Saturday against Purdue gave us a lot to be happy about with this team as a whole. In my opinion, it was the first game this season that both the offense and defense were rolling on all cylinders. And let me just say it was a beautiful sight.
With so many high class performances on Saturday, it's hard to pick just the top 3, but I guess it comes down to separating the good from the elite.
So before I hold you up any longer, here are your top Wolverine performers from Saturday's action.
1) Denard Robinson - QB
Let's just get something out of the way here. When Denard Robinson says he is going to bounce back and perform better, expect Denard Robinson to bounce back and perform better.
It wasn't a 2011 Notre Dame outing, but you can do a lot less and still be very proud.
Robinson ran for 235 yards on Saturday, which set the record for career rushing yards by a Big Ten quarterback. And what I loved most about his ground game against Purdue was that he found a way to be productive in every way possible.
He was more than reliable on third down, created for himself, busted out some big
gains, avoided getting hit, and used his success on the ground to help him through the air.
All in all, I thought this was Robinson's most consistent and productive game this
season. Against an underrated Purdue defense, that is a very good sign early in the conference season.
2) Jake Ryan - LB
Simply put, Jake Ryan had himself a day in West Lafayette.
He was constantly in the backfield, constantly making plays, constantly making his
super human presence felt by the opposition. It was really something special to witness.
Throughout this season, Ryan was the type of player I just kept waiting on to have a break out game. You could just tell there was more to him, and it all poured out on Saturday. He, along with Demens and Morgen, led the Wolverines in tackles with six.
Not to mention, Ryan absolutely laid out Caleb TerBush in the backfield, a hit that I thought for sure would make the Boilermaker quarterback one with the ground.
Before the season started, I pointed all Jake Ryan as a guy who needed to be stepping up for the Wolverines, despite his surprising youth. I don't think he was ever under performing this season, but this was definitely a huge step up for him as an impact player on this defense.
3) J.T. Floyd - CB
J.T. Floyd is another defensive player that I pointed towards to have a break out season. Floyd showed a lot of promise heading into his senior year, and I think he is starting to develop into one of the top cover corners in all the Big Ten.
Against Purdue, Floyd broke up 3 passes and recorded 5 total tackles. Those aren't numbers that will blow you away, but it's the fashion in which he did that that makes it impressive. I personally don't think Wolverine corners are aggressive enough at time, but Floyd definitely showed some aggression on Saturday -- diving, do whatever it took to disrupt the pass.
The Michigan defense will certainly need him to keep coming up big, now that conference play has begun and Blake Countess out for the season. They'll be in good hands if he can keep up that kind of play.
Now, on the flip side, I only have one under performer from Saturday. The good news
is that means there was a lot of all-around, solid play. The bad news is he is a frequent visitor to the club.
1) Fitzgerald Toussaint - RB
I'm not exactly sure what to say about Toussaint at this point. His production is way down, though, and that is what could hurt Michigan's offense.
Denard Robinson can't be relied on week after week to run the ball 25 times. It's not a question of ability or desire, but this team cannot afford to lose him to injury, a notorious trend throughout Robinson's career.
Against Purdue, Toussaint carried the ball 17 times and picked up 19 yards. Those numbers do not represent what Al Borges is looking for in a running back. Granted, he did have 2 1-yard TD rushes on Saturday, but he was right next to a non-factor getting the Wolverines down the field.
In fact, I think it might be time for Thomas Rawls to be called upon in this Wolverine offense, and here is an article explaining why.