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Posted on Sun, Nov 27, 2011 : 9:21 p.m.

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson puts together game and numbers to remember and more thoughts

By Kyle Meinke


Denard Robinson put together a historic game against Ohio State on Saturday.

Melanie Maxwell |

Tom Brady accounted for three career touchdowns against Ohio State. So did Brian Griese.

Chad Henne had five scores against the Buckeyes, but needed four games to do it.

Denard Robinson? He scored five in one game, a Michigan record against the Buckeyes, regardless of position — and that's not counting the sixth he had called back.

Now that's efficiency. And historic.

The Michigan football team's junior quarterback had a game for the ages in the 17th-ranked Wolverines' 40-34 win against Ohio State on Saturday. His numbers will jump off the pages of the record book for years to come.

Provide the context in which they came — on the heels of seven consecutive losses to the Buckeyes, and a failed three-year coaching regime — and they become even more profound.

Simply: Denard Robinson had the best game of his career, in the biggest game of his career. A game that, historically, will mean more than any result of the team's forthcoming bowl game, BCS or otherwise.

How clutch was Robinson's performance? He completed all but three of his 17 passes for 167 yards, three touchdowns and no picks. He ran 26 times for 170 yards and two more scores.

And Michigan won by just six points.

The Wolverines (10-2, 6-2) have relied so heavily on their resurgent defense this year, but they were shredded by Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller. They needed the offense to deliver, and it did.

Robinson put up silly numbers to begin last year, setting a bar for himself that was impossibly high, even for him. That pressure weighed on him as the season advanced last year. As he became beat up, his impact became mitigated.

This year, Michigan coach Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator Al Borges have emphasized, and carried out, their plan to ensure Michigan's offense was not a one-man show.

Is it any coincidence that, as Fitz Toussaint has risen to prominence in the past five games, Robinson started to play his best football of the year?

Last year, as the primary (only?) focus of the offense, Robinson was most effective early in the season, against also-ran defenses. His production declined as competition picked up.

This year, his best games came against Nebraska and Ohio State — two of the best defensive teams Michigan played, and the final two games of the season.

Michigan, as a whole, has been more consistent. It is averaging 34.2 points per game, 23rd in the country. That's nearly identical to last year's production, when the Wolverines scored 34.8 points per game, 25th in the country.

The difference, though, is the team's splits against ranked teams. They average 35.1 points per game against unranked teams, good production that drops off to 29.5 points per game against the AP Top 25. Steady.

Last year? They averaged 40.0 points per game against unranked teams, and just 16.5 points per game against the top 25. Rickety.

And, of course, Michigan won its first five games last year, and lost six of its final eight.

This year, the Wolverines went 10-2. They followed their worst stretch of the season, when they lost to Michigan State and Iowa in a three-game stretch, with three consecutive wins to close the regular season — including two blowouts.

Defense is the top reason Michigan was in a position to win 10 games. But, Borges' ability to develop other offensive weapons, providing consistency — and, in the end, getting the best out of Robinson when it mattered most — is the biggest reason it won that 10th game.

The game that mattered most.

A game that forever will be linked to Robinson's legacy.

Robinson's day, by the numbers


Denard Robinson.

Joseph Tobianski |

A closer look at Robinson's historic day against the Buckeyes (a couple of which were gleaned from ESPN Stats & Info):

  • After missing on his first pass, Robinson didn't misfire again until less than 2 minutes remained in the third quarter.
  • According to the team's play-by-play chart, Robinson didn't misfire on a single rollout, which had been an issue for him this year.
  • Robinson's 82.4-percent completion percentage is his best this season. The next closest was his 78.9-perent clip against Minnesota, which finished 3-9 and had the Big Ten's third-worst defense.
  • Robinson's five touchdowns are the most by a Michigan player in one game against Ohio State.
  • Robinson's three touchdown passes tie him with Drew Henson (2000), Jim Harbaugh (1985) and Bob Chappuis (1946) for the most in a game by a Michigan quarterback against Ohio State.
  • Robinson rushed for 170 yards, third most by a Michigan player against Ohio State. It was the best rushing day by a Michigan back against the Buckeyes since Tim Biakabutuka rushed for 313 against them in 1995. His 170 yards exceeded his previous three games combined (168).
  • Robinson is the first Michigan player in the modern era to score at least two rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns in back-to-back games, and is the first Big Ten quarterback to accomplish the feat since Iowa's Brad Branks in 2002. He had two of each against Nebraska.
  • Robinson is the third FBS player since 2000 to pass for 150 or more yards, rush for 150 or more yards and account for five touchdowns in a game. The others were Vanderbilt's Chris Nickson (2006 vs Duke) and Auburn's Cam Newton (2010 vs South Carolina and Arkansas State).
  • Robinson’s first touchdown pass gave him 36 for his career, passing Tom Brady on Michigan’s all-time list. His last gave him 38, passing Todd Collins for sixth-most.
  • Robinson’s two rushing touchdowns gave him 35 for his career, passing Rick Leach for fifth-most in team history.
  • Robinson is the fourth player in NCAA history to gain 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 rushing in a season twice in his career, joining Missouri's Brad Smith, UAB's Joe Webb and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick.
  • Robinson passed former Texas quarterback Vince Young to move into 13th place in NCAA history in rushing yards by a quarterback (3,213).
  • Robinson has scored multiple rushing touchdowns in a game 11 times. He upped his career total to 36 rushing touchdowns, moving to fifth place among Michigan's all-time leaders in the category, breaking a tie with Rick Leach (34, 1975-78).

