Ranked as the eighth best team in the country during the preseason by the AP, Michigan (2-2) has failed to live up to the hype so far this season.
After an embarrassing 41-14 loss to Alabama in Week 1, the Wolverines flirted with defeat against Air Force, and suffered a tough loss at the hands of rival Notre Dame two weeks later.
The Maize and Blue have been plagued by inconsistent play from their offense, largely due to poor performances from quarterback Denard Robinson in big games. Robinson has made too many bad decisions, throwing an NCAA-high eight interceptions.
It is obvious that Shoelace needs to get it together for the Wolverines to still compete for a Big Ten title. However, he could use some help along the way from some of his teammates.
Here are four Wolverines who need to pick up the team before it's too late.
Wolverines running back Fitzgerald Toussaint didn't do his team any favors when he was suspended for the season-opener against Alabama following a DUI arrest.
Now the redshirt junior is trying to make up for lost time.
While Robinson has been the team's leading rusher the last two seasons and is again this year, Michigan needs Toussaint to take some of the burden off their struggling quarterback.
Toussaint ran for more than 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns last season, including three straight 100-yard performances. This year he has ran for 150 yards on 36 carries with one touchdown.
Toussaint is key to the effectiveness of the Wolverines offense—as Robinson needs all the help he can get. If Toussaint is able to keep defenses honest, Michigan will have much more success through the air and with Robinson on the read option.
Coming into the season, wide receiver Roy Roundtree was supposed to be Robinson's go-to target.
However, he—like the rest of the Wolverines offense—has gotten off to a slow start.
Roundtree has caught only eight balls for 72 yards and one touchdown this season while former quarterback Devin Gardner currently leads the team in receiving.
Roundtree had a relatively quiet season in 2011, after serving as the team's leading receiver as a redshirt sophomore—935 yards and seven touchdowns in 2010.
Roundtree holds the school record for most receiving yards in a game, totaling 246 yards and two scores against Illinois in 2010. The Wolverines will need the redshirt senior to return to form, giving Robinson a viable option downfield.
The Wolverines pass coverage is far from the reason for the team's 2-2 record so far.
Michigan has given up less than 155 yards per game through the air, along with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Wolverines cornerback Raymon Taylor has one of those interceptions, coming against Notre Dame in only the second start of his career.
Taylor and the rest of the Michigan defense needs to see more of that, as they have been killed in the turnover battle this season (11-4).
The Wolverines defense gave up only 239 yards against the Irish last week, but they will need to focus on forcing more turnovers, which can change the momentum of a game in an instant.
Wolverines fans don't need to be reminded how important special teams can be, thanks to Desmond Howard.
Michigan may not have that type of game-changer on their roster, but freshman Dennis Norfleet could do the trick.
Norfleet has averaged more than 24 return yards on kickoffs this season, and has the potential to take it to the house each time the ball touches his hands. Expect Norfleet to get better every week as he becomes more comfortable and patient with his blocks on returns.
Special teams can be a game-changer, and Wolverines fans would love nothing more than watching Norfleet run to daylight after a kick.