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Posted on Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 6:55 p.m.

Michigan football team sets offensive records in 65-21 win over Bowling Green

By Pete Bigelow


Michigan sophomore quarterback Denard Robinson and sophomore quarterback Tate Forcier sing Saturday after beating Bowling Green, 65-21, at Michigan Stadium.

Melanie Maxwell |


Michigan junior running back Michael Shaw and sophomore quarterback Tate Forcier celebrate a touchdown late in the first half Saturday against Bowling Green.

Melanie Maxwell |

Story updated at 6:50

As trainers examined Denard Robinson’s injured left knee on the Michigan sideline Saturday afternoon, quarterbacks coach Rod Smith ambled over for a talk with his star pupil.

“The first thing I said to him was, ‘Why’d you get ran down,’” Smith said. “He was laughing. He said, ‘Coach, I didn’t get ran down.’ I said, ‘Yes, you did.’”

The smile told Smith all he needed to know. Robinson was fine.

Even without him, so was the Michigan football team’s offense.

No matter who quarterbacked, the Wolverines shredded their record book during a 65-21 victory over Bowling Green in their final warm-up before Big Ten play begins next week at Indiana.

Devin Gardner and Tate Forcier both played in relief of Robinson, who accounted for 80.3 percent of the team’s total offense through the season’s first three games.

Together, the three combined to lead the offense to 721 total offensive yards, the school’s most ever against an FBS opponent.

Michigan’s 65 points represent the most in a game since the Wolverines scored 69 against Illinois in 1986. In eight trips inside the Bowling Green red zone Saturday, Michigan (4-0) scored eight touchdowns.

“I think it was pretty efficient,” Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez said in the understatement of the afternoon.

Seven Wolverines scored touchdowns. The Wolverines racked up 31 first downs and never punted. Six plays went for 30 yards or more.

Much more, in Robinson’s case. The sophomore, who has captured the attention of college football in his first month as a starter, ripped off two 47-yard runs in the first eight minutes of the game.

The first provided a textbook case in open-field running.

On a third-and-two play with 9:28 left in the first quarter, Robinson couldn’t find an opening near the left sideline, so he stutter-stepped right, broke one tackle, and then cut against the defense while running for a score that gave Michigan a 14-0 lead.

His second 47-yarder came on the first play of Michigan’s next offensive series, but it would be his last of the game. As Bowling Green defensive back Cameron Truss rode him down near midfield, Robinson’s knee twisted.

“My first thought was that he should have stepped out of bounds,” Rodriguez said. “He just tweaked his knee a little bit, and actually it took us a while to diagnose because he fell on the ball and lost his breath.”

Rodriguez said he didn’t need X-rays or other medical tests, only “ice.” He should be ready to play against Indiana next week.

Robinson finished 4-for-4 passing for 60 yards, and with five carries for 129 yards and two touchdowns.

The numbers were Robinson’s lowest in four starts this season. Considering they came in a half-quarter of work, he hardly damaged his Heisman Trophy candidacy. Still, the Wolverines’ best quarterback Saturday may have been Forcier.

After losing his starting job and spiraling down the depth chart during the off-season, the Michigan Stadium crowd of 109,933 cheered as he took the field for the first time this season midway though the second quarter.

Forcier completed 12 of 12 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown, and established Michigan’s single-game record for highest completion percentage with a minimum of 10 throws.

Jim Harbaugh held the previous high, with a 12-for-13 effort against Purdue on Nov. 9, 1985.

“It felt almost like my first start again,” said Forcier, who started all 12 of Michigan’s games in 2009.

It’s been a tumultuous ride for the much-maligned Forcier.

In the off-season, teammate Troy Woolfolk criticized his work habits. Coaches stripped the wings from his helmet as a punishment. In recent weeks, he’s endured rumors of his imminent transfer. After Saturday's performance, Forcier hopes his recent history is relegated to the past. “A lot of people have been saying I’m not staying here, but I’m here,” Forcier said. “I love Michigan. I love everything about it. I’m not going to leave. Not a chance. I love Coach Rod. I love these fans. I love Michigan football.” Starter or not, he’d be hard-pressed to not love playing in an offense that had four scoring drives of 80 or more yards Saturday, and one that has six of 90 or more on the season.

After last week’s sloppy game against UMass, that sort of performance is exactly what the Wolverines had hoped for with the Big Ten portion of the schedule ahead.

“We were pretty potent at West Virginia that last year,” said Smith, a member of Rodriguez’s staff there. “I don’t know if we had 700 yards, though."

