Gardner ready to lead Michigan against CMU

Central Michigan at No. 17 Michigan, 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)

Line: Michigan by 31½

Series record: Michigan 3-0.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Michigan has a chance to make a good first impression with its return to a traditional offense after running a spread-heavy scheme that took advantage of Denard Robinson's ability to run in Brady Hoke's first two years after the three-season Rich Rodriguez era.

KEY MATCHUP

The Wolverines will lean on their running backs, starting with Fitzgerald Toussaint, who is coming off a season-ending leg injury, to establish a ground game behind an offensive line with new starters at both guards and center. Central Michigan's best chance to stay competitive might a good rush up the middle on QB Devin Gardner against inexperienced linemen.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Michigan: Toussaint. The last time the senior was on the field in a game, he was sent to a hospital for surgery soon after breaking his left leg -- between the ankle and knee -- in a gruesomely injury on Nov. 17, 2012, against Iowa. He finished last season with less than half of his total from 2011, when he ran for 1,041 yards.

Central Michigan: RB Zurlon Tipton. The senior ran for 1,492 and scored 20 touchdowns. He had at least 100 yards rushing in his last seven games and earned second-team All-MAC honors.

FACTS & FIGURES

Michigan is 31-1 against Mid-American Conference teams and the lone loss was under Rodriguez against Toledo in in 2008 in what stands as its last loss at home against a nonconference team. ... The Wolverines beat Central Michigan 41-17 in 2006. ... Michigan hasn't lost at home in Hoke's two seasons in charge of college football's winningest team, making him the school's first coach to win every game in Ann Arbor in his first two seasons since Fielding Yost in 1901 and 1902. ... Central Michigan coach Dan Enos, a former Michigan State quarterback, won his first three season openers easily by beating Hampton, South Carolina State and Southeast Missouri State.

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