Aggressive running pays off
A final word on Robinson: The quarterback has been able to stay healthier this year in part because of a conscientious effort to avoid hits. He darted for the sidelines far more often this year than he did last year, at the behest of coaches.

That, however, was not the case against Ohio State. Robinson lowered his shoulder on several carries to pick up extra yardage, and that aggressive style appeared to pay dividends for him.

Robinson looked tentative running the ball for long stretches during the middle of the season. Is it coincidental that, in the final two games of the season — and especially against Ohio State — when Robinson had less to lose and went harder, that he began finally to assert himself in the running game?

Maybe — but maybe not.

Secondary has poor day
Robinson's heroics mean the water cooler talk this week is about the Wolverines' return to glory, and not about a secondary that cost them a shot at glory.

The unit's play was bad most of the day. It was abysmal, on occasion.

Ohio State entered the game 118th in the country in passing. For perspective, that's eight spots worse than Michigan was in total defense last year, when fans were prepared to grab pitchforks in protest.

Only Army and Navy were worse.

Yet, Braxton Miller — a true freshman — went 14-of-25 passing for 235 yards and two touchdowns. More perspective: His previous highs for completions was eight, attempts was 18 and yards was 130.

But Ohio State kept going to the pass, because it was there.

Miller also had two touchdown passes of at least 40 yards. The Wolverines had allowed just four 40-yarders all year.

And it could have been worse, if not for Miller's erratic accuracy on deep balls. He missed three incredibly open receivers downfield, including one on Ohio State's final drive that would have given it a lead.

The culprit on that one: J.T. Floyd.

Converted safety Troy Woolfolk, though, appeared to be the biggest offender. The senior, who started in front of Thomas Gordon, appeared to be the safety responsible on a 54-yard touchdown catch by Corey Brown on the Buckeyes' first drive, then again on a 43-yard touchdown catch by DeVier Posey with 1:21 left in the first half.

"We didn't play very good coverage, obviously," Hoke said when asked about the big plays during a halftime interview with ESPN. "You have to play better. If you're the free safety in the middle, you should be on top of it."

Woolfolk was the free safety on both big plays.

Michigan cycled through Gordon and Woolfolk throughout the game, but went with Gordon on the Buckeyes' final drive, when the Wolverines needed a stop and were especially trying to stop the deep play.

That should say something about where the two stand.

The bowl game probably should feature more Gordon and less Woolfolk, to shore up a defense that, at one point, had been very good at preventing big plays. That has not been the case the past two weeks.

Countess struggles for first time
Another culprit in the leaky secondary? Surprisingly, true freshman Blake Countess. He was bailed out more than anyone on bad throws by Miller, which covered up a couple times he was beat downfield by receivers.

Countess has been spectacular all season. He has a bright future. He also played like a true freshman for the first time this season.

Wolverines are second-half team
Lost in the 34 points allowed by the Michigan defense is this: It allowed just 10 of them after halftime.

The defense was much better in the second half, as it so often has been this year. The Wolverines, certainly, are a second-half team. Aiding them against Ohio State, as has often been the case this year, was third-down defense and time of possession.

Lineman Ryan Van Bergen said earlier this year there have been games in which he's played half as many snaps as he would have last year. That helps the unit to get stronger as games progress.

Against Ohio State, Michigan's defense struggled to get off the field in the first half, when it allowed 214 yards of offense, 24 points (tying a season high in the first half) and a 4-of-7 success rate on third down.

Second half, the Buckeyes were 1-of-5 on third down and doubled up in time of possession.

On the season, Michigan won the first half 203-119 and the second half 207-87 (which includes several blowouts in which reserves played the fourth quarter).

The fourth quarter was the Wolverines' best, outscoring opponents 10.1 points to 3.8 points per game (including, again, blowouts in which they eased off the gas).

Special teams starting to shine
Special teams were, uh, special for the Wolverines early in the season. And not in a good way.

The uptick in the defense's performance after the hire of Hoke did not translate to special teams early in the season. But, they have come around in recent weeks, and had another good day against Ohio State.

The most encouraging sign of all: The kick coverage unit, which was flat-out bad to begin the season, forced three fumbles in the final two games of the regular season. Nickel back Courtney Avery forced one against the Buckeyes, although it was not recovered.

