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Published: Sunday, 11/4/2012

UM NOTEBOOK

Wolverines get help in run game

BY RACHEL LENZI
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

MINNEAPOLIS — It seemed all sea­son that Mich­i­gan’s run game has strug­gled. But in Satur­day’s 35-13 win at Min­ne­sota, the ground at­tack got a suit­able re­in­force­ment in Tho­mas Rawls.

Rawls, a soph­o­more run­ning back, ran for a touch­down and 43 yards on 16 car­ries, while tail­back Fitz­ger­ald Tous­saint had a game-best 70 yards and a touch­down on 13 car­ries.

The Wol­v­er­ines fin­ished with 155 yards on 41 car­ries against the Golden Go­phers.

Coaches and team­mates have de­scribed Rawls’ style of play as “run­ning an­gry,” and he re­placed Tous­saint in the sea­son opener against Ala­bama af­ter Tous­saint was sus­pended in the wake of a drunk-driv­ing charge.

But Rawls’ play­ing time di­min­ished in the next seven games. Rawls didn’t have a carry in last week­end’s loss at Ne­braska and en­tered Satur­day’s game at Min­ne­sota with two touch­downs and 174 yards on 25 car­ries.

“To be hon­est with you, we planned on do­ing a lit­tle more with him a week ago, but we didn’t, for one rea­son or an­other,” Mich­i­gan coach Brady Hoke said. “We wanted to get him in­volved in the I-back stuff and un­der cen­ter. It suits him, and it suits Fitz too.

“I thought he [Rawls] did OK. I didn’t see ev­ery play, be­cause I talk to the de­fense so much, but I know one thing. He’s go­ing to run down­hill, and he’s go­ing to run hard.”

BOOTED: Wide re­ceiver and punt re­turner Jer­emy Gal­lon fin­ished with four catches for 72 yards and a touch­down and two car­ries for 21 yards, but wore a walk­ing boot on his right foot dur­ing the post-game press con­fer­ence. Gal­lon was tongue-in-cheek when dis­cuss­ing the in­jury.

“I guess when you get a head­ache, you get put in a boot,” said Gal­lon, who an­tic­i­pates play­ing next week­end against North­west­ern.

Also, Hoke said quar­ter­back Rus­sell Bel­lomy dressed but was not avail­able to play. He did not elab­o­rate and only said it was “most likely” an in­jury.

JONES VS. ROBINSON: Olym­pic hur­dler and bob­sled se­lec­tion Lolo Jones was the guest picker on ESPN’s Col­lege GameDay at Lou­i­si­ana State Univer­sity, and the 2005 LSU grad­u­ate is­sued an edict of sorts be­fore mak­ing a pick for the Mich­i­gan-Min­ne­sota game.

“De­nard Robin­son, you can­not beat me in a race, let alone Usain Bolt,” Jones said on the pre­game show. “But I will give you and your team the win to­day.”

Robin­son boasted that he could take on Olym­pic gold med­al­ist Usain Bolt, the world-record holder in the 100 and 200-me­ter dashes, in a shorter foot race.

"I've watched him run, and I'm pretty sure I can beat him in a 40-yard dash," Robin­son said in Au­gust. "I'd get a bet­ter start, and I could take him.”

MOVING UP: ESPN an­a­lyst Mel Kiper Jr. re­leased his lat­est “Big Board” — pre-NFL draft rank­ings for col­lege foot­ball play­ers — and Mich­i­gan left tackle Tay­lor Le­wan is up to No. 13 in Kiper’s top 25, mov­ing up two spots.



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