Michigan Survives Fourth Quarter Rally

No. 20 Michigan hosted the UMass Minutemen on Saturday afternoon at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor. The Minutemen stunned the Wolverines with a 17-7 lead out of the gate, but U-M rallied to a 21-17 lead at half before surviving a late scare in a 42-37 win.

ANN ARBOR – Denard Robinson didn't finish with 502 yards of all-purpose offense, but the young Michigan quarterback had yet another impressive performance as the Wolverines downed the UMass Minutemen 42-37 despite a furious UMass fourth quarter rally Saturday afternoon at Michigan Stadium.

Robinson connected on 10-of-14 passes for 241 yards and two scores, plus added 104 yards and another touchdown on the ground as Michigan survived both strong starts and finishes by the visitors from the Northeast. Wide receiver Darryl Stonum caught both of Robinson's touchdown tosses, and running back Michael Shaw added three U-M touchdowns on the ground while racking up 126 yards.

"You can't be upset with a win, but you can be upset with the way you played and we did not play well," said Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez. "We didn't play well at all defensively. Special teams were awful, and on offense we made a few mistakes that killed us."

Massachusetts tallied 439 yards against the Michigan defense, a balanced attack that saw 222 come in the air, plus 217 more on the ground.

"We certainly have a lot of things to clean up defensively. I know we're a little thin there because we have guys banged up, but we have got to try and get more guys and see if the production can be better. That simply wasn't acceptable or the way we are supposed to play defense here at Michigan."

Following Michael Shaw's third touchdown run of the day early in the fourth quarter, the Minutemen rallied from a 42-24 deficit in the final 13 minutes. Quarterback Kyle Havens scored on a bootleg to trim the Michigan lead to just 12 points, 42-30, with just 5:15 remaining, but the Michigan offense, off the field for all but a handful of plays in the final quarter, was unable to bleed the clock. Massachusetts then blocked Michigan punter Will Hagerup's punt, and the Minutemen were in business again.

With 2:05 left on the clock Havens brought UMass within 42-37 with a touchdown toss to Julian Talley from the Michigan 7-yardline. It capped a day that saw the UMass quarterback complete 22-of-29 passes for 222 yards and a pair of scores.

"It certainly wasn't there today in a lot of phases and hopefully after we watch the film, we will get it corrected," Rodriguez concluded.

Michigan watched the ensuing onside kick sail out of bounds, and Michigan ran the final 2:05 off the clock to preserve the 42-37 win.

In the first half it looked as if the Wolverines could fall victim to their second Football Championship Subdivision team when the Minutemen jumped out to a 17-7 lead with just 1:17 left in the first half.

Massachusetts went up 3-0 on their first possession of the game with a 29-yard Caleb Violette field goal, then, after the Wolverines scored on their second possession to claim a short-lived 7-3 lead, UMass took advantage of a missed Michigan field goal to build a two possession advantage at 17-7.

Over the final 1:17, though, it was all Michigan. Darryl Stonum scored on a 66-yard screen pass on the Wolverines first play from scrimmage after the second UMass touchdown. Then, in the final minute, Jordan Kovacs stripped John Griffin to give Michigan one last possession before the break. Stonum capped it with another touchdown grab, this one from six-yards out to give Michigan a 21-17 lead at the half.

With the win the Wolverines improve to 3-0 on the season. Michigan returns to Michigan Stadium next Saturday to meet the Bowling Green State University Falcons. Kick-off is scheduled for Noon.

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