Avery also picked off the Braxton Miller pass that sealed the game for the Wolverines with less than a minute left. He finished the season with two fumble recoveries, one forced and two picks, despite primarily playing only in nickel situations.

He and Gordon were two players who seemed to have a knack for creating or recovering turnovers.

Gibbons finishes strong regular season
Brendan Gibbons, obviously, is a big part of that as well. It's been said before, but deserves repeating now that the regular season is in the books.

Gibbons was 1-of-5 on field-goal attempts last year, and is 10-of-14 this year. It's a stunning turnaround, after many — including former Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez — gave up on the sophomore last year.

Open tryouts for kicking duties were held for the student body in the middle of the season. Not exactly a show of confidence.

Now, though, Gibbons has turned himself into virtually automatic within 40 yards.

He was put in a tough spot against Ohio State when Michigan, at the 1-foot line in the closing minutes of a three-point game, committed a double-penalty to move the ball back and set up a 43-yard attempt, a career long.

Gibbons drilled it, though, to make it a six-point game.

Not that you'd expect anything different from him at this point.

Hagerup has bumpy ride
The only blemish on special teams was a dropped snap by punter Will Hagerup that led to a field goal. Hoke wasn't concerned after the game.

"Obviously, (he) took his eyes off it," Hoke said. "Like I told him, I said, ‘How many snaps do you think you’ve caught over the course of your career? There’s a probability that happens, that you may drop one sometime. If you’ve caught 1,000, then you may drop one but you won’t drop the next one.’”

Still, the fact remains that after a stellar freshman season, Hagerup has not been as sharp this year. His four-game suspension to begin the season certainly didn't help matters for the sophomore.

Hidden yardage in the kick and punt games is important. Michigan often is coming up short here.

Kyle Meinke covers Michigan football for He can be reached at 734-623-2588, by email at and followed on Twitter @kmeinke.


Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Thu, Dec 1, 2011 : 4:53 a.m.

Only someone with a terminal case of Man Crush for the WCiMFH could possibly think that the offense on the field last Saturday was anything more than shadow of last year's scheme. Well, I guess there is one other potential explanation: someone entirely ignorant of the game of football might think there was no difference between the offense of 2010 and that of 2011. Good Night and Good Luck


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 10:52 p.m.

I think this season proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the shotgun spread offense WORKS in the Big 10. Rich Rod brought this offense to Michigan, recruited the right guys that make the offense "high octane", and now we're bearing the fruits of his vision. I, for one, hope that we continue to recruit QB's like Denard and Devin. THIS is the offense may of us have been longing for!

Lorain Steelmen

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 6:09 p.m.

I feel pretty good about UM's record, to date. I had predicted 11-1 or 10-2, at the beginning of the year, provided they stayed relatively injury free. That is exactly what happened, although I was mocked for being, not realistic. I felt that the msu game, because of it's being on the road, and being relatively 'early', in the development of the UM team, would be the hardest game to win. ( I expected the cheap shots, as that is a key part of Dantonio's program.) I'm a bit disappointed, but not surprised, that there is the usual anti-RR posting on here. Let's remember that RR brought these kids in, and in the case of DRob, actually encouraged DRob to stay at UM, and to 'buy into the new program, 110%'. (The exact opposite was true, when HIS predecessor, Carr, left). The truth is, that Hoke & Co. (whom I also support) were able to build on the foundation that was started here under RR, and to a much lesser extent, by Carr. Clearly this group of seniors, has shown great character! Borges, whom I 'questioned' throughout the year, has done a nice job of using the talents of DRob & the receivers, to 'open' up his normal attack. He called a great game saturday, in particular, against what I feel is a tough defense. I give the O-line coach cudoes, for bringing this unit along, so that they were able to CONTROL the osu front saturday. Our skilled players cannot perform, unless these 'big uglies' do ther jobs well. Hats off to the Oline. A key, was Borges going to the running game, in the second half, to run clock, control game tempo, and keep osu's offense on the bench. (osu did NOT score in the third quarter, and only had 10 pts in the second half.) Mattison was NOT able to get to Miller, due to the blocking of the osu line, BUT while the UM secondary struggled, the buckeyes were unable to run on UM. That's was HUGE! I think Herron ended with less than 40 yards. An awesome job by the UM 'D', overall. Finally, Hoke displayed excellent leadership throughout.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:47 p.m.

Denard was better last year, I'm proud of Al Borges for scrapping the pro style offense and running the spread option... A newer form of the option offense has emerged that is run out of a spread formation. Spread Option offenses generally run out of the shotgun formation, usually with a single running back. Depending on the quarterback's read, he will generally hand off to the running back, run the ball himself, or pass. This offense was primarily devised by Rich Rodriguez , the former head coach at West Virginia University and Michigan , and has been adopted by several other important college programs. Rodriguez's success with the spread option at WVU changed the college football landscape in the 2000s.

