Ann Arbor — In an offense that clearly has some growing pains to work through, Michigan fifth-year senior running back Ty Isaac has been a beacon of consistency.
He backed up his 114-yard rushing performance in the season opener against Florida with a 133-yard game in his first start of the season Saturday in Michigan’s 36-14 victory over Cincinnati at Michigan Stadium. Michigan rushed for 193 yards against the Bearcats.
Isaac, who learned the night before the game he would be starting, averaged 6.7 yards a carry and had a 53-yard run early in the fourth quarter that gave a lift for the Wolverines who started the drive on their 13-yard line.
“That particular play had been working all day,” Isaac said. “The guys up front blocked it really well.”
Because Michigan has three backs in the rotation, including Chris Evans and Karan Higdon, who had five and four carries, respectively, Isaac wasn’t sure what his role would be.
“I didn’t really know because I know how much we rotate,” he said. “You’ve just got to be prepared for however much they need you.”
At the end of practices, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh calls on players to share “wise words.” Isaac has made several meaningful appearances before his team.
“He’s an extremely mature guy,” quarterback Wilton Speight said. “He’s talked to the team and both times he’s delivered strong messages. That speaks volumes of who he is these days. He came from USC and was battling for a spot and this camp he really established himself as one of the leaders in the running back room. And that’s showing on the field which is nice to see.”
Isaac is not one to talk and talk. A general theme of his messages to the team has been simple — trust.
“For the most part, the message is we need to trust our work, trust in what we’re doing and stay the path,” Isaac said. “Don’t let a game take you off course and make you lose your focus.”
And through two games, he appears to have maintained his focus. That’s important because he wants to set an example.
“It’s easy to talk,” he said. “If you’re not doing the things you say, they’re empty words. I’d much rather be a doer than a talker.”