The 25th-ranked Michigan Wolverines' resounding 45-0 win Saturday over the Illinois Fighting Illini sent a message, loud and clear. Michigan is emerging as one of the Big Ten's elite, despite the fact that the Big Ten is having a "down year."
Michigan used its running game to power it to victory at Michigan Stadium, racking up an impressive 353 yards on the ground.
As usual, quarterback Denard Robinson led Michigan's attack with 128 yards and two touchdowns, but Flint native Thomas Rawls showed that he should be the team's second option when it comes to toting the ball.
Rawls rushed for 90 yards on 10 carries, highlighted by a 63-yard touchdown run down the right sideline that put the lid on Michigan's decisive win. Grand Blanc's Justice Hayes averaged almost seven yards per carry and proved that he could be useful as well.
Fitz Toussaint bounced back Saturday from his lackluster 17-carry, 19-yard performance against Purdue a week ago with 62 yards—but it took 18 carries to do so.
Now at 4-2, Michigan is in position to threaten for a Legends Division crown. Strong defense and a developing offense should be enough for the rest of the league to take Michigan seriously.