Michigan RB Isaac finally fulfilling potential

Sep 12, 2017 - 6:34 AM Ty Isaac's production has been a major disappointment throughout his college career.

But the fifth-year senior has suddenly emerged as an unstoppable force for No. 7 Michigan (2-0) as it enters Saturday's game against Air Force.

Isaac wrestled the starting running back job away from sophomore Chris Evans by rushing for 114 yards in the opener against Florida. He followed up with a career-best 133 yards on 20 carries against Cincinnati.

The sudden metamorphosis from underwhelming reserve to bona fide bell-cow back has impressed coach Jim Harbaugh.

"He's progressed, he's capitalized on opportunities," Harbaugh said at a press conference. "He's always been a good football player, now he's better.

"I thought he had some I would quote as spectacular plays."

One would be the 53-yard run that Isaac popped in the fourth quarter. But he also displayed consistency with his runs throughout the contest.

That had been a problem in the past -- first at USC where he began his career as well as during his time with the Wolverines. Isaac gained just 622 yards in his first two seasons at Michigan, including 417 last season.

Perhaps that is why the former ballyhooed USC recruit doesn't want to feel satisfied about having 247 already this season.

"As far as a role, I didn't really know just because I know how much we rotate," Isaac said. "I've just got to be prepared for however much they give me."

His teammates have noticed the raised level of commitment along with his increasing profile as a potential star back.

"He came from USC and was battling for a spot in the 1 or 2 group," Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight told reporters. "This year, he's really established himself as one of the leaders in the running back room. That's showing on the field, which is really nice to see."

While Isaac is making the running game go, the Wolverines are still trying to get the passing game on track.

Speight is completing just 51.9 percent of his passes for 402 yards and three touchdowns. He has been intercepted twice and his shaky play has become a subject of heavy fan frustration.

"Everyone sees it," senior center Patrick Kugler said of the chatter. "It doesn't faze him so it's not going to faze us. As long as he keeps it cool -- and I know he will because he's a great leader, he's poised no matter the circumstances -- he's our quarterback, he's our leader. I'll follow him."

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