Michigan splits carries between Thomas Rawls, Fitz Toussaint and gets 100-yard combined effort
MINNEAPOLIS -- As individuals, neither Fitz Toussaint or Thomas Rawls were overly impressive Saturday.
But together? They got the job done.
For the first time this season, Michigan used a true two-headed running back approach with both Toussaint and Rawls, and the result offered production -- finally.
Combined, Michigan's running back duo had 29 carries for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 35-13 win at Minnesota.
"To be honest with you, we planned on doing that a little bit more a week ago," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. "But we didn't. For one reason or another.
"We wanted to get (Rawls) involved and the I-(formation) stuff under center, that kind of suits him. And I think it suits Fitz, too."
Rawls ended the day with more carries than Toussaint, but only because he was on the field for Michigan's final meaningless drive of the game.
Toussaint ended up with more yards than Rawls, but only because he broke off a 41-yard touchdown romp in the fourth quarter.
For the game, Rawls had 16 carries for 43 yards and a touchdown, while Toussaint had 13 carries for 70 yards and a score.
Asked if Rawls will continue to see more carries moving forward, Hoke said "he might." But, at the same time, he doesn't sound like he's giving up on Toussaint either.
"The one thing, you've got to earn it every day in practice, that's the competitive nature of what we do," he said. "At that position also, protections and routes (are important), and I think that's where (Rawls') growth has been.
"We'd like to get (Toussaint) more production (also). We'd like to block a little better than we did."
Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges has maintained since arriving in Ann Arbor that he prefers to use one featured back 20-25 times per game.
However, with Toussaint's inconsistencies and Rawls' continued improvement, he might be finally changing his tune.