Michigan State, however, was routinely a problem for the electric Robinson.
Enter Devin Gardner, who presents a different challenge for the MSU defense.
"I think that our feelings are that Devin Gardner can make a lot of plays in space obviously," MSU coach Mark Dantonio said. "He's a bigger guy. I think he runs through tackles a little bit more effectively maybe. They do a lot of different things with him that they didn't do with Denard, probably because the offenses conceptually are different."
Gardner enters with a 61.1 completion percentage and averaging 254.1 yards passing per game.
His biggest threat, though, like Robinson might come on the ground where has nine rushing touchdowns – second in the nation for quarterbacks – and averages 5.47 yards per attempt.
MSU senior linebacker Max Bullough said the styles of running are different between Robinson and Gardner.
"Denard was kind of like a Keyshawn Johnson, shake and move you about and do all that kind of stuff to try to make you miss, but Devin is more of a downhill, more of a Taylor Martinez type guy," Bullough said. "He's not going to do a bunch of shake and bake at the line, but once he gets moving you know he's hard to catch."
The Spartans' run defense leads the nation allowing just 54 rushing yards per game. Through the air, MSU is third in the country with 160 yards allowed per game.
"I think Devin Gardner is more of a prototype quarterback, as well," MSU senior cornerback Darqueze Dennard said. "He can run and he throws. I'd say he throws a better ball than Denard and he's a longer guy. He reads more coverage.
"Basically, he's a student of the game. I tip my hat off to him."
Gardner's only experience at quarterback against MSU came in the Wolverines' visit to East Lansing in 2011. He was 3 of 7 passing for 47 yards and ran six times for a loss of 15 yards.