saturday vs. Purdue.

"That game needed to be that
way," Hoke said. "That was the
plan - get (Robinson) back run-
ning the football, feeling good,
and then go from there."
Still, there was at least some
indication that coaches are con-
cerned with the running backs'
lack of production in the offense
so far this season. The only really

day there."
The offensive line was rela-
tively happy with the way they
played, regardless of Toussaint's
lack of production on the ground.
"Like I said, we obviously
want to get (Toussaint) more
yards," said fifth-year senior cen-
ter Elliott Mealer. "He's a great
player, andweneedtogethimout

solid game the
tailbacks have
produced was
against FBS-
newcomer
Massachu-
setts, when
Toussaint
picked up 85
yards on 15
carries, and
senior Vincent
Smith and

in space and let
him show off
his skills. But at
"We obviously the same time,
307 (total)
Want to get rushing yards
. - I think that's
(Toussaint) doing alright
The fact that
more yards." we were able to
let Denard do
his thing, like
I said, we have

Saturday.
"We always block for the
tailback," Mealer said. "Other
than that, you never know what
Denard's going to do. So whether
it's a pass or read option, he's able
to kind of make his own magic
happen. I'm sure you've heard
it before, but he makes us look
good."
If Robinson is making his
own plays and Toussaint is still
not producing, perhaps there
is room for improvement along
the offensive line. But redshirt
junior tackle Taylor Lewan said
he was proud of how the offen-
sive line played lastweekend, and
he praised its play more than he
typically does.
"This offensive line is special,
and we're capable of doing all the
things that we did on Saturday,
and better," Lewan said. "Ricky
Barnum is a very athletic guard.
Patrick Omamaeh - this is his
fourth year starting. Schofield -
he's been playing guard, and now
he's exceling at tackle. Elliott
Mealer, stepping up to the chal-
lenge of (replacing) Dave Molk.
"These guys want ,to be the
best they could possibly be."

sophomore Thomas Rawls also
got into the mix.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't
(concerned)," Hoke said. "But I
think up front, I thought those
guys played pretty solid when
you look at it. Their best game?
No. But they played solid. We
just have to keep making some
improvements, you know, every

that luxury."
At some points in the Monday
press conference, though, Mealer
contradicted himself.
After saying he thought the
offensive line did alright, he also
mentioned that the goal of the
offensive line is to block for the
tailback, which the offensive line
did not do particularly well on

Defensive line pressured to create more pressure

0

By BEN ESTES what he liked about No. 25 Michi-
Daily SportsEditor gan's pass defense, he instead
responded with his biggest con-
Given two days to watch the cern.
film and reflect some more on his "Number one, at this point in
team's performance against Pur- the season, I don't think we're
due, Michigan coach Brady Hoke getting enough pressure on the
had the same refrain on Monday quarterback," Hoke said. "I think
as he did on Saturday: Michi- that helps those guys in the back
gan's defensive line isn't creating end. ... I think we keep searching,
enough pressure. as coaches, for different ways to
Some might find such a criti- manufacture some pressure, and
cism curious after a game in at the same time have good cover-
which the Wolverines gave up just age with it."
13 points and 213 total yards. But This isn't a new issue, either.
it appears Hoke was focused more Hoke has mentioned the same
on the two sacks that the defense thing in recent weeks, even spe-
produced against the Boilermak- cifically calling upon the front
ers. In fact, when Hoke was asked four to step it up.
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The numbers are rather grizzly
- the Wolverines have produced
just five sacks this season, plac-
ing them 107th nationally. If their
pace remains the same, they'll
end up with around 12 sacks at
season's end, far off the 30 they
produced last season, which was
good for 29th in the country.
And just half of those five sacks
have come from defensive line-
men, with senior defensive tackle
Will Campbell tallying one and
senior defensive end Craig Roh
notching one and a half.
It's notable that the line actu-
ally produced more pressure
against Purdue than it had in
recent weeks. Boilermaker quar-
terbacks Caleb TerBush and Rob-
ert Marve were chased out of the
pocket a number of times, and the
two sacks tied a season-high. But
even that improvement isn't up
to Hoke's, nor the players' them-
selves, liking.
"I agree with (Hoke) 100 per-
cent," Campbell said Monday.
"We do need to get more pres-
sure up front just with a four-man
rush. We don't need to blitz every
down to get to the quarterback.
Me being a senior, me and Craig
Roh, we take that on us."
Though the line production
in itself hasn't been up to par, it's
been mitigated somewhat by the
impact of blitzes, with Ryan mak-
ing a big impact from his strong-
side linebacker spot.
The second-year starter has
always been explosive, and this
season he's displayed an ability
to play with better control, keep-
ing him in position to make plays

0

more often. Ryan was especially
good - "doggone good," in Hoke's
words - againstPurdue, notching
that one sack to go along with two
other tackles for loss.
And the return of defensive
end Brennen Beyer should help
the line as well. Hoke said that
the sophomore, who hasn't played
since he injured himself against
Air Force in the second game of
the season, is "important to (the
team)." He'll help keep fellow
weakside end Frank Clark fresh,
perhaps allowing the duo to gen-
erate more pressure between
them.
The good news for the defen-
sive line is that it's been steadily
improving against the run, even

if it continues to struggle to attack
quarterbacks.
In Michigan's last two games,
the defense has allowed a total of
150 rushing yards and averages
just 2.6 yards-per-carry. The line,
namely redshirt junior Quinton
Washington and Campbell in the
middle, has done a better job of
clogging the line of scrimmage.
That's allowed the linebackers to
flow to the ball more freely.
"Again, you got some signifi-
cant guys who have got real snaps
where they haven't had near as
many before, so there's a learning
that they go through," Hoke said
ofthe defensive line's progression.
"I think it's better.... I think we're
playing a little tighter on offensive

linemen, which means we're get-
ting hands on them a little more."
Now, the challenge for the
defensive line isto improve in the
passing game as much as it has in
defending the run.
When asked what he likes best
about Michigan's defense to this
point, Campbell pointed to the
unit's work habits, especially its
preparation.
"We're communicating, we're
getting in and watching our film
together, we're doing everything
together," Campbell said.
So far, that off-the-field dili-
gence hasn't translated to sacks
on the field. Under Hoke's watch-
ful eye, the line feels the urgency
in needing to change that.

Meet Coach Carr
Come to our book signing Thursday, Oct. 11, from 7 p.m.- 8 p.m.
The M Den on campus. (303 S. State St.)

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