Matt Patercsak

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 10:09 p.m.

hopkins is a fullback, the fact that he is not in a 3 point stance does not take away from his position. brandon joe at OSU years ago did the same thing. so did BJ Askew hopkins is a fullback 100% heck, we even had Mccolgan back there when denard was in shotgun on one occasion. this is not a spread option offense. which by definition, spreads the field and uses tackling in space as its primary target. pro style has more complex schemes for lineman, is much more downhill and uses down the field timing patterns adapted to a secondary. not a QB's initial read. I dont know what is so hard to understand about this


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 8:20 p.m.

"RR used to spread the field, boxed out with the lineman and decreased traffic." Which is the right way to run it. There's a reason Denard has a lower ypc average this year, and it's not because "defenses have figured him out". You can't "figure out" speed.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

Matt, we do NOT run the read option with a fullback. Ever. Sometime with an H-back. Even when there are two backs in the backfield at the time, they are almost always both tailbacks. I don't think you know what 'pro style' nor 'spread' means. .

Matt Patercsak

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 5:29 p.m.

we use 2 running backs most of the time. toussaint and hopkins your post is confusing

Matt Patercsak

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 5:27 p.m.

youre missing the key word in "spread" option. meaning "spreading the field". we run zone reads with tight ends and often with a fullback. our guards and tackles pull and we blow people off the ball. big difference RR used to spread the field, boxed out with the lineman and decreased traffic. "shotgun" does not mean "spread". we are very much a pro style offense, but we run a lot of zone read with denard. in no way did borges "scrap" anything. he's just adapting, while keeping his schemes pro style


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

Denard in 2010: 7-6. Denard in 2011: 10-2 (so far). That's all the "better" I need.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:52 p.m.

Yeah, and destroyed Michigan.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.

People are such incredible hypocrites. On Hoke's success, people will say, "Yeah, but he did it with Rich Rod's players." Had Hoke's first season been dismal, people would be saying, "Yeah, but he was stuck with Rich Rod's players." It all seems to beg the question... "Why couldn't RICH ROD do it with RICH ROD's players?"

Matt Patercsak

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:50 p.m.

best play of the game? 4th and 1 stephen hopkins fullback dive, 3 yard gain. 1st down. the line got a massive push, the hand off was clean, the big fella went over the top and picked up a strong 3 yards by OVERPOWERING the OSU defense. that play had me fired up. times have truly changed also, for the RR slaps, i guarantee you that play would never be called under Rich Rod. the line was awful in power situations last season. i mean, we didnt even have a blocking sled! now the boys get low, bend their knees and drive. a great surge by the o-line is a result of having better leverage. which is taught by the sleds


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 4:45 p.m.

If only they had done that in the MSU game.....

Blu n Tpa

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:44 p.m.

Buck lie fans, Let's see. You get a new coach, oh, I mean SAVIOR, and you come to a Michigan website to brag. What am I missing here? Your new coach has NEVER beaten Michigan, even with a Heisman winner, playing a home game, vs an out going coach, and being heavily favored. And like Saturday's game it wasn't really that close in Orlando that day. Go enjoy your new guy. He already has the half truth telling down, now he just needs to learn where the money is hidden, who to touch for some extra cash for new players, and he good to go. NCAA might be a little bit of a bitter pill but getting all that cash, well it made him forget his family pretty darn quick, didn't it? If I'm recruiting vs Urban M, I would point out that he left Florida TWICE, quit coaching, might have health problems, and appears inconsistent. Michigan doesn't have any of those weaknesses and is a better school. Have a nice day! This is Michigan and you are not. Go Blue!

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 4:59 p.m.

To paraphrase Kipling, A family is only a family, but a good coaching job is a fortune.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:37 p.m.

Very good article. Wow, how the skeptics have been silenced, except for the odd few. Denard has come a long way this season. Michigan needed his best in order to beat ohio. It was suprised to see our secondary get torched on the long passing plays. I also noticed that the defense held ohio to only 10 points during the second half and that made the difference.


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 2:40 a.m.

Actually, in September the Buckeyes were expected to win that game. They were supposed to be a contender for the NC last winter if I remember correctly.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:24 p.m.

I am not counting Michigan out at all. UM, under Hoke, will at least be a credible opponent to The Ohio State Buckeyes, unlike when RR ruled the nest. We also had John Cooper who discounted the importance of the OSU-UM rivalry and paid the price. UM was expected to win last Saturday, we weren't. So the Buckeyes are quite satisfied, though disappointed. We are quite confident that Urban Meyer and his team will be able to handle Hoke and his team. At least the rivalry will have some fire under the pot.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:18 p.m.

Enjoy your first victory in eight years over The Ohio State Buckeyes. Another decade long drought is on the horizon for the Big Blue and her admirers. News is just in that Urban Meyer has agreed to become the next Buckeye coach. When you maze and blue folks come down to The Ohio State University next year, you will not find a wounded Buckeye team waiting for you. Think about it. Enjoy your victory for it may be your last for a while.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 11:45 p.m.

