The last time a Michigan receiver and running back both posted over 100 yards, the Wolverines were on top of the world. They upset Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow and Florida41-35 in the 2008 Capital One Bowl, making up for a four-loss season by playing with swagger against the heavily favored Southeastern Conference team. Lloyd Carr’s team carried him off the field in celebration after his final game as the Wolverines’ coach.

On Saturday, with one more win still needed to even be eligible for a bowl, Michigan matched that 100-yard feat early in the game against Purdue. But while then-senior wide receiver Adrian Arrington and then-senior running back Mike Hart steadily led their team to a win in Orlando, redshirt freshman Roy Roundtree and senior running back Brandon Minor mustered just 23 and 47 yards after halftime, respectively, en route to yet another third-quarter Michigan collapse.

The individual players’ stories were comparable, even if the game results were drastically different. In the Capital One Bowl, Hart was truly healthy for the first time since the middle of the season, where he missed three games and was limited in two more after suffering a high ankle sprain. He predictably played well, running for 129 yards.

Last week, Minor practiced the most he had in a month, meaning he was primed to be as healthy as he could Saturday with what Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez has called a chronic ankle injury. His health showed as he racked up 154 yards on 19 carries.

“We struggled to shut down their one-back running attack,” Purdue coach Danny Hope said. “Number four, Minor, is an outstanding player. I think he’s one of the best running backs in the nation.

“We knew him coming into the game, he’s going to be a difference maker in the game, and he certainly was. He’s a great player.”

And Arrington, in the Capital One Bowl, and Roundtree, against Purdue, both posted career-high numbers. The bowl game was Arrington’s 28th and final game in a Michigan uniform — the receiver bolted for the NFL after Carr retired — and he posted a personal record 153 yards and two touchdowns.

Roundtree is in a completely different point in his Michigan career than Arrington was in 2008. The redshirt freshman played in just his fourth career game Saturday and made his second start, filling in for an injured Martavious Odoms. Roundtree made the most of his chance, equaling his cumulative career receptions (six) in the first quarter alone and finishing with 10 catches for 126 yards.

On the Wolverines’ first drive, with the team down 7-0, Roundtree snatched the ball from a Purdue defender and made a 26-yard leaping catch to convert on a third-and-15. That play set up Minor’s touchdown run.

“He’s got great ball skills,” Rodriguez said. “He’s going to keep getting better because he’s a thin guy playing for the first time. Once he gains some strength, as he matures and gets older, he’s going to be a very, very good player for us, I think.”

Minor’s maturity and speed was on full display early. The senior started the game with a gritty 29-yard touchdown run where he broke multiple tackles, stiff-armed a Purdue defender and dove into the end zone to tie the game at seven. His 55-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter was the longest of his career and gave the Wolverines a 17-10 lead.

But he looked like he re-aggravated the injury during the fourth quarter, where he was pulled down by his ankle after a run and limped off the field. Furious, Minor threw his helmet while standing on the sideline. He came back in the game a few plays later.

“I wish we could’ve pulled it out for him,” freshman quarterback Tate Forcier said. “Just the way he plays, and him playing hurt, it almost sends a message to everybody else — if you’re hurt, just deal with it.”

It only took eight games into Carr’s Wolverine coaching career for a receiver and running back to surpass 100 yards in the same game (a 52-17 win over Minnesota in 1995). Rodriguez, a proclaimed offensive guru, had to wait 22 games for someone from both the air and ground game to similarly stand out.

But the fact that the defense couldn’t protect a 14-point lead to win a bowl-clinching game basically nullified Minor’s near-healthy play and Roundtree’s breakout performance. The 100-yard achievement was a poor consolation prize — but in another disappointing season, the Wolverines may have to take what they can get.

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