Michigan Football: Breakout Players to Watch Against Massachusetts

Zachary Arthur@Zach_ArthurSLCCorrespondent IISeptember 13, 2012

Toussaint should get back to running the ball well this week
Toussaint should get back to running the ball well this weekGregory Shamus/Getty Images

So the Michigan Wolverines are off to a difficult start, but Saturday's game against the University of Massachusetts is the perfect time for some of their players to have big games.

After getting manhandled by the University of Alabama in their first game, the Wolverines were able to win a hard-fought game against Air Force. Denard Robinson popped off and had another one of the 200-yard passing and 200-yard rushing games he's famous for.

Massachusetts has looked like a high school team through its first two games. It is currently getting outscored 82-6 this year and is ranked near the bottom of the NCAA in almost every statistical category.

If you read the previous paragraph and thought to yourself, "This game should be entertaining to watch," then you certainly weren't alone. It will be entertaining until Michigan pulls its starters about midway through the third quarter.

Robinson will get some company this week, as there will be some players on Michigan that have breakout games. Let's take a look at a player on both offense and defense that could be a breakout player.


Offense: Fitzgerald Toussaint, RB

After eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark last year as redshirt sophomore, Fitzgerald Toussaint was suspended for the season opener after getting charged for operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

He followed his suspension with an eight-yard rushing game against Air Force. He's clearly more talented than eight yards on seven carries, but maybe he was still feeling the effects of the...suspension.

Last week's performance was lackluster at best, but his season is about to turn around quickly. UMass has one of the worst defenses in college football.

Giving up 82 points in two games proves that rather quickly.

Toussaint should be getting the majority of the Wolverines carries and you have to expect him to explode on the stat sheet. He'll have a big game.


Defense: Thomas Gordon, FS

Thomas Gordon isn't a prototypical safety.

The safety position seems to be moving towards players that are big, strong and fast. They need to be able to make plays on the ball and provide the hit power that can force fumbles.

Gordon doesn't have the tall and big part down, but he is an athlete that takes pride in his playmaking.

Nick Baumgardner, reporter for annarbor.com, broke down Gordon's 2011 season best:

"The 5-foot-11, 208-pound Detroit Cass Tech product made a living of hanging around the football a year ago, recovering a team-best four fumbles and also creating two more. Gordon also added an interception to his total, and finished third on the team in tackles."

Gordon has 16 tackles, 11 of them solo, through the first two games of the season. The problem is that he hasn't forced any turnovers yet.

It would be a surprise to not see Gordon come away with the ball in some way in Saturday's game. Whether it's some kind of fumble or an interception, Gordon will make a play that causes a turnover.

It's just the kind of player that he is.