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Posted on Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 7:45 p.m.

Game balls: They go to Fitzgerald Toussaint, J.T. Floyd and others

By Jim Knight

Game balls from the Michigan football team's 31-14 victory Saturday at Illinois.

FITZGERALD TOUSSAINT (4): An easy call. It's tough to top a career-high high 192 yards on 27 carries and a fourth-quarter touchdown that ended any realistic hope of an Illinois comeback. Toussaint was strong from the start of the game, going 65 yards on his second carry. He averaged 7.1 yards per carry and now has 753 yards rushing this season.

RYAN VAN BERGEN (4): The senior defensive end had 2.5 of Michigan's four sacks and finished with seven tackles. His play was one reason Michigan held Illinois dual-threat quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase to 170 yards passing and 14 yards rushing. Overall, Illinois had just 214 total yards of offense.

J.T. FLOYD (4): The junior cornerback -- who went head-to-head with Illinois' top receiver A.J. Jenkins much of the game -- gave momentum back to Michigan when he intercepted a Scheelhaase pass early in the fourth quarter and returned it 43 yards. Floyd also had four tackles and broke up two passes.

DEVIN GARDNER (2): Starting quarterback Denard Robinson was injured midway through the third quarter and Gardner, a sophomore, came on and did what he had to do. He didn't turn the ball over and he was effective enough to elude pressure and find Martavious Odoms on a 27-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, three plays after Floyd's interception.



Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 4:28 p.m.

I think Hoke & coaches gave DG reps in earlier games in case of injury.. and now he gets throw into the lions den,and he is not without some experience , he a much better pro-style qb imo with his size,defense is less likely to bat down passes at the line of scrimmage,and has speed and is elusive in the open field.. Watch the rerun of that TD pass to Odoms , he looked poised,and step up and threw a strike to a rec in stride, Then Odoms looked at an open endzone. I wonder in the future 2 games,if DR struggles, If Brady will sub DG,to get out of a bind,or need a score etc.. just wondering is all ,from a fans perspective.. GO BLUE..


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 1:33 a.m.

How did Jake Ryan grade out? He seemed to be in on every play during the 1st half.


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 4:31 p.m.

agree..I like the play where he popped the QB in the backfield on that option play ! he took the QB right out of the play..


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 1:25 a.m.

How 'bout some love for the Oline? They opened nice holes for Toussaint and have been very good all season at getting to the second level on run plays. Nice win on the road after a tough loss that could have resulted in regressing as the season winds down. This win provides extra momentum and confidence for what is still a pretty young team. I like that we finish with two AT HOME against teams that we can beat if we play well. Can't believe this team has a chance to finish with 10 of the year for Hoke if that happens.


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 1:31 a.m.

The OL was mixed. While it opened a handful of holes for Fitz, it was horrendous during other critical points of the game.


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 1:16 a.m.

Still wonder how Denard has regressed instead of progressed as a player. Still wonder about Al Borges play calling. Denard being completely misused. Denard too many mistakes in game. Congrats to coaches for turning that defense into some respectablility. Good win on road. Think they have good chance in nest two games especiallly at home...


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 4:24 a.m.

Denard looks almost exactly the way he has against every good team we have played in his career. The belief is that as QB's get more experience that the game slows down for them. I don't think the game ever slows down for Denard because he just isn't that bright. He is extremely talented which makes him almost unstoppable against weak opponents. When he plays better caliber teams, their skill level is closer to his and their intelligence level is way higher. The game is already slowing down for Devin Gardener and he doesn't have 1/10th the PT as Denard. He is our hope if we are going to beat Nebraska and/or that school in the southern slums. He is taller, almost as fast, way more accurate with his passes and doesn't panic or throw the ball up for grabs. Denard would be an awesome kick/punt returner and split receiver. He would also be a great Division II QB who would then go on to coach middle school gym after graduation. Nice kid, but no Division I QB. If you want to watch someone with Denard's size who is a good QB, watch Oregon. Denard will never be that good.


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 1:58 a.m.

Honestly ... how would you use Denard? Designed runs aren't working. Haven't for several games now. Defenses have him targeted as he runs laterally. He hasn't shown any ability to get through seams and into the open. Line him up as a wide out? Maybe. He'd get killed out in the open if a cornerback had him teed up for a brutal hit. Punt returner? If he wasn't the QB then maybe ... otherwise, too risky. So seriously ... how exactly would you use Denard better? I ask because I'm honestly curious. I don't think Borges is an idiot ... he knows more about Robinson than we do. So what's the answer?


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 12:57 a.m.

Awe shucks; give Devin three game balls for not turning the ball over, throwing for a TD and giving back the offense the momentum it needed late in the game to put it away. As it turned out, both teams did match up well. The IL defense looked good after giving up 14 points but they also wore out during the 4th quarter so they did not play 60 minutes of good football. The IL offense played only 8 to 10 minutes of good football and was only able to score twice. I'll call it a good road win. They are now 8 and 2. Congrats...GO BLUE!!!