"When you maze and blue folks come down to The Ohio State University next year, you will not find a wounded Buckeye team waiting for you. " I guess in Columbus, "wounded" means playing with players who did not get caught cheating. OSU cannot beat Michigan straight up, unless you cheat. Enjoy your 6-6 season, and enjoy the upcoming sanctions against your program.

Billy Bob Schwartz

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 4:55 p.m.

Let's see: UMeyer had 30 of his men arrested (that's arrested) during a six year period at Florida. There might be a certain type of player who would like that reputation. Many dad's might not. I can't wait to see where you guys go here. It could be very amusing for the Michigan family. The only real downside is that you are Big Ten, so it makes the conference look bad.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

Since 1988: the UM-Ohio record is: 12-11-1 (if I do my math correctly). 1969-1978: UM-Ohio was 5-4-1. 1979-1987: UM-Ohio was 4-5 I think. That seems like pretty matched up teams over decades. Don't count on an Urbanization of this rivalry.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:39 p.m.

Michigan will do well against Urban Meyer ( an ohio coach with the initials "UM.") A Michigan team has never lost to an Urban Meyer team, and that includes Florida and their All-Universe quarterback, Tim Tebow. You had better get used to ohio losing to UM since our defense will only get better and DRob will be back next year. We have one of the top 2 recruiting classes coming in next year. And we expect the recruiting classes to be in the top 5 every year after that. You had better be wary of the NCAA sanctions coming. Those could cripple your team for many years. While the offenses don't rise to the level of Penn State, you could lose scholarships and bowl appearances for several years. Besides, what top recruit in his right mind would want to suffer punishment for the transgressions of Tressel, Proyer and others? If I were you I'd hold the sour grapes until you know what's going to happen.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:41 p.m.

Don't get too cocky about next year. I am glad you think Urban Meyer will be the second coming. Keep up with high hopes because you certainly will be dissappointed when your team loses a few more games next year. Don't count Michigan out, either.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 1:31 p.m.

Old Bo ball fans are not going to like this comment. The era of 3 up the middle and punt may well be over. I have too believe even with the season of change we can believe in....that is Hoke N Change. Coach Hoke has seen something he may not have considered. A stature in the pocket QB, might not be the future. Blue has that beef up front, BUT, Denard was the dynamic compound. Even though he was told too stand there.....STAND RIGHT THERE and pass... During the OSU game, Before he tossed a TD pass.....he was standing in the pocket....Even Speilman was saying take off Denard......then he whips the pass for a TD. Having a QB that freezes at least two defensive Denard does.... This could be the future. Hoke is a Defense man. He can afford another Denard in a couple of yrs. The next dynamic U-M QB will be a little bigger, but, he'll have some crazy legs attached to him. Having Denard stay....and say he's SO Glad he stayed. Those crazy legs won the game of the year in the big 10,11,12......Just listen to some radio station that calls it's self 'The Ticket'..... MS WHO

Blu n Tpa

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 1:16 p.m.

DRob did in the last two games what a lot of people, at times including me, thought he was unable to do. Throw the touch pass or the deep ball, not counting the "jump ball" deep passes, successfully. The touch pass to the tight end vs osu was beautiful. The deep endzone pass vs UNeb was a spear through the heart of that defense. Now all he has to do is be more consistent and he will achieve the status reserved for players like Woodson and Howard. And he doesn't need to win any award to get there. We will know and he will know who was the best QB to ever play that position at Michigan. He is Michigan. TiM Go Blue!


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 1:03 p.m.

The article states that we scored 34.8 points per game in 2010, but according to the NCAA stats page we scored 32.8 PPG. <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;rpt=IA_teamscoroff&amp;site=org&amp;div=IA&amp;dest=O</a> We actually scored MORE points this year than last year, especially against B1G teams with good defenses. Great year Blue !


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 7:33 a.m.

Just a quibble: according to most football sources, the proper term is Nickelback, not &quot;Nickel Back.&quot; The term results from the popular use of &quot;nickel&quot; (a base metal) when talking about U.S. and Canadian 5-cent coins. English is one of those languages which uses compound words to make a new word. Compound words: bond the two words into one. For those new to football: a nickelback is the added (fifth) defensive back sometimes used against passing attacks. Normally, there are four such backs. Other than that quibble: this is a very good assessment of the Wolverines' Team 132. My own take during the game: Michigan was unable to put Ohio away. This, actually, surprised me and I realized it was the (unusual) letdown in pass defense early on. I'll say this: I came away just as excited as any Michigan fan and truly feel admiration for this team and its coaches. But - that last pass deflection and interception should never have been necessary. Ohio came within one pass of winning that game. What would we be talking about if Ohio's last drive had succeeded and Michigan lost its 8th-straight against them? I never want to be that close to that much disappointment again. My personal thanks to Courtney Avery. Michigan fans owe you, big time.

