Michigan's kicking woes continue, a record-setting day for Denard Robinson and more
Lon Horwedel | AnnArbor.com
On Monday, Rich Rodriguez declared his Michigan football team's kicking competition wide open.
He said he would not make a decision between redshirt freshmen Seth Broekhuizen and Brendan Gibbons until Saturday's pre-game.
All week, Broekhuizen proved himself, making him Rodriguez's option in a kicking game that is shaky at best. But after Broekhuizen clanked a 30-yard field goal attempt from the center of the field off the right upright, Rodriguez made a change.
"That ball was in the middle of the field, and I don't know if I have seen him miss a kick in the middle of the field in practice in a month," Rodriguez said Saturday after a 48-28 loss to No. 6 Wisconsin.
Trailing 7-0 early in the second quarter, Michigan reached the Wisconsin 13-yard line, looking to match the Badgers' early touchdown. When Denard Robinson rolled out to his right, but missed Vincent Smith, Broekhuizen entered for a 30-yard attempt.
When his kick bounced off the upright and dropped to the ground, the Wolverines' first chance at points disappeared. The missed field goal attempt dropped Michigan's season success rate to 4-for-13.
Wisconsin took advantage, using a 25-yard Philip Welch field goal and a Montee Ball 27-yard touchdown to build a 17-0 lead.
Ball added a second touchdown run - this time on a 61-yard James White scamper - to push its lead to 24-0.
The early miss ended Broekhuizen's day. Punter Will Hagerup handled Michigan's kick-off duties and Gibbons kicked all four of the Wolverines' second-half extra points. Even those weren't up to standard.
"They looked a little bit low, and one of them might have been tipped," Rodriguez said. "So we'll go back to the drawing board there."
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
With a 12-yard run early in the third quarter, Robinson established an NCAA single-season rushing mark for quarterbacks. Robinson ran for 121 yards against the Badgers, running his season ground tally to 1,538 yards. He broke a mark set by Air Force's Beau Morgan, who ran for 1,494 yards in 1996.
Robinson also became the first quarterback in NCAA history to run and pass for at least 1,500 yards in a single season.
Afterward, Robinson wasn't interested in milestones.
"That doesn't mean anything to me right now," he said. "We're just getting ready to play Ohio State."
Records are meant to be broken
Michigan finished the year drawing 783,276 fans to Michigan Stadium, an average of 111,897 per game. The average attendance mark is an NCAA record, breaking the previous standard - also set by Michigan - of 111,025 in 2004. Saturday's game attracted 112,276, which marked the 230th straight game the Wolverines played in front of at least 100,000 fans.
Saturday was also a red-letter day for Wisconsin, which successfully knocked off the Wolverines, Ohio State and Iowa in the same season for the first time in school history. It also marked the Badgers' third consecutive win away from Camp Randall Stadium, which hasn't happened since 2006. With five rushing touchdowns against Michigan, Wisconsin reached 40 scoring runs for the season, breaking the previous mark of 38 set in 1974. Saturday's 48-point offensive output was the second time the Badgers scored more than 40 against Michigan. Wisconsin scored 45 last season in Madison.
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
Saturday's game marked the last home game for 21 Michigan seniors, including eight fifth-year seniors. Greg Banks, Perry Dorrestein, Obi Ezeh, John Ferrara, Mark Moundros, Jonas Mouton, Adam Patterson and Stephen Schilling were escorted across the field by their parents.
As they passed under the M Go Blue banner one final time, they reached up and touched the mid-field landmark, as did some of the parents. Ferrara made the trek on crutches, having missed the majority of the season with injuries.
Although the past two seasons haven't gone as he would have hoped, Schilling said he will leave Michigan with no regrets.
"I committed to the school - not to a coach or anything else - and I got to play at Michigan," he said. "Coaching changes happen, and we've had some down years - it's not what I expected, but I love this school, and I'm hoping to go out with a couple of wins."
Don't ask about 2008
Wisconsin coach Bret Bielema referenced the Badgers collapse in Ann Arbor two years ago, when his team took a 19-0 lead into halftime and turned it into a 27-25 loss, often in the past week.
Yet when Wisconsin led 24-0 this year entering halftime, Bielema declined to go with the easy motivational ploy.
"None," Bielema said when asked how often he brought up 2008 at halftime.
He didn't need to. Wisconsin's players already had it on their minds.
"No one had to say it this time," senior offensive lineman Gabe Carimi said. "We all knew it, all knew we had to keep on going."
Wisconsin did, scoring 24 points after halftime.
AnnArbor.com reporter Michael Rothstein contributed to this report.