The Wolverine

November 2015

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 45 of 193

only Wolverine with more than three totes — and churned out 46 hard- fought yards. Smith clearly emerged Michigan's top back over the first half of the sea- son. There are plenty of other con- tenders, though, depending upon situations and health. Redshir t junior Drake Johnson came on strong in Smith's absence at Maryland, going for 99 total yards and a pair of touchdowns. John- son and his twice -reconstructed knee carried only twice the follow- ing week, one a touchdown run, while nursing an undisclosed injury. Against Michigan State, he did not record a rushing attempt but has 128 rushing yards and three total touch- downs on the year. Junior Derrick Green appeared the forgotten man at the start of the season, drawing limited carries, mostly after the competitive damage was done. He's seen the field increasingly over the past few weeks, though, and emerged from seven U-M contests with 147 yards and two touchdowns on 42 carries. Redshirt sophomore transfer Ty Isaac has been a bit of a mystery for the Wolverines as well. The tallest of the U-M tailbacks at 6-3, the 240-pounder broke free for a 76-yard touchdown run against UNLV, amid a 114-yard rushing afternoon. Some figured the talented USC transfer was on his way at that point, but in the three games that followed, Isaac carried the football just 10 times. He's struggled at times in pass protection, a key skill for any Michigan back and one that Smith demonstrates regularly. Through seven games, Isaac managed 205 yards and one touchdown on 30 tries, doing most of his damage in the rout over UNLV. Even true freshman Karan Higdon tore off his redshirt in the win over North- western, rushing eight times for 16 yards in his Michigan debut. His two at- tempts gained three yards against Michigan State the following week. Wheatley and offensive coordinator Tim Drevno aren't afraid to use multiple backs to get the job done for an offense that averaged 181.4 rushing yards per game through the first seven contests. Smith has been a clear No. 1, but it takes a village, and the village people keep coming. — John Borton Junior running back De'Veon Smith leads the team with 436 yards and four touch- downs on the ground after seven games. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN

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