Blu n Tpa

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 1:21 p.m.

OK I'm call &quot;guibbling&quot; on your &quot;quibble&quot;. As far as the game, did you expect osu to just roll over? Giving up the long ball early gave them the idea that they were never out of it, and that turned out to be true. Did I like that? No way, but it did make the victory that much sweeter and for that I am truly thankful. TiM Go Blue!


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 4:39 a.m.

As one who has been quite negative about Denard because of his erratic passing and poor decisions, I must admit that he put up a remarkable performance against ohio. I never doubted or questioned his running ability and instincts, but wondered whether he belonged as a QB. I think he proved me wrong -- very wrong! He has come a long way, which is a testament to his coaches and his ability to learn. Regarding the above comments about RR, he would have had, at best, another 7 - 5 season. His lack of focus on defense and his inability to understand that there is a time to abandon the no-huddle read option and instead play a little ball control was and will continue to be his undoing. His unjustified ego (as demonstrated by his recent self serving comments) will not permit him to learn from his mistakes. I am looking forward to a great bowl game and an exciting 2012 with this great coaching staff and the improved talent in the pipeline for next year! Go Blue!!!


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 4:06 a.m.

&quot;Does anyone realize that all RR had to do was hire a defensive coordinator? We could have looked like this the last couple of years. I am sure our offensive stats were better under RR, if we added a defensive coordinator no telling how good we could have been.&quot;- Eric If you're asking me, I say baloney. First the obvious, RR DIDN'T hire a good DC, in fact, the D got progressively worse in each of his 3 years. The HC takes the blame for that, period. I have to ask the rhetorical question to you: WHY didn't he hire a good DC?And one more quick rhetorical question for RR groupies: why are the failings of his teams always on the COORDINATORS, but the (perceived) strengths of his teams nothing but a testament to his greatness? I never hear any of you talking about what a great job Calvin MaGee did with the O. About that great O. First your certitude that the UM offense was better under RR (actually, you said &quot;stats&quot; which is interesting) is thoroughly debunked by the well written article above. RR's team NEEDED to score 40 + points to beat teams like Indiana and UMass (plus recover the onside kick). This team can score 40 against OSU (I know you think they're bad, but ask Wisconsin ) and Nebraska. RR's offensive juggernaut averaged 14 against tough competition last year and, remember, that is skewed a lot by the 67 in multiple overtime win against bowl bound Illinois. To me, the definitive number about RR's offense is 24. Total points in 3 games against OSU. Many people, like me, thought RR would be successful at UM. He wasn't. There is no rational basis for assuming he would have done as well as Hoke did this season, much less denigrating by implication Hoke's success. RR failed miserably by any football related measure. Those of us who thought he would win at UM were wrong. Why is that so hard for some to accept?


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 7:57 a.m.

Yours is one of the best summary beat-downs of RR and his fan base I've every read. Good job! And I'm with you on being one of RR's early supporters. I'm sure you agree: the evidence kept piling up in years #2 &amp; #3 until it was overwhelming.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 4:13 a.m.

&quot;There is no rational basis for assuming he would have done as well as Hoke did this season&quot; But there's plenty of irrational reasons ... and irrationality is the fuel that runs the MCC engine.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:49 a.m.

Eric--maybe you forgot the last 5 games of 2010...or maybe you don't remember Denard &amp; Co. playing RR ball against tosu and scoring a grand total of 7 (yes...right about one touchdown) points in 2010, or maybe you overlooked this quote from the article: &quot;The difference, though, is the team's splits against ranked teams. They average 35.1 points per game against unranked teams, good production that drops off to 29.5 points per game against the AP Top 25. Steady. Last year? They averaged 40.0 points per game against unranked teams, and just 16.5 points per game against the top 25. Rickety. And, of course, Michigan won its first five games last year, and lost six of its final eight.&quot; But hey, its not too late for you to switch to rooting for AZ....maybe RR can schedule New Mexico, Utah State and Texas El Paso to run up a few offensive numbers before USC, Stanford, Cal and Oregon squash his spread!!


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:29 a.m.

Oh brother Eric, don't get me started. That's a bunch of baloney and you know it. Don't make me or any number of posters have to explain how wrong you are on some points you just made. I'm gonna let it go this time, but if I have to, trust me, I will. It's just been done so many times that we're tired of having to correct guys like you, go be an AZ Fan if you love the WCIMFH that much and let me know how it works out for you.

Blu n Tpa

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

I agree. Let him go and let it go. We have what we need and the results to keep us happy as we watch Michigan move forward. To quote the WCiMFH, &quot;The past is the past&quot;, so let's just leave it there. TiM Go Blue!


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:50 a.m.

&quot;go be an AZ Fan...&quot; I'm opening up a grief counseling office here in Tucson. They're going to need it in a year or two.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:14 a.m.

Basically, Denard Robinson just owned Ohio State. GO BLUE!


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:12 a.m.

