Robinson shows his versatility against Huskers
It looks like Michigan junior QB Denard Robinson has picked the ideal time to put all the different phases of his game together. The talent has never been in question, but consistency and balance have been persistent issues.
Robinson chose to demonstrate his wares against a very unlikely type of opponent -- a rough and tumble No. 17 ranked Nebraska. The newest member of the Big Ten made its first trip to Ann Arbor as a conference regular, and watched Robinson direct a 45-17 humbling of the Cornhuskers.
Nebraska simply got overwhelmed by Robinson and the Wolverines. When the Cornhuskers played it safe against the pass, Robinson took off and stung them with his speed and elusiveness. When Nebraska opted to pressure Robinson and choke off the run, he picked the Cornhuskers apart with his passing.
Robinson completed 11-of-18 passes for 180 yards and a pair of touchdowns, using six different receivers. He also took off with the ball 23 times for 83 yards and two more touchdowns.
"I love playing for Denard, I really do because I know in the run game he makes stuff happen all the time, and in the pass game he can pull the ball down and run too," OL Mark Huyge said. "That's something that we need."
Michigan WR Martavious Odoms, who had two catches for 47 yards and a touchdown in the pounding of Nebraska, said the opposition has underestimated Robinson's versatility.
"A lot of people doubt his throwing because he can run so well," Odoms said, "but when he has to make a throw and make a play, he gets the job done."
Michigan coach Brady Hoke, who has been a careful critic of Robinson throughout the season, said, "I think Denard played good football for us. There were a couple runs where I'd like him to stick his foot in the ground a little more and really accelerate, but I thought he did a nice job of managing us."
--The Big House just keeps on packing them in. For their recent game against Nebraska, the Wolverines drew a crowd of 113,718, marking the 237th consecutive game with a crowd in excess of 100,000 fans at Michigan Stadium. It also was the second-largest crowd in Michigan Stadium history.
--Michigan had lost five straight games at home against ranked opponents before the Wolverines hammered No. 17 Nebraska 45-17.
--Michigan QB Denard Robinson has passed Texas QB Vince Young on the all-time NCAA quarterback rushing list, and needs just seven yards to reach 1,000 yards rushing for a second straight season.
KEEP AN EYE ON: QB Denard Robinson -- The dynamic junior from Florida had four touchdowns in the rout of Nebraska for the sixth four-score game of his career. The explosive Robinson had 263 total yards in the game, three more than Nebraska had as a team.
LOOKING GOOD: RB Fitzgerald Toussaint -- The junior (RS So.) from Ohio had a pair of rushing touchdowns in the win over Nebraska, rushing for 138 yards on a career-high 29 carries. Toussaint surpassed the 100-yard mark for the fourth time in his career and scored his eighth and ninth touchdowns this season.
STILL NEEDS WORK: Despite their dominant performance against Nebraska, the Wolverines still left some points on the field. The wasted red zone opportunities are eating away at head coach Brady Hoke. "There's still areas that we need to improve," Hoke said. "We had great field position in there sometimes offensively, and we don't put the ball in the end zone. And I think offensively we have some field-position issues and we don't continue to get first downs."
QUOTE TO NOTE: "The mindset of this defense and this team is just on a whole new level this year. We've had young guys step up. We've had great leadership with seniors, underclassmen have gotten some time, and it's really just putting those pieces together. It's playing Michigan defense and Michigan football for 60 minutes." -- Michigan senior DL Mike Martin
--DL Ryan Van Bergen had two tackles for loss against Nebraska, a sack and a fumble recovery. Van Bergen has seven tackles for loss in the past four games.
--PK Brendan Gibbons knocked in a career-best 42-yard field goal in the win.
--WR Terrence Robinson had the first forced fumble of his career when the Wolverines kicked off to Nebraska to start the second half.
--S Josh Furman blocked a punt in the third quarter of the win over Nebraska for Michigan's first punt block of the season, and its first since late in the 2009 season.
--S Jordan Kovacs, who has been troubled by persistent knee problems this season, limped off the field in the second half but returned later for Michigan.
--OG Ricky Barnum, a starter who has been hampered with ankle trouble for most of the season, missed the Nebraska game but is available for duty.
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