Michigan linebacker James Ross III sacks Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian in Saturday's game.
EVANSTON, Ill. — The Michigan may have found the two-headed monster it needs for the future of its running game.
In Saturday’s 27-19 three-overtime win at Northwestern, freshmen Derrick Green and De’Veon Smith carried the load for the Wolverines.
Green and Smith helped UM rush for positive yardage for the first time in nearly a month. Green led with 19 carries for 79 yards, while Smith, who was left of the traveling team for a loss at Michigan State two weeks ago, had nine carries for 39 yards. Michigan finished with 137 yards on 45 carries
“Derrick did a nice job,” UM coach Brady Hoke said. “He had some pretty good vision on some cuts and some holes in there. He’s a big guy and he’s learning to play a little bit lower, and I think De’Veon did a really nice job.”
Green and Smith replaced senior Fitzgerald Toussaint, who traveled with the team but did not play.
“Fitz had been out most of the week,” Hoke said. “He did some things on a couple days, but it just wasn’t enough. It was a little bit injury-related, but a lot of it, too, was you’ve got to practice. We just didn’t think he’d had enough.”
While Toussaint entered with a team-best 601 yards on 172 carries, he had only 26 yards in Michigan’s last two games — losses to Michigan State and Northwestern.
Toussaint declared himself as UM’s starting running back in August. Three months later, is that spot now up for grabs?
“We want to give [Derrick] and De’Veon the football more,” Hoke said. “But I would say Fitz is still our tailback.”
Y1K: Jeremy Gallon became the first Michigan receiver in six years to top the 1,000-yard rushing mark in one season.
Gallon caught 10 passes for 115 yards against Northwestern top bring his season total to 1,062 yards.
Mario Manningham was UM’s last 1,000-yard receiver (1,174 yards in 2007).
GAMEDAY TALKS: Even the good folks at ESPN are making Michigan the underdog.
During Saturday morning’s broadcast of College GameDay, Lee Corso declared that Michigan would lose all three of its remaining games. The Wolverines proved him wrong.
But former Michigan wide receiver Desmond Howard had some strong commentary in regards to UM offensive coordinator Al Borges.
“When you’re the third-highest paid offensive coordinator in the country, you’re paid to figure it out,” Howard said.
Borges’ contract, obtained by The Blade through a Freedom of Information Act request, states that he makes a base salary of $250,000 a year, with additional compensation of $350,000 this season.
ESPN reported in May that Borges is the third-highest paid assistant in the Big Ten, behind Michigan defensive coordinator Greg Mattison ($750,000) and Nebraska offensive coordinator Tim Beck ($700,000).
USA Today reported in June that Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris is the nation's highest-paid assistant, earning $1.3 million.