Box score | Notebook

Pete Bigelow can be reached at (734) 623-2556, via e-mail at or followed on Twitter @PeterCBigelow.



Wed, Sep 29, 2010 : 6:40 a.m.

Wins and championships * Highest all-time winning percentage in NCAA Division I-A/FBS history (.737) * Most all-time wins in NCAA Division I-A/FBS history (881) * The most winning seasons (110) * The most undefeated seasons of teams currently competing in Division I-A/FBS (23) * One of only three schools with a winning record against every Division I-A/FBS conference

Macabre Sunset

Sun, Sep 26, 2010 : 10:29 p.m.

It does seem to lack class to address someone in a nasty manner who hasn't even posted on the item. Not really much to say about this game. It was the easiest game on the schedule and Michigan played to expectations - improved offense, not so much with the defense. Glad D-Rob is OK.


Sun, Sep 26, 2010 : 10:26 p.m.

Too right Robbie. When Tate played 3 qtrs of the season with an injury that would sit most quaterbacks for the season that doesn't apply. But crist getting lit up and being a baby about it matters. Right i know, not like he was replaced with a hall of fame super bowl winng quaterback's son... Stanford and michigan can't be compared. Plain and simple. ND was beat up by michigan, msu, and purdue before they even played a confidant loaded stanford team. Was it their qb's first road start?

Robbie Webb.

Sun, Sep 26, 2010 : 7:42 p.m.

Ohhhh, that's right, Crist was out for a little while. I forgot, I went against my own logic about key players not playing and affecting a team. Kind of like what happened the last two years, (Molk and Minor being the two big ones). Keep spinning it anyway you would like. You all had Michigan losing the first two games anyways, and now that we beat both of them, it doesn't matter because they weren't ranked. Haha! Sweet!


Sun, Sep 26, 2010 : 3:41 p.m.

The next two opponents are Indiana then Michigan State, since neither has played a team with a good defense or offence then the haters will say we have not played a good team. No matter who we play if we win or lose they will find fault, they would rather live in the dead past, then embrace the living future.


Sun, Sep 26, 2010 : 10:53 a.m.

Great offense? Who have we beaten that had a good defense?


Sun, Sep 26, 2010 : 10:46 a.m.

When you have a great offence like Michigans you can put your 2nd and 3rd string quarterback in make some adjustments and not miss a beat.


Sun, Sep 26, 2010 : 10:31 a.m.

Stanford dominated ND and ND had their starting qb in the whole game. We barely beat ND and they had their second and third string qb playing. Did anyone notice that bad UCLA team that Standford shutout beat Texas? We have played no one yet it reminds me of RR at WV where he only played 2 ranked teams a season. Standford is coached very well on both sides of the ball we need Harbaugh here.


Sun, Sep 26, 2010 : 10:05 a.m.

It was a great win for the kids yesterday and we should all be happy. However, before anyone breaks their arms patting themselves on their backs, this is BGSU we're talking about. It's one of only about 18 other teams in the FBS that had a WORSE defense than we do. Is it any wonder we trounced a team like that at home? We should put a beat down on a team like that regardless of what offense we run or who's coach. Remember 4-0 last year equaled 5-7 by year's end. Anyone thinking next week's game against IU is a given doesn't have a clue. IU is probably the best all around team we'll have faced so far this year. Chappell will have his way with our pathetic defense. While our offense can put up points, if we don't play ball possession and grind IU's defense down, we may well find ourselves on the wrong end of the final score.

Robbie Webb.

Sun, Sep 26, 2010 : 9:29 a.m.

Hahaha! Everyone PLEASE take time to read Lemansblue's comment, ''We beat up on unranked teams that aren't very good. Look at Stanford, they dominated Notre Dame.'' I guess he forgot we beat Notre Dame as well. And no, it would not be nice to have Harbaugh here. He can stay where he is.


Sun, Sep 26, 2010 : 8 a.m.

This is eerily similar to last year. Last minute win versus ND, rolling huge offensive numbers against the fourth non-conference foe (DSU and BGSU). I know everybody is praising UM offense but did you look around the Big Ten today. MSU scored 45, OSU scored 72, Wisconsin scored 70. Let's not get crazy about what we saw out there. OSU scoring 72 does not make them a great offense any more than scoring 65 against BGSU does. Next week should be a win, then the real part of the schedule kicks in. They need to be 3-1 to start the Big Ten season. Otherwise it is a failure and not really an improvement over the previous season.


