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Posted on Sat, Nov 12, 2011 : 10:29 p.m.

Michigan 31, Illinois 14: Your comprehensive guide to our coverage

By Rich Rezler


Michigan sophomore running back Fitzgerald Toussaint ran for 192 yards and a touchdown in the Wolverines' 31-14 win at Illinois on Saturday.

Melanie Maxwell I

Yes, Fitz Toussaint had a tremendous game. But there's little arguing that the Michigan football team's defense beat Illinois on Saturday.

When's the last time you could say that?

The Illini didn’t pick up a first down until three minutes into the second quarter, didn’t reach Michigan territory until the final minutes of the third quarter and finished with 214 total yards in the Wolverines' 31-14 win.

Yes, the defense won this one. And defensive coordinator Greg Mattison willingly and emotionally claimed the victory for his unit.

"We talk about it all the time, but there's a standard at Michigan, and you have to live up to that, and you're judged by it," Mattison said. "We (hadn't) come to that final point where you win a game on defense, and we said that this is our last away trip to do it. I couldn't be more proud of a group of guys." had the game covered from pre-game to post-game. Here is a compilation of game day details you can find on our site:

Post-Game Coverage

Boxscore | Big Ten standings

Kyle Meinke column: Michigan football team wins a game with defense, completing the work started by Greg Mattison.

Game story: Fitz Toussaint, defense carry Michigan football team at Illinois, 31-14.

Denard Robinson goes down with another injury, but Devin Gardner picks up the save in relief

Notebook: Red zone follies hamper otherwise dominant Michigan performance

Associated Press: Another slow start dooms Illinois in fourth consecutive loss

Photo gallery: Melanie Maxwell's favorite images from Saturday.

Video: Greg Mattison, Brady Hoke and Ryan Van Bergen discuss Michigan's 31-14 win over Illinois

Grade the Wolverines: Your chance to rate Michigan's performance on offense, defense, special teams, coaching and overall.

Game balls: They go to Fitz Toussaint, J.T. Floyd and others.

In-Game Coverage

• We strung together live updates throughout the game. Check them out here.

• And you can also revisit our always-lively live chat. That transcript can be found here.

Pre-Game Coverage

• We asked you to predict the outcome of the game. Seventy-seven percent thought Michigan would win, but just 14 percent thought the Wolverines would win by "14 or more points." The most popular choice (34 percent) was Michigan by 7-13 points.

More Scores

Eastern Michigan 30, Buffalo 17: The Eagles finish the season 6-1 at home and are one win shy of being bowl game eligible. ( story | Photo gallery)

Michigan State 37, Iowa 21: Kirk Cousins throws three touchdown passes as Spartans take a step toward the Legends Division title. (MSU coverage)

Big Ten scoreboard

Top 25 scoreboard



Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 4:23 p.m.

JT Floyd and Blake Countess are tremendous as the corners. What a difference a year makes. Out corners last year were maybe the worst in the nation. This year, maybe the best. Who'd a thunk?


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 9:49 p.m.

"We talk about it all the time, but there's a standard at Michigan, and you have to live up to that, and you're judged by it," Greg you played Illinois. Lets talk after Nebraska.

Terry Star21

Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 6:15 p.m.

The las time I could say that Rich ? Four years ago this January when our defense sacked and pushed around Tim Tebow (Heisman Winner) in our bowl game, Llyod Carr's finale. Tebow was on the ground so much (and he wasn't praying, or was he ?). That was a defense I was proud of, the kind I've known to feel comfortable and confident watching. That was MICHIGAN FOOTBALL. Sitting in the stands yesterday watching that defense was reminisce - and I'm in that zone again ! MgoBlueForTiM........I'm in the 'Michigan Defense Zone' again, feeling good !


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 6:01 p.m.

I'm conflicted on the QB issue. I don't know if it's in Gardner's best interests to START him under such high pressure of Nebraska/ohio without the benefit of having played much this season. However, DR has proven to be a turnover machine in recent weeks. Perhaps start DR, see how he's flowing, then put in Gardner without the pressure build up of the week and go from there. I don't know. I do like DR, but the mistakes have just been building over the course of the season rather than becoming less. Tough call this late in the season with our two toughest and most important games coming up.

Terry Star21

Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 6:18 p.m.

I hear ya Az...although Gardner was impressive yesterday - maybe it's time to work him in as QB, and use DRob as back, receiver or option QB ?


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 5:09 p.m.

I am tired of hearing that DR is the most exciting football player in the country. He is a total bust as a college QB. He has demonstrated that he is unable to perform against good defenses. He lacks the intelligence required for the position and is one of ther worst passers I have ever seen. They should bench him or use him in some other capacity. I don't know if Devin Gardner is the answer, but he can't possible be any worse. These coaches have performed miracles with the defense and I have high hopes that this RR created nightmare will end soon -- Denard is another RR bust!


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 9:18 p.m.