I've said earlier this year that in the future, we will look back on Denard Robinson in the same special way we look back on Anthony Carter, Desmond Howard, and other special talents (above and beyond the regular super stud football players). This game will cement that legacy, and it is unbelievable that he has surpassed Tom Brady's stats in the same amount of playing time (2 years). Also unbelievable is that this year's offensive stats outpace last year's stats. One editing error above: Vince Young's last game in college was against USC and not Michigan, in the Rose Bowl/championship game. Vince Young's last game as a sophomore--the one that got him noticed on the national stage--was in the Rose Bowl against Michigan where he lit us up for 192 or so yards of rush offense. That game was exciting and Michigan just barely lost, but Young had another year of college after that. (The good news follow up: Tom Brady beat Young today in Philadelphia, a little late Michigan retribution LOL)

Larry Weisenthal

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 6:22 a.m.

Brady had to split time with Drew Henson. Lloyd was afraid Drew would leave for baseball, which he did, anyway. What might have been, had Brady had four years of starting, like Chad Henne.

Kyle Meinke

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 4:38 a.m.

heartbreak, you're right. Thanks for noticing. I'm making the correction now.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:10 a.m.

Does anyone realize that all RR had to do was hire a defensive coordinator? We could have looked like this the last couple of years. I am sure our offensive stats were better under RR, if we added a defensive coordinator no telling how good we could have been. Sure, our schedule this year may have been the weakest in our programs history (8 games at home, and no Wisconsin or Penn State), and the only road games we played we lost (besides NU and ILL). A bad OSU team put up 34 points against us, and MSU keeps abusing us like they are our parent. Let's not get ahead of ourselves, Hoke maybe a good coach, but we are doing this with RR guys, a similar offense to what RR would run, and a defensive coordinator.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 8:34 p.m.

blueMaize_N_SD: &quot;I don't agree. It is not the same offense. Michigan is not a pure spread-option offense. It is a blend of west-coast and spread-option.&quot; West-coast you say? What elements of the west-coast offense did you see on the field this year? You don't know what defines the west-coast offense, do you?


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 8:28 p.m.

And of course we had a weaker schedule this year. We played Nebraska, sure, but we also got to play Minnesota. We didn't have to play Wisconsin or Penn State, Iowa is nowhere near as tough as they were last year, Illinois was better last year, and we beat the worst Ohio State team in a decade. Not to mention we had EIGHT games at home this season. To just look at the names and say our schedule was just as tough this year is ridiculous.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 8:24 p.m.

I think it's funny when people talk about how important time of possession is. Here's a clue for the uninformed: higher time of possession comes from having a better defense, not a better offense. Points per possession are more important than how long each possession is. Oh, and stop with the &quot;Higher time of possession wears down a defense&quot;. No. Total plays run wears down a defense.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:18 p.m.

Eric, the reason the first Defensive coordinator was fired is not because he couldn't coach defense. He was fired because he opposed using RR's god awful 3-3-5 defensive alignment. The better running teams in the Big 10 (I refuse to use that stupid logo) shredded that defensive scheme. That D coordinator went on to Syracuse and had a top 20 defense. GRob, RR's 2nd D coordinator did as the boss ordered. He ran that awful defensive alignment. Please note that during those 3 years, when UM defense ran a 4 man line there was success. However, RR wanted the 3-3-5 and demanded it be played. To respond to your statement that all we needed was a D coordinator I suggest that anybody would have failed in that system under those circumstances.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:22 p.m.

...&quot;but we are doing this with RR guys&quot;...Agree with you. The difference is how well this coaching staff has done with these players. Please; the weaker schedule arguement simply does not work. We did beat a good Nebraska team in place of either WI or Penn State. Last point; you will see the light as many folks who were very skpetical earlier this season, but, hey, follow your own star.

Blu n Tpa

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 1:38 p.m.

Eric, would you care to address the difference in last years' special team's play and this year's performance? Please pick one thing that last year's kicking game was better in than this years! I thought JGallon was awful last year and wanted Dileo back there this year. But guess what? It wasn't JG fault, it was the lack of coaching. Same with the kickers. Same with the coverage teams. Same with....... But the track record of those who supported the WCiMFH is to ignore the facts, place unfounded support and trust in &quot;next year&quot; and tell everybody else they are wrong. Well if I'm wrong, I'm loving it. 10-2 10-2 10-2 First year Coach Hoke won as many BT games as your guy did in 3 years. Won 3.3333 times the games in the first go around. This staff and team BEAT O LIE O STATE!!! By the way, if you were a great DC would you have taken the job if the WCiMFH came calling after the 2010 season? Neither would anyone else. TiM Go Blue!


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:49 a.m.

&quot;Does anyone realize that all RR had to do was hire a defensive coordinator?&quot; And yet he did not. What does that say about the man?


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:43 a.m.