Sun, Sep 26, 2010 : 7:40 a.m.

wow Blue AND Yellow whips Bowling Green.That's the stuff that champions are made of.Defense still,at very best,is suspect.If D Rob is out any length of time what then?Last year Tates performance was questionable as was/is the defense 5-7 or 6-6 So Big Housers there u have it.

Sean T.

Sun, Sep 26, 2010 : 2:04 a.m.

Very true.


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 11:28 p.m.

there are too many factors that go into college football for you to even be able to make predictions about upcoming records... what was the one thing they kept saying about the Iowa vs Zona game (not sure if they could hold up against a bigger stronger hawkeye team but what happened, they won because you cant hit something you cant catch) I seriously doubt anyone gave UCLA a chance in hell to beat Texas after losing to Standford the way they did, but THEY DID yes while the D has some holes, im willing to bet they take it as a challend and will give a better showing than what some u-m fans are expecting. while we dont have a feature back i am confident that the 4 backs they use will give enough of a variation (combined with robinson) to keep the D off balance... and i WISH you "fans" would get off this harbaugh kick... support who is here at the moment, because there still is no guarantee that there would be an equal transference of skillset to U-M (look at how ND is struggling even though they had some talent on their roster) im calling for 5-3 in the B10 Which would put them at 9-3 GREAT SEASON


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 9:44 p.m.

The offense was breathtaking. The rushing game was phenominal and the pin point passing from all 3 quarterbacks simply amazing. Seeing this offense execute made the long fields worth it. The "D" proved they were better than last week, but the punt returning needs serious work and the fine field position for the opponents after every kick off doesn't help either. Forget field goals I guess. But the defense was decent and made several stops, and as long as the offense clicks, they will play well enough to win. The kicking game is M's biggest weakness and too big of a disadvantage to overcome against the really good teams.


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 9:11 p.m.

Eryn.. are you saying that Indiana is worse than Purdue??


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 8:20 p.m.

2nd to last win for the season is in the books. No defense = no wins in the Big 10 (except against Indiana).


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 8:05 p.m.

ohiowolverine great point, I would add Michigan State allowed Notre Dame to put up 31 points in there owen house.


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 8:03 p.m.

Let's just enjoy the big big win. Though I like playing "big names" better than Bowling Green or UMass, the Michigan offense took care of business today, and were clearly coached well (for the fourth game in a row). The backups stepped right in and did not miss a beat. The receivers made plays, the backs shed blocks, the line moved. The D is a mystery--they pretty much played well and dominated except for about 3 plays, but that was enough to allow BGSU to stay in the game for a half. I hope that the defense continues to tighten up and pressure. Here, the coaching has not been so good. For those like Tater and Mitch who have argued on RR's behalf, you are right about RR's potential on offense. We are beginning to see it (though I still think he mis-used our personnel the last 2 years, especially his first year). It's exciting. But it's more like he should be an offensive coordinator. An awesome one at that. But ah, that defense....Let's just hope it continues. Kudos to everyone today.


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 7:55 p.m.

We are great because we beat up on inferior competition? We are 4-0 against unranked teams that are not very good teams. Stanford and Coach Harbaugh were really impressive on both sides of the ball they dominated ND. It would be great to have coach Harbaugh at Mi


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 7:22 p.m.

Everyone complaining about the D. OSU let E.Michigan score 20 on them. Does that mean they will get beat when Big Ten pay starts also? I thought the D looked good and will get btter each week. GO BLUE.


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 6:56 p.m.

Murrow's Ghost said the following about why U-M shouldn't have tried a field goal on 4th and 3 inside the BGSU 10 yard line when they were already up 58-21 with less than 4 minutes to play: MG-Murrow's Ghost TT=TulsaTom MG: "It was about a pointless field goal against a badly beaten team. Kicking the FG would have been rubbing BGSU's face in the mud. It would have been an insult". TT: It wouldn't have been a pointless field goal. The U-M field goal kickers need the work, especially to gain more experience and self-confidence. It was more of an insult to score another TD on a team that couldn't stop U-M all day than score a potential 3 pts by a beleaguered field goal kicker. MG: "That the play ended in a TD was not predictable". TT: Neither was it a certainty that the field goal attempt would've been made, especially if you go by the success rate up until now. MG: RichRod made the right call. TT: I respectfully disagree. MG:Good Night and Good Luck TT: Back at ya, brother.

3 And Out

Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 6:53 p.m.

I like the offense vs. opponents from lessor quality conferences who dont have the speed or skill that Big Ten defenses have to play in space...but before we start giving out candy kisses to everyone, let's see how they do in BT play at the end of the season. I do like the OL and how Greg Frey has done a great job with those guys...and our QBs look good but scheme wise...lets see how playing sideline to sideline works in the far in 2 seasons it has not. Its a finesse offense with a September oriented scheme.


