Fitzgerald Toussaint is back to full health and is making the Michigan Wolverines look like the team to beat in the Big Ten. His provision of a legitimate running threat only helps take pressure off of quarterback Devin Gardner to carry the offense.
On top of that, he's an excellent senior mentor for the talented Derrick Green, as their combination will give Michigan one of the toughest running games to defend. And due to this, they should be in line to compete for their first Big Ten title since they shared it with Iowa back in 2004.
His 14 carries for 57 yards and two touchdowns Saturday paced the Wolverines 59-9 season-opening win over the Central Michigan Chippewas. Toussaint is a vital part of this Wolverine offense and will be vital to their Big Ten Title hopes.
Steady Run Game Will Take Pressure Off Devin Gardner
Ask any quarterback what the two biggest things he needs to be successful are and each will tell you the same thing—a great offensive line and a solid running game to fall back on. The Wolverines already have that offensive line.
Fitz Toussaint and Derrick Green should provide that running game, and Gardner has the ability to run and gain yards on the ground himself. By Toussaint having the main rushing role, he should be able to be the Alfred Morris to Gardner's RGIII.
By providing that reliable running threat to complement the passing game, Toussaint just makes the offense better. And as such, the entire team is better. Gardner and the rest of the offense are able to use play-actions, zone-reads and draws to throw off defenses.
And by doing this, they can stay on the field longer and make the defense happy by giving it more rest. A good running game is the best thing for a football team, and Toussaint is giving the Wolverines that running game this year.
Toussaint Puts Michigan In Line To Compete for a Big Ten Title
Last year, Toussaint was a very good running back before a fractured ankle against Iowa put him out of commission for the rest of the season. When he went down, he already had 130 carries for 514 yards and five rushing touchdowns to go with six catches for 62 yards and a receiving touchdown.
His ability running the ball gives the Wolverines someone who can continually pick up yardage and move the chains without getting caught in the backfield for losses. He's not the best receiver out of the backfield, but he can be an outlet option for Gardner.
He's got great burst and shake, and if he can get through to the second level, he's going to break off some big runs. Toussaint can also power through the line and get those tough yards that continues drives.
With a legitimate threat from Toussaint combined with the already talented running from true freshman Derrick Green, the Wolverines could end up as the Big Ten champions for the first time in almost a decade.
All stats used are either from Pro Football Focus's Premium Stats, ESPN, CFBStats or the NFL. All contract information is courtesy Spotrac and Rotoworld. All recruiting rankings come from 247Sports.com.
Scott Carasik is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He covers the Atlanta Falcons, NFL and NFL Draft. He also runs DraftFalcons.com.