Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson leaves with dizziness, records fall and other notes
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
Rich Rodriguez has maintained all season that he has multiple quarterbacks capable of leading the Michigan football team.
Michigan's 67-65 triple overtime victory over Illinois on Saturday provided more evidence to back up to Rodriguez's confidence.
Sophomore Tate Forcier rallied the Wolverines after starter Denard Robinson left the game in the third quarter after taking an apparent helmet-to-helmet hit.
Rodriguez said Robinson experienced dizziness and had a headache on the sidelines after absorbing the hit that he took on a quarterback keeper.
Michigan trainers spent several minutes attending to Robinson, who threw for a career-high 305 yards before leaving the game. They told Rodriguez of Robinson's symptoms, leading Rodriguez to turn to Forcier.
"Certainly for his safety, you're not going to put him back out there," Rodriguez said. "I'm not a doctor, so I can't tell you where he is, but he had a smile on his face and he was talking, but obviously, you're going to be precautionary.
"Anytime you get hit there and you've got some headaches, you're going to watch that."
After fumbling on his first play from scrimmage, Forcier rallied, completing 12 of 19 passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns. His 9-yard touchdown pass to Junior Hemingway forced the third overtime.
The Wolverines routinely rotate quarterbacks in practice, keeping Michigan's receivers with Robinson and Forcier.
Forcier, who started all 12 games as a freshman, left the field pumping his fists, relishing a win that made the Wolverines (6-3, 2-3 Big Ten) bowl eligible for the first time under Rodriguez.
"I'm just so proud of our team," Forcier said. "These seniors they earned it, and I'm so happy we’re going to a bowl game finally. I’m so happy for our team, so proud of the way they played. Our O-line, our receivers, our defense stepped up when it had to and we won the game."
Strike up the band In the midst of one of the crazier Michigan football games in the modern era, the Michigan marching band matched the football team.
Using a Wizard of Oz theme that had a complete skit with the halftime performance, the band spelled out the script "Ohio" of rival Ohio State and then had it switched to spell ‘Oh No!’ a second later.
The performance included a Brutus the Buckeye impersonator, it had a wicked witch trying to dot the "I" in Ohio. The only thing that kept that from happening was a Michigan tuba player knocking the witch out with Ohio State's traditional thrust of the horn's bell.
Oh, and it was complete with Dorothy, the Cowardly Lion and the crew galloping through the entire band before skipping up the mid-field tunnel. Been there, done that As Michigan and Illinois reached its third overtime Saturday, most Wolverines players admitted they had never experienced anything like it.
Senior linebacker Jonas Mouton was the exception.
"I actually played in a three overtime when I was a young kid, and we ended up losing that game," Mouton said. "Like Pop Warner league.
"It's definitely different, but I just thought about it. Once we went into the third overtime, I was just like, 'Man, it’s like the old days.' But we're going to win today."
Mouton finished with a game-high 14 tackles and helped provide pressure on the two-point conversion attempt Illinois couldn't complete and that ended up sealing the game for Michigan.
"I’m excited to be able to go to a bowl game this year," Mouton said. "Every win is an opportunity for us to go to a better bowl game." Protecting the quarterback Taylor Lewan has racking up penalties in almost every game, from personal fouls to false starts to holding calls.
It happened again on Saturday, as a Lewan hold cost Michigan a good chance at a touchdown. The redshirt freshman has his reasons for doing it. On the particular play - one that nullified a Jeremy Gallon catch down to the Illinois 2-yard line.
But Lewan had slipped on the play and it allowed his man to beat him. His reasoning?
"I'd rather get a holding penalty," Lewan said. "Than get my quarterback hurt."
Record-setting The 132 points that Michigan and Illinois combined for set a record for a Big Ten conference game. The previous mark was set in 1902 when Michigan and then-Michigan Agricultural College (now Michigan State) scored 119 points in a 119-0 Wolverines victory. The point total is 14 points shy of the all-time Big Ten record when Minnesota and Grinnell (Iowa) College combined for 146 points.
The 62 points scored in the first half also set a school record as did the 49 points scored in the second quarter. The previous record for points in a half (55) was set against Chicago in 1939 and in a quarter (39) was set against Penn State in 1995. Michigan's 419 passing yards established a school single-game record with the previous mark (396) coming in 1999 against Michigan State.
The Wolverines' 67 points was the second most Illinois ever allowed. Michigan scored 70 points against the Illini in 1981. Similarly, the 65 points surrendered by Michigan represented the most it has ever given up.
"I've been in triple overtime before," Rodriguez said. "It was in the 40s - but not in the 60s."
This and that Sophomore Teric Jones was taken off the field on a cart after sustaining an apparent knee injury on a kickoff return. Replays showed that teammate Floyd Simmons was blocked into him, leading to the injury. ... Michigan is 6-1 in overtime games and 3-0 at Michigan Stadium. Saturday's game marked the second time Michigan has gone into triple overtime - the first being the Wolverines' memorable win over Michigan State in 2004. ... Running back Michael Shaw matched a career-best with three touchdowns. He also scored three times earlier this season against UMass. ... Roy Roundtree's 246 recording yards set a single-game record, breaking Jack Clancy's mark of 197 set in 1966.
AnnArbor.com sports reporters Michael Rothstein and Rich Rezler contributed to this report. Jeff Arnold covers sports for AnnArbor.com and can be reached at (734) 623-2554 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeffreyparnold.