By the fourth quarter of the Michigan football team’s upset of Wisconsin, Brandon Graham saw something in the offensive tackle lining up across from him. He knew he had an edge.

“I kind of seen a difference in the tackle,” the junior defensive end said. “He was kind of leaning a little bit more. So I felt like I could duck up under him a little bit, just with my size.”

Graham took full advantage of the situation, sprinting past the tackle and toward Wisconsin quarterback Allan Evridge to pick up two key sacks in the final two minutes of the Wolverines’ comeback win.

The first of those two sacks forced a fumble, which stopped a potential game-tying drive for the Badgers at the Michigan five-yard line.

Graham totaled three sacks and was named the Big Ten’s defensive player of the week, but he was more pleased with his consistency than anything else, looking back on the win.

“The Wisconsin game really opened my eyes to how good condition I was really in, because I was able to go hard on almost 100 percent of the plays,” Graham said Monday. “With one loaf in the game, that was a pretty good step. Usually, I’m having like three or four.”

Loafs are a stat measured by Michigan defensive coordinator Scott Shafer. Anytime a defensive player fails to turn and run to the ball on a play, he gets a loaf.

Graham challenged himself to be more consistent this season. The Detroit native was dominant at times as a pass rusher last year, compiling 8.5 sacks, including a career-high 3.5 against Notre Dame.

But this year Graham and the rest of Michigan’s defensive line have set a high bar for the impact they want to have in each game.

“We kicked it up a notch at the end, and I think our strength program is great and I think it really helps us out at the end of games,” fifth-year senior Will Johnson said. “When the other teams start getting tired, we try to just kick it into overdrive, keep going.”

The four starting defensive linemen, Graham, Johnson, senior nose tackle Terrance Taylor and fifth-year senior defensive end Tim Jamison, have a competition each week to see who can have the biggest game.

Wisconsin was Graham’s game.

“He’s really stepping up as a leader on this team,” Jamison said. “He had two sacks. After the first sack, he was still hungry. He wasn’t satisfied.”

But Graham knows he can’t let himself be content with his three sacks against the Badgers and his Big Ten honor. Though he’s leading the nation in tackles for loss and is tied for third in sacks, that doesn’t mean he can rest easy.

“Brandon had an awesome game,” redshirt sophomore linebacker Obi Ezeh said. “I was just joking with him after I saw the paper in the morning, his big photo. It was a no quit attitude. I was just like, ‘You’re going to have to show me.’ That’s exactly what he did. He didn’t quit the whole game and he had a great performance.”

Notes: Sophomore wide receiver Junior Hemingway will be out several weeks with mononucleosis. Junior Carlos Brown will also miss at least this week’s game with a sprained ankle. … A game after redshirt junior punter Zoltan Mesko was the only player of the game displayed at Schembechler Hall, five players earned the honor for the Wisconsin game. Graham, Taylor and junior free safety Stevie Brown were the defensive players. Redshirt junior right guard David Moosman was the offensive player of the game, and fifth-year senior kicker Jason Gingell was the special teams player of the game.

—Dan Feldman contributed to this report.

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