MINNEAPOLIS – Michigan offensive coordinator Terry Malone may have finally found himself a durable starting tailback.

And he didn’t have to look very far.

Senior fullback B.J. Askew has made quite the campaign for the position throughout the past two weeks while tailback Chris Perry has been hampered by an injured ankle.

Askew rushed 11 times for 126 yards Saturday night, marking the second straight game the Cincinnati native has rushed for more than 100 yards. Askew’s hard running and consistency has the Michigan coaching staff tempted to use the versatile back even more.

“If he keeps running the way he is, he’s going to keep getting the ball,” Malone said. “I would think that as long as Chris (Perry) is not 100 percent, I kind of like the idea of B.J. playing tailback for us. I think he has an amount of toughness that you need in these Big Ten games. He’s constantly pouring it up the field.”

Askew’s ability to break tackles and hold onto the football (just one fumble all season) has helped make him the recent go-to guy in the Michigan backfield. Askew is also the Wolverines’ fourth-leading receiver with 28 receptions, making him an intricate part of Michigan’s offense. This is nothing new to Askew, who served as Michigan’s starting tailback last season, rushing for more than 900 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“If there’s a more valuable player, I don’t know who it is,” Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. “Because he’s really played a wonderful role on our football team. And he’s done it all year long.”

Before this season, Carr thought this was the year Perry would finally carry the load for the Wolverines. The injury-plagued junior started out strong, compiling nearly 700 yards in his first eight games. But a sore ankle has limited Perry’s effectiveness and playing time the past two games, as he’s rushed for just 109 yards over that span.

Saturday, after carrying the ball 17 times in the first half, Perry limped off the field early in the third quarter and played sparingly thereafter.

That’s when the opportunistic Askew poured it on. He racked up 104 yards in the second half, and his two touchdowns in the fourth quarter put a nail in the Gophers’ coffin as Michigan took a 41-17 lead.

On his final score, Askew utilized a cutback and a key block by tight end Bennie Joppru to spring his career-long 59-yard touchdown run – the longest rush from scrimmage for the Wolverines this season.

“I wasn’t going to let them catch me,” Askew said.

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