EVANSTON, Ill. -- While it wasn’t the prettiest win in Michigan football history -- it certainly was one of the strangest.
But a win is a win, even if it takes a last second game tying field goal at the end of regulation and a three overtime marathon. Nevertheless, Michigan still was able to walk away with a 27-19 3OT victory at Northwestern Saturday night.
“I know what it means for them is that they played over 60 minutes of Michigan football together as a team,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said afterwards. “That’s what’s the goal has been and always will be. I thought they were very accountable to each other. That’s one thing we talk about a lot. And how they played, and how they finished – they did that.”
Green getting some carries.
Fifth-year senior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint was benched today due an undisclosed injury, said Hoke, he later noted Toussaint practiced some during the week but wasn’t healthy enough to play despite making the trip.
Toussaint’s carries were replaced by freshman running backs’ Derrick Green -- who started for the first time in his career against Northwestern -- and De’Veon Smith.
“I thought Derrick did a nice job,” Hoke said. “He had some pretty nice vision on some cuts, some holes in there. He’s a big guy. I think he is learning to play a little bit lower with his pads. And then I thought De’Veon (Smith) did a nice job.”
Green finished the game with career-high 79-yards on 19 carries with a long of 23. Smith finished with career-high 39-yards on nine carries with a long of 16.
With Green finally getting his opportunity to get No. 1 reps, Hoke was asked if Green would be the new starting running back?
“I don’t think so,” Hoke replied. “I don’t know. I think we obviously want to get him and De’Veon the football more. But I would say Fitz is still our tailback.”
But Green’s production on the field will earn him more reps, said Hoke.
“I think your production always earns you more time,’ Hoke said. “And if you are productive, I think you could see that.”
Pass Blocking RB
With Toussaint out, Michigan relied on Justice Hayes and Joe Kerridge in pass blocking situations. Hayes in particular stood out in the win, said Hoke.
“Justice Hayes came in and did some really good things with the pass protection that we needed,” Hoke said. “Joe Kerridge some of it. And then Justice went in there and did a nice job with it.”