The Wolverine

October 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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38 THE WOLVERINE OCTOBER 2017 M ichigan fifth-year senior Ty Isaac has saved his best running for his last season. The USC trans- fer earned the start against Cincin- nati after rushing for 114 yards in the opener, and he responded with 133 rushing yards in his second game. He was averaging 8.0 yards per carry through the opening pair of tilts. "He was playing fast, he was play- ing at his full speed, he was decisive … he was great after contact. I think he had 80 yards after contact, which was huge," running backs coach Jay Harbaugh said after the 33-17 win over Florida. "He played with a physical pres- ence, and we needed him to play with that. I was excited about that." He got the call on many second- and third-and-long downs, plays on which Florida was likely thinking pass. "Ty arguably might be our best pro- tection guy, so some situations make sense for him to be there anyway," Harbaugh said. "Certain runs he had on two third-and-13 plays he does particu- larly well. [Junior] Karan [Higdon] also does well on those. Sometimes you like a certain guy for a certain scheme." The coach noted he would love all his backs to be interchangeable, so the element of predictability is eliminated. Sophomore Chris Evans, the game one starter, might have been a bit anxious in the opener. He ran for 78 yards, but only 3.5 yards per carry, and managed just 15 yards on five carries in the second game. Higdon netted 41 yards and averaged 3.7 per rush in his first two games. Harbaugh said he wants all of his backs to want the ball and would be disappointed if they didn't. At the same time, he's pleased to have a united locker room. "It's certainly competitive," he said. "Every running back is going to want the ball, but they're rooting for each other's success and taking advantage of their own opportunities. I expect them to want the ball more. "As a coach, you hope everyone has a healthy discontent for their role, because if you're recruiting the right guys, that would be the case. They do a nice job balancing selfish instinct … with wanting their brothers to suc- ceed and do well. "The relationship between them is on them. You hope as a coach the guys you have, at their core, regardless of how much they want to succeed, they are team players. If they're motivated by team success, it's all going to work out." — Chris Balas   MICHIGAN FOOTBALL Ty Isaac Moves To The Top Of The Running Back Rotation Isaac averaged an impressive 8.0 yards per carry while amassing a team-leading 247 rushing yards in the first two games of the season. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN 2017 MICHIGAN FOOTBALL SCHEDULE Date Opponent Time (ET)/TV Sept. 2 vs. Florida* W, 33-17 Sept. 9 Cincinnati W, 36-14 Sept. 16 Air Force Noon/BTN Sep. 23 at Purdue 4 pm/FOX Oct. 7 Michigan State TBA/TBA Oct. 14 at Indiana Noon/TBA Oct. 21 at Penn State TBA/TBA Oct. 28 Rutgers Noon/TBA Nov. 4 Minnesota TBA/TBA Nov. 11 at Maryland TBA/TBA Nov. 18 at Wisconsin TBA/TBA Nov. 25 Ohio State Noon/FOX Dec. 2 Big Ten Championship^ 8 pm/FOX * at Arlington, Texas; ^ at Indianapolis

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