Michigan Football: Offensive Stars Who Must Step Up for Wolverines vs. Minnesota

Patrick Clarke@@_Pat_ClarkeCorrespondent IOctober 29, 2012

October 20, 2012; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (28) runs the bases in the first quarter against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE
Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

It's possible for a single loss to feel like many in college football. That was the case for the Michigan Wolverines this past weekend, when they watched their star quarterback, Denard Robinson go down in their Saturday night loss at Nebraska.

In addition to Michigan's three game winning streak being snapped, its Big Ten Championship Game chances took a major hit, and its journey back to the top of the BCS standings is all but over.

There's no time for the Wolverines to dwell on their third loss in eight games or the fact that they haven't scored a touchdown in over two weeks, because they must travel to Minnesota this coming Saturday to kickoff the second half of their Big Ten schedule.

But in order to win, Brady Hoke's squad needs some notable names to step up their game.

Fitzgerald Toussaint

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The junior running back has been a non-factor for the Wolverines in 2012, just one season after he rushed for more than 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns alongside Denard Robinson in Michigan's backfield.

Toussaint was suspended for the season opener vs. Alabama, but has played in every game since, failing to rush for more than 85 yards in a single outing. That's embarrassing when you consider that Toussaint rushed for 100-plus yards in five games last season as a sophomore.

With Robinson clearly not 100 percent, Toussaint is the Wolverines top offensive weapon and the star who must step up his game the most on Saturday vs. Minnesota. After all, he's averaging 3.3 yards per carry just one year after he was gaining 5.6 yards per attempt. 

TheOzone.net columnist Tony Gerdeman makes a great point summing up Toussaint's struggles:

"Fitzgerald Toussaint stopped for no gain" is the most widely used phrase in the English language.

— Tony Gerdeman (@GerdOzone) October 28, 2012

Toussaint rushed for 108 yards and a score on 11 carries against the Golden Gophers last fall, a game in which Michigan won 58-0 in Ann Arbor.

Roy Roundtree

Michigan wide receiver Roy Roundtree is in his senior season, yet he's on pace for his worst statistical year over a four-year stretch with the Wolverines. 

Through eight games this season, Roundtree has just 13 receptions for 175 yards and a touchdown. He hasn't caught more than three passes in a single game and has caught just one ball in each of the past three games for Michigan. 

Roundtree's poor play inspired this tweet from radio host Steve Deace:

BREAKING: Roy Roundtree sighted in a Wolverine uniform.

— Steve Deace (@SteveDeaceShow) October 28, 2012

Sure, a lot of blame can be put on  Robinson for not finding him down field enough, but the quarterback can only do so much. At some point Roundtree must step up, run better routes and lock on to the ball when it's thrown his way.

To think that Roundtree recorded 72 receptions for 935 yards and seven touchdowns as a sophomore in 2010 is mind-blowing after watching him struggle so much this fall.

Jeremy Gallon

The Wolverines love to use undersized wide receiver Jeremy Gallon in a variety of ways offensively and on special teams. Gallon is the team's leading receiver and one of the top rushers in terms of yards per carry (5.1 YPC). 

Whether Gallon's recent lack of production is the fault of the coaching staff or his own, Michigan is in desperate need of Gallon to step up this weekend at Minnesota. After breaking out for four receptions for 107 in the season opener vs. Alabama, Gallon has caught just 14 balls for 211 yards and a score.

His struggles in the return game have also sparked some jokes and criticism on Twitter, like this tweet from Mark David:

Jeremy Gallon has a problem with returns. Clearly a career with the IRS is not in his future.

— Mark David (@The_MDA) October 28, 2012

Last October, Gallon caught four passes for 46 yards against the Golden Gophers as a sophomore. If he were to catch four balls this weekend, it would tie his season high. 

Hard to believe sure, but that sums up the state of Michigan's 111th-ranked passing offense heading into its first matchup of November against Big Ten rival Minnesota. 

Follow Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Patrick Clarke on Twitter.

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