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 6:46 p.m.

"it is very poor coaching" don't forget to get your jab in on the coach as usual. that's all you took away from this game??? we dident have one 3andout and the backup qb's and tb's played great.but i guess you missed that... GO BLUE...


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 6:34 p.m.

I agree with most of you guys on here. It's pretty exciting watching this offense and seeing how easily they moved the ball. The RB situation concerns me a little bit, but if Robinson is able to continue what he's doing, then maybe it won't be a big deal. Our defense is still scaring me. I don't think I'm ever going to be sold on the 3-3-5. Here's to hoping that we can just outgun at least 2-3 more opponents...


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 6:27 p.m.

It was one of those days in the B10, with UM hanging 65 on BGSU, Wisconsin and OSU both hitting 70+, and MSU scoring 45 of their own. Iowa also won 35-0. Purdue looked awful and may have lost their QB for the season, and PSU looked like PSU...solid defense and so-so offense. I'll be watching the Indiana game tonight to size them up for next week. I agree with the comments about Stanford...congrats to Harbaugh and his troops for putting an old fashioned butt whooping on the now 1-3 Irish.


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 5:44 p.m.

It was a record breaking win, glad to see the haters ejoyed the game, I thought they might have had a hard time finding something to hate about this Michigan win.

3 And Out

Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 5:42 p.m.

Whether it was for style points or is very poor coaching. That FG unit needs work any way they can. It will bite them in the BT in one of those 35-34 shootouts that they lose to a team like Purdue due to a missed FG.


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 5:26 p.m.

@ Tulsatom I couldn't agree with you more on your comment about going for it late in the game on 4th down when the outcome of the game is not in doubt. Our kicking unit needs the practice Big Time. I think RR was looking for style points when the coaches polls come out. The extra TD looks better on paper than the field goal. I was disgusted in that decision and RR has my support, but that one was not needed.


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 3:39 p.m.

wooooo hooooooo what a good win, lets enjoy this win before we start nit pickin and ripping the d... we will be fine...we will beat indiana, so 5-0 going into the state game..thats cool goooo blue


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 3:20 p.m.

This team makes me want to say wow, on both sides of the ball.

Ted Bundy

Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 3:20 p.m.

I'm not worried about the Big Ten defenses. Quite frankly, I'm not worried about any defenses, besides Michigan's defense. We stopped the run against BGSU today, but what is MSU and their trifecta of runnings backs gonna do to us? Now, sure we can score right back three times as fast as they can but still. All I want for christmas is to have an effective defense. Cause we obviously have the offense thing figured out.


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 3:16 p.m.

More like it on offense, getting everyone some playing time. Defense!! Please get better!! Go Blue!!!


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 3:15 p.m.

If M's defense is not much improved in two weeks, look for a blow-out. Offense can only be on the field so long and score so many points. I'm afraid that the Defensive coach just does not know what to do to make the necessary improvements.


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 3:01 p.m.

I'm still worried about their defense when bowling green gets 21 points. We started 4 and 0 last year and look what happened (1 win the rest of the way). The Big Ten teams are much toughher to score against and they will bleed our defense. We will be fortunate to finish with 7 or 8 wins. However, if we beat Ohio State it doesnt matter what else happens!


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 3 p.m.

The Good: Offense continues to be quite impressive. I was most pleased with the performance of the backup QBs and stable of backs. Over 700+ yards against any D-1 team is very impressive and the passing game is evolving well, also. Offensive line continues to shine. The Bad: THe defense continues to allow too many big plays and miss too many tackles. The pass rush needs to improve, also. The Ugly: Going for it on 4th down from inside the 10 with a 58-21 leasd late in the game. Why not allow one of the young field goal kickers a chance to gain some experience and confidence at a low-pressure time? It's not like the game was in doubt or anthing.


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 2:55 p.m.

a completely inexperienced bowling green team returning only a few starters and missing its true starting QB still bled michigan for 21 points. In the end it didn't matter, this time. But what happens when we have offenses of higher quality and defenses not allowing us to put up 65 points? I don't mean to take away from the win, but everyone is looking at the offense and ignoring the gaping wounds the defense is clearly showing right now. Good news, if our defense improves, id say 30% or so, we could easily win most of the games in an overrated big 10 (overrated because most of the college teams aren't all that good this year save a few).


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 2:54 p.m.

Well that was fun. Good to see that we have three QB's. Garner looks good- tentative a times, but made some good throws. And Tate -he's a gamer, