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Posted on Sat, Oct 29, 2011 : 5:07 p.m.

Fitz Toussaint's big game helps Michigan football team thump Purdue, 36-14

By Nick Baumgardner

Updated 5:07 p.m.

All week, Michigan football coaches and players insisted they had forgotten about Michigan State.

Apparently, the Wolverines weren't kidding.

Fitzgerald Toussaint scored twice and rushed for a career-high 170 yards on 20 carries Saturday as the Wolverines successfully washed away the taste of their only defeat of the season, rolling to a 36-14 homecoming win over Purdue.

"It's hard for me to compare (this team) to anything that happened before, but I like our team and I like how they've liked each other," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. "Maybe that's corny, or whatever, but from where I sit, I like that they respect each other.

"And it shows."


Michigan running back Fitzgerald Toussaint picks up some of his 170 yards against Purdue. He finished with two touchdowns and averaged 8.5 yards per carry on Saturday.

Melanie Maxwell |

The win was Michigan's eighth in its last nine games after an off week, and it emphatically answered the question of how the team would respond following its 28-14 loss to Michigan State two weeks ago.

In the previous three seasons, Michigan (7-1, 3-1 Big Ten) had gone a combined 4-14 following a loss to the Spartans.

So far this season, the Wolverines are 1-0.

"Every team faces adversity," Toussaint said. "It's not really how you have adversity, it's how you respond. We knew we had two weeks to get prepared for this game, and we did what we had to do."

Two weeks after having his worst performance as a Michigan starting quarterback, Denard Robinson was much more efficient against Purdue, finishing 9-for-14 passing for 170 yards to go along with 63 yards rushing.

But for the first time in some time, the Wolverine backfield gave him help. Toussaint's 170 yards were the most by a Michigan running back since Carlos Brown ran for 191 against Eastern Michigan in 2009.

It also marked the first time a Michigan player not named Denard Robinson had 20 carries since Brown had 25 attempts against Illinois in 2009.

“We came in defensively with the idea that we had to stop number 16 from a run game standpoint," Purdue coach Danny Hope said. "I thought they did a good job of maybe taking the game out of his hands, out of Denard's hands, and spreading the ball around a little bit.

"That spreads us a little bit thin."

Things ended well, but didn't start as strong for Michigan.

Purdue scored on its first possession, and drive-kililng interceptions by both Robinson and Devin Gardner kept the Wolverines from seizing early momentum. The score stayed knotted at 7-7 throughout the first quarter.

Senior defensive tackle Mike Martin took care of that problem, though.

Martin steamrolled through the Purdue offensive line on a first-down play early in the second quarter, sacking Caleb TerBush in the end zone for a safety to put the Wolverines up 9-7.

Michigan would sputter offensively after the free kick, but managed to set itself up with decent field position, resulting in a 37-yard field goal by Brendan Gibbons to make it 12-7.

The Boilermakers appeared to have an answer, though, as backup quarterback Robert Marve drove Purdue deep into Michigan territory on the ensuing drive. But as it has all season, the Michigan defense answered in the red zone, getting a deflected-ball interception by Courtney Avery on the Wolverines' 17-yard-line.

Michigan wouldn't squander this chance.

Following a pair of solid runs from Toussaint, Robinson found Jeremy Gallon on a 42-yard pass to set Michigan up on the Purdue 2-yard line. Toussaint then polished the drive off with a 2-yard scoring plunge, putting Michigan in control at 19-7. Gibbons would add a 22-yard field goal just before the half to make it a 22-7 game.

Toussaint then put the game out of reach late in the third, scoring on a dazzling 59-yard cutback touchdown run to give Michigan a 29-7 advantage.

"(Michigan running backs coach Fred Jackson) always stresses, when you see a crease, shoot through a cannon," Toussaint said. "That's what I did."

The Wolverines added a 37-yard touchdown run from Michael Shaw to complete the scoring.

Michigan outgained Purdue (4-4, 2-2 Big Ten) 535-311, and finished with 339 yards rushing as a team, while Purdue ran for just 89.

Purdue's final score of the game came on a 19-yard touchdown pass from Marve to O.J. Ross with just 15 seconds to play.

Michigan will return to the road next Saturday for a noon contest at Iowa. With Michigan State's loss to Nebraska on Saturday, the Wolverines aren't out of the Legends Division championship conversation just yet.

But, predictably, Hoke's not concerned with that just now.

"Every game is a championship game," he said. "We've said that since (the Big Ten opener against) Minnesota.

"Next week, we're on the road, and it's a championship game."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan sports for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Sun, Oct 30, 2011 : 5:01 p.m.

Hey Jonny and 15crown, So, how did Sparty do against Nebraska? Oh, gee, what a shame--so, two losses now, to Michigan's one? Don't be surprised to see the Wolverines take Iowa and either Nebraska or OSU--maybe both.

NC Wolverine 20

Sun, Oct 30, 2011 : 4:29 a.m.

We are undefeated at home in 2011. As long as that remains true through next month, this will be a great season.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Oct 30, 2011 : 3:32 p.m.

With essentially the same team that went 7-6, lost disastrously to tosu and in its bowl game, and that had the nation's 110th-ranked defense, it will take an 11-1 season for you to define it as great?? Really?? Anyone who truly understands college football also understands that we are 2-3 years away from being great. We are VERY thin on the O-line, the D-line, and at linebacker, and we are very undersized at those positions, as well. It will take a couple of recruiting classes (and the 2012 class, as it stands now, is an outstanding step in the right direction) to fix these shortcomings--no amount of coaching can overcome them. Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, Oct 30, 2011 : 7:33 a.m.