Last year? He was a total bust once Michigan got into tougher competition -- just like this year. They finished 2 - 5 in their last 7 games thanks in part to DRs lack of passing and decision making ability. Of course, this was in addition to RR's inept defense. And let's not forget, last year was capped by in inept Gator Bowl effort in which DR missed several open receivers on key plays. Mr. Denard Interception-Meister Robinson is as bad as it gets as a QB! I've seen enough; bring on DG -- he may not be the answer, but staying with Robinson is torture.


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 8:15 p.m.

Huh? Wasn't Denard the Big 10 Offensive Player of the Year last year? Wasn't it also his first year as a starting QB? I bet you thought he was a bust last year too.


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 3:39 p.m.

RudeJude I'll agree that Denard is not a "True Quarterback". He is an Atypical QB. His instinct is to run. He dosen't have pocket sense. He is being (forced) trained to go through 3 progressions and then run. I think by the time he has done that, the pocket closes, he gets nervous, the def backs read him and close in on the final reciever he choses and he is forcing the ball into double coverage too often. And how many passes have been dropped? I'm no coach, however i think they need to have him read one and go, roll him out more to give him options, give him more screen passes, (especially since everyone puts 8 in the box against him) more quick hit slants etc. Short stuff, 10 to 15 yds. get the linebackers backed up. Yes it would be awesome if both Devin and Denard could be in the game all game long. Would Denard stay for his senior year? Would we want him to transfer to Mich St or Ill or Northwestern? Last year Denard Passed for 2570 yds and 18 TD's, rushed for 1702yds and 14TD's. This year so far passed for 1709 yds and 13 TD's, and rushed for 910yds and 12TD's. He didn't get dummer or less athletic in one year. He is being asked to abandon what he does instinctfully and athletically for the benefit of the team. Hopefully it works out. I'm not convinced it's working.


Mon, Nov 14, 2011 : 1:36 p.m.

I agree! If they would give him that option, Michigan's offense would be better (and would have pulled off a win in Iowa City, too). But if they are making him stay in the pocket and solely playing a pocket-passing game, I'd rather have a guy that has the ability to be successful. Denard just isn't it. Use him as a decoy and let him run with it, while Gardner handles the brunt of the passing. Let Robinson throw deep balls on occasion (he forces the defense to pull in close to cover his running ability, opening up recievers).


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 3:03 p.m.

Here's an observation, The last three years, after a game,there would be dozens even hundreds of posts after an article for or against the coaching staff. Not so much any more. We are all more content when we win. I admitt I was nervous when we couldn't score two times in the red zone. But the defense was so dominant and didn't let Illinois back in the game. Great play by our def line and our corners! So far this year our offense is averaging 32 points a game and our defense is giving up an average 15 points a game. Still I'd like to see less of forcing Denard to sit in the pocket and see them giving him more options. Good turnaround. Go Blue!


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 2:58 p.m.

I'd like to see an offensive performance breakdown before Robinson left with injury and how it performed after with Devin Gardner. I've completely lost faith in Robinson as a true quarterback, specifically after he blindly tossed up that ball that was miraculously dropped by the Illinois player, with no Michigan receiver within 10 yards. You're a quarterback in your junior year...take the sack or throw it out of bounds. Devin Gardner should start against Nebraska and Ohio State with Robinson in as slot receiver or in a dual-halfback set alongside Toussaint, something like that. Perhaps Robinson will improve his passing ability and mature as a QB in the off-season, but Michigan will struggle offensively if he starts the next two games.


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

I argee! He is one of the worst QBs I have ever seen in college football. I say go with Gardner!


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 1:12 p.m.

good job, rich----winning is a whole lot more fun than that other thing.


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 1:09 p.m.

Can we give a shout out to JT Floyd (Defense Corner) who also had an OUTSTANDING game. Simply aMAIZEing JT!

Huron 74

Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 7:34 a.m.

I'm for Hoke, all the way! He's got the defense in top gear. He picked Toussaint, who didn't do so well at first but has picked up the pace. All of the nay-sayers only have to look back at last year....

jeff blue

Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 4:46 a.m.

GO BLUE!! Michigan was very good today -- an excellent road win. Looks as though Wisconsin will win the "Leaders"; thanks to Purdue stopping OSU. The "Legends" if far more complex, as MSU can easily lose one to Northwestern -- that would make Nebraska the possible winner, unless we help Sparty by beating NEB. In Fact the UM vs NEB game should be incredible. JEFF


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 6:11 p.m.

I would say MSU losing to Northwestern is far less likely than Wisconsin possibly losing to Penn State. I don't think it all that complex.


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 4:34 a.m.

I know nothing about this game or your coverage, but I love th pic you chose. It looks as though the ref is trying his best to throw the defensive player to the ground. Although we all know the refs NEVER help out U of M (eye roll).

Terry Star21

Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 6:21 p.m.

I agree with Don, Ref pushing defensive player into our runner for tackle - most Ref's hate Michigan, because of tradition and our best winning record.


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 4:48 a.m.

To my eye is looks like the ref is pushing the defender back into position to tackle Touissant. So the ref is REALLY helping Illinois. *eye roll*


Sun, Nov 13, 2011 : 4:44 a.m.

You caught us. We paid him off.