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Posted on Sat, Nov 19, 2011 : 6:39 p.m.

Denard Robinson matches Tom Brady, manages Michigan offense well in lopsided win

By Nick Baumgardner


Michigan junior quarterback Denard Robinson picks up some of his 83 yards rushing against Nebraska.

Melanie Maxwell |

Michigan junior quarterback Denard Robinson has had to answer several questions about his arm this season, more negative than positive.

But after guiding the Michigan football team to arguably its most impressive win of his three-year career Saturday against Nebraska, Robinson was caught off-guard when he was given another passing-related query.

Reporter: "Denard, today you matched Tom Brady's (career number of) 35 (passing) touchdowns at Michigan, could you talk about that a little bit?

Robinson: "Excuse me?"

With a 38-yard touchdown pass to Martavious Odoms in the fourth quarter, Robinson officially put his name in the same sentence as the former Michigan signal-caller, tying Brady for seventh on the school's all-time passing touchdown list.


Denard Robinson was 11-of-18 passing for 180 yards, two touchdowns and one interception on Saturday.

Jeff Sainlar |

It's just one statistic, and it doesn't matter much. But after getting questioned about his capabilities as a quarterback for most of the season, Robinson sat at the press table with an ear-to-ear grin Saturday, happily discussing his final statistics for perhaps the first time this season.

"I'm going out there and having fun with my team," Robinson said of his improved play. "That's the biggest thing."

Robinson wasn't spectacular, as he threw his 14th interception of the season during the first half on a tipped pass at the line of scrimmage.

But for the first time in arguably a month, he wasn't erratic.

Robinson finished 11-for-18 for 180 yards, two touchdowns and the interception. On the ground, he was steady, rushing 23 times for 83 yards and two scores.

Sophomore quarterback Devin Gardner did eventually relieve Robinson, but in a different way than he had over the past two weeks. Robinson wasn't limping off the field with an injury this week.

This time, Robinson exited in full health, with his team holding a 45-17 lead.

"He was a little bit beat up in the (middle part of the season) with some ailments," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said of his quarterback. "But I think he's healthy now. I think he's more confident, and the one thing I can tell is he's taking ownership as a leader.

"That's neat to see."

Hoke has firmly stood behind Robinson as his starter, routinely dodging questions about his ability to patiently run offensive coordinator Al Borges' pro-style offense.

On the season, Robinson's numbers are nowhere near Heisman-worthy.

He's completed 54 percent of his passes for 1,889 yards with 15 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

On the ground, he likely won't come anywhere near his total of 1,702 yards a year ago, as he's rushed for 993 yards through 11 games.

But, like Hoke, his teammates don't really care.

"I love playing for Denard, I really do," Michigan senior offensive tackle Mark Huyge said. "In the run game he can make stuff happen all the time, he can pull the ball down and run in the pass game, and when he threw that ball to Martavious Odoms in that end zone, that was a great throw.

"That's something that we need."

Robinson isn't perfect as a passer, and he probably never will be.

But his team is 9-2.

At this point in the season, does anything else really matter?

"A lot of people doubt his throwing," Odoms said. "But when he needs to make a play, he gets the job done."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Mon, Nov 21, 2011 : 12:20 a.m.

Hey, Denard did play well on Saturday and all, but can you tell us how many games it took each of them to get to #7 on the list?

Billy Bob Schwartz

Sun, Nov 20, 2011 : 6:10 p.m.

You can keep the two critics who broadcasted the game this week. I think they are so anti-Michigan they can't help themselves. As they were commenting about how Denard played with no passion and was great last year but a loser this year, I was watching Denard flying down the field and then passing beautifully and accurately. I kept wondering what game they were watching. Of course, one of them was a former coach who was mentioned as a possible next coach for ohio, and the other one was a former buckeye who has little good to say about U of M. I guess they were fed a pile of crow by the end of the game. Thanks, Denard and the rest of the team. Go Blue!


Sun, Nov 20, 2011 : 2:04 p.m.

Denard has improved and is peaking at the right time. It is good to see an article with a positve spin on Denard. I can only hope the harsh Denard critics can relax or back off just a little bit. I am sure Denard won't be perfect in our last regular season game, but he has become less erratic. I like his trend line of more consistrency and improvement. Al Borges, Denard and the offensive unit are all improving. The southern trash folks are reeeling after this home loss to PSU so this will be a fun and exciting week all around Ann Arbor...GO BLUE!!!


Sun, Nov 20, 2011 : 7:03 a.m.

The play calling and execution on offense were fantastic. More play option calls and very few designed runs for Denard. None of the double quarterback - using Denard as a decoy which hasn't worked. The perfect use of Toussaint when everyone was focused on Denard. Give the game ball to Al Borges.