Toussaint joins Robinson

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- For the first time in more than 35 years, the Michigan football team has two 1,000-yard rushers.

The last time it happened was 1975, when Rob Lytle (1,030) and Gordon Bell (1,388) reached the mark.

This season, junior quarterback Denard Robinson continued to impress with his feet, rushing for 1,163 yards. Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, who wasn't even the lead back until the middle of the season, has amassed 1,011 yards in his redshirt sophomore season.

"That's a credit to our schemes as an offense," senior center David Molk said of the milestone. "That's a credit to [offensive coordinator Al] Borges. That's a credit to [head coach Brady] Hoke. That's a credit to [Robinson]. That's a credit to Fitz and the rest of our backs. That's a credit to our receivers for blocking. That's a credit to our offensive line for playing our heart out on every play."

But Toussaint and Robinson gave all the credit to the line for opening holes. Hoke agreed, but he knows that while the offensive linemen are moving bodies, they're not the ones making the cuts and runs.

"I think the offensive staff and what Denard has done in this kind of makeshift, quasi-offense that we have [deserve credit]," Hoke said. "And then I think Fitz, the growth and maturity that he's shown."

At the beginning of fall camp, Hoke and Borges said that they would run an offensive system with a lead back, but through nearly the first half of the season they continued to use the running back by committee approach, as no one had really seized the lead role.

In Michigan's 58-0 victory over Minnesota, Toussaint had the first game with 100-plus yards of his career. He rushed for 108 yards and a touchdown, but in that game the Wolverines rushed for 363 yards and six backs got five or more carries.

But in the Wolverines' 36-14 win over Purdue, Toussaint had the breakout game that solidified him as the No. 1 back, running for 170 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. The game before, Toussaint had rushed for only 7 yards, and up until then he was averaging just 56 rushing yards per game. Now, he has had five 100-yard rushing games.

This kind of a performance was expected from Robinson. Last season he ran for 1,702 yards, but Hoke made it clear Robinson would not be running as much this season, and because of that Robinson has been healthier.

"When you've got a guy that fast, he makes plays. Same with Fitz," Molk said. "Those two guys, they know where to go and they know to read a defense."

Chantel Jennings covers University of Michigan sports for WolverineNation. She can be reached at jenningsespn@gmail.com or or on Twitter @chanteljennings.