If we go 9-3, it'll be an improvement upon last season but not a GREAT season. I would only consider this a GREAT season if we win the rest of our regular season games and then win our bowl game. Anyway, I just wanna see us getting better from game to game. If we win 2 out of our next 4 but play competitively in all 4 games, I'll be happy about that. This team is capable of winning ANY game. We could totally beat LSU or Alabama, but at the same time, either of those teams could wax the floor with us if we aren't ready for them. I'm not saying our roster has the same talent as those teams, but with a unique threat like Denard -- and as well as our defense has been playing -- we have the POTENTIAL to beat any team on any given night.

Jonny Spirit

Sat, Oct 29, 2011 : 11:35 p.m.

Play a ranked team and win instead of the last place teams in the Big Ten and I will shut up. Michigan has played nobody and the good team they did play Michigan lost. Purdue stinks, Northwestern stinks, Minnesota stinks. Michigan has a cake schedule this year and I don't know how they can even be ranked with out at least one big win.


Sun, Oct 30, 2011 : 1:48 a.m.

According to Jeff Sagarin, Michigan has the 65th toughest schedule in the nation compared to Michigan State at 50. Not to mention, MSU's next 4 games are about as easy as they come in the Big Ten. Enjoy your "magical season" you're having because that's exactly what it is by Spartan standards.


Sun, Oct 30, 2011 : 12:38 a.m.

is johnny upset tonight??? good win wolverines, keep it going. 10-2 is very reachable..

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Oct 29, 2011 : 11:48 p.m.

Based on your logic, I guess M-S-Mooooooooooooooooooooo has no big wins, either. Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, Oct 29, 2011 : 10:22 p.m.

looking good this week but Sparty still beat you and the big time teams are up next.


Sun, Oct 30, 2011 : 2:12 a.m.

Sparty lost twice


Sat, Oct 29, 2011 : 10:07 p.m.

Iowa is not looking too impressive against a severely undermanned Minnesota program.


Sat, Oct 29, 2011 : 9:31 p.m.

Really happy with the way we played today, great effort, great coaching, great game plan and really good execution. I'd say we're on our way to a great future of M Football, I'm elated to be able to say that so soon. Next weeks game looms large, gotta come out and repeat today's performance, which I think we can. I love how improved the Defense is and they're ball hawking and big play making is pleasant to see. I thought even Lombardi couldn't fix this Defense? I guess our staff is better than Lombardi, who knew?

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Oct 29, 2011 : 11:52 p.m.

@JUB: Seems there are more than a few freshman playing on this year's defense, too: <a href=""></a> So, just like your namesake, you are little more than an apologist for the WCiMFH. GN&amp;GL

1st Down

Sat, Oct 29, 2011 : 11:42 p.m.

well considering that Vince Lombardi was the Offensive Coordinator of the Giants and Tom Landry was the Defensive Coordinator... maybe RR was right...but that also shows what a doofus RR was... in addition to throwing his players (again) under the bus, he didnt know his history... 3 and Out baby!!! ...btw... Coach Kelly at ND may be on his way to joining Rich in the CBS booth soon, as he throws his players under the buss too...and cant adapt to the talent that he inherited on his ND team. Unlike Coach Hoke and Coach Mattison who are true gentlemen, and true good coaches. Go Blue

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sat, Oct 29, 2011 : 11:32 p.m.

Nope. Not what he said, JUB. He said: "Vince Lombardi could come in and not fix some of the problems on defense.&quot; Source: <a href=""></a> I see you're as good a reporter as your namesake. That said, yes--the players merely being one year older is all that explains the massive defensive improvement. LOLOLOL. If that were the case, 11 people my age would have an unbeatable defense. Oh, one more thing. Mattison might be a better defensive coach than Lombardi, but there is no doubt that Hoke is a better head coach than the WCiMFH. Good Night and Good Luck Good Night and Good Luck


Sat, Oct 29, 2011 : 8:49 p.m.

We've seen a few other great performances earlier this season from Vincent Smith and Micheal Shaw but none of them have been consistent. It does seem like Fitz Toussaint's performance in this game has a different feel. He must have had great practices the past two weeks to get the nod the start and then, he did not sputter. He was awesome. I hope he can be more consistent in the final four games. Kudos to the O-Line, hopefully, they remain at this elevated level. It would be nice to get the 8th win next week at IA. Go Blue!!


Sat, Oct 29, 2011 : 8:29 p.m.

Great win. Spirited play. Now the really tough part of the schedule begins.


Sat, Oct 29, 2011 : 8:16 p.m.

I know the coaches and fans would like to see a RB that separates himself from the rest, but I'm OK with what we have. Toussaint shows good speed and the ability to make DB's miss, same can be said for Shaw, and Vincent Smith brings a lot to the field as well with his blocking and ability to catch (and throw) the ball out of the backfield. Shaw is the only senior, so we get them all back, plus Hayes and Rawls, and of course add Denard to the mix and I'd say the run game looks promising for next season. Now let's keep the momentum the ground game against Iowa and come out of there 8-1 and who knows what could happen AT HOME in our last two games. GO BLUE!!!


Sat, Oct 29, 2011 : 8:59 p.m.

You're forgetting @ Illinois. That's certainly no gimme.