Michigan Football: Wolverines Need Fitzgerald Toussaint to Step Up in Week 2

Ryan ReedCorrespondent IISeptember 11, 2012

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 08:  Fitzgerald Toussaint #28 of the Michigan Wolverines looks to get around the tackle of Brian Lindsay #31 of the Air Force Falcons during a first quarter run at Michigan Stadium on September 8, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Everybody knows Denard Robinson is a superb playmaker for Michigan football, but fewer know about running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, who quietly ran for over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns last season.

Toussaint's success last year obviously translated to wins, as the team only lost two games.

In late July, however, Fitzgerald made a stupid decision that has since cost him. He was arrested for DUI and suspended for the first game of the season, which came against No. 2 Alabama.

When he came back for the second game of the season, Toussaint was noticeably rusty and only ran for seven yards on eight carries, averaging less than a yard per carry. He also failed to catch a single pass, meaning he contributed just about nothing to the Wolverines.

Sure, Michigan won the game, but it's going to need a lot more out of him if it wants to continue winning this season.

Next week, the Wolverines face the University of Massachusetts. While that is hardly a difficult opponent, Fitzgerald is still going to have to step up and play well.

That should be no problem, as UMass hasn't proven to be the toughest rush defense to face. Last week, Indiana rushed for 333 yards on 6.2 yards per carry and scored four touchdowns.

Still, Toussaint needs to play well for two reasons, and neither are that Michigan really needs him to win the game, since the Minutemen have only put up three points per game over the last two contests.

First, Fitzgerald needs to perform because he has to prove that he can knock off the rust. There will be no easier game for him to do so than this one, and he needs to play well soon since Notre Dame is right around the corner.

Secondly, the Wolverines need Toussaint to play well because they need to preserve Denard Robinson. Last week, Robinson had 20 carries against Air Force. If Toussaint had been playing a little better, perhaps he could have taken some of that load off of Robinson.

Michigan needs to be able to rely on Toussaint because it has to save Robinson for the rest of the season. There is no reason he should be running the ball 20 times against Air Force.

Toussaint will play better in the Wolverines' third game of 2012, and that is very important to Michigan's season.