I don't agree. It is not the same offense. Michigan is not a pure spread-option offense. It is a blend of west-coast and spread-option. The previous three years as has been pointed out time and again Michigan has torn up the lesser talent, but they could not keep up with B1G talent. The spread-option athlete is skilled yet small and fragile. They have to be quick. Well those athletes get knocked around the carpet like a pin ball. This is why my opinion is that UM may not be the right coach for Ohio. I don't think a pure option will work in the B1G. You need more options. We will see. You may remember is that one of Hoke's missions was to have his players put on weight over the summer. They all hit the gym and put on weight to get stronger. Results. I wanted to believe that RR could make it work with a good DC, but his offense is suspect in the B1G and he didn't know enough people to bring in the right DC else he would have done so.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:40 a.m.

RR slaps are ridiculous. If defense were important to him he would have got it right with the first or second hire. What head coach gets to fire two d-coordinators!?!?!?!?!? Its absurd. The offense last year put up numbers on nobodies!!! Wake up. The program is in much better hands now.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:18 a.m.

Eric: With a similar schedule to last year (except no Wiscy and PSU), our offiensive performance improved dramatically against top tier talent (at least Big 10 top tier, not national). Our second half performances improved dramatically, and most importantly, time of possession improved. Your favorite coach was actually quoted last week at Arizona as saying that the huddle is a waste of time. Well, that strategy would have likely lost us the game yesterday at OSU not to mention put our defense in bad situation after bad situation this year. Clearly, Hoke is a much better HEAD COACH than your guy, and manages the team much better. He understands MIchigan's needs much better and knows how to maintain their focus and performance. Ohio is not just another game; It is The Game. He doesn't even allow red in the football building, as opposed to your coach who wore red wristbands 2 years ago (a small but very symbolic thing). Adjustments? Night and day this year compared to last 3. Let's give credit where it is due. Hoke and his staff are much better leaders and managers of this team and got way better results in year one, with more to come.

Larry Weisenthal

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:45 a.m.

I winced when he dove over the line for a first down. But no one can ever say that Denard Robinson fails to give 100%. Whatever the heck it means to be a &quot;Michigan Man,&quot; Denard fits the job description.

Kyle Meinke

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 4:37 a.m.

DonAZ, I agree completely. Not a huge fan of the whole &quot;Michigan Man&quot; thing, but I am of being a model for unselfish play and for putting the program ahead of oneself. That's Denard, as far as I gather from talking to him and his teammates. Like I said, he's not perfect (and I really think that's part of the charm), but he's a perfect for this program at this time. Be happy he's yours!


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:55 a.m.

@Kyle -- &quot;but he's a perfect teammate. Puts the program before himself.&quot; You no doubt saw the post-game press conference with Hoke. He spoke with misty eyes about how he saw the transformation in his team in just that area -- putting others and the program in front of themselves. Personally I never put much stock in the *label* &quot;Michigan Man.&quot; But I put tremendous stock in the philosophy and outlook embodied by Hoke and a long line before him. Commitment, excellence, devotion, teamwork. Hoke doesn't just mouth the words, he means it. Every bit of it.

Kyle Meinke

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:07 a.m.

Larry, &quot;Whatever the heck it means to be a &quot;Michigan Man,&quot; Denard fits the job description.&quot; I like that! &quot;Michigan Man&quot; is such a formless thing, meaning something different to each person. But, the fact he's stayed, and stayed to play in a system that isn't ideal for him, and has been asked to share the ball (meaning, diminished stats), and does it all with a smile on his face and 100-percent effort ... I mean, he's not a perfect player, but he's a perfect teammate. Puts the program before himself. I guess that's a pretty good definition of a Michigan Man.

1st Down

Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:44 a.m.

Nice analysis Kyle, lots to think about there. Is Denard Robinson the best dual-threat NCAA QB of all time?


Tue, Nov 29, 2011 : 2:34 a.m.

No, he isn't. Cam Newton comes to mind as bing better, and I hevn't even thought about it that long. But, he is pretty fun to watch and competitive.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:48 p.m.

I did it, I beat Ohio... Denard was better last year, I'm proud of Al Borges for scrapping the pro style offense and running the spread option... A newer form of the option offense has emerged that is run out of a spread formation. Spread Option offenses generally run out of the shotgun formation, usually with a single running back. Depending on the quarterback's read, he will generally hand off to the running back, run the ball himself, or pass. This offense was primarily devised by Rich Rodriguez , the former head coach at West Virginia University and Michigan , and has been adopted by several other important college programs. Rodriguez's success with the spread option at WVU changed the college football landscape in the 2000s.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 2:44 a.m.

Narddawg was ballin' all day. Best game of his career so far!! I wonder how the offense will look next year? Will they continue to push for the West Coast-prostyle or do more of the read-option stuff we saw in the last three games? Here's hoping for more of the latter.


Mon, Nov 28, 2011 : 3:10 a.m.

My guess is Borges will continue to find out where the top-side potential is for Robinson as a pocket passer with a wicked ability to run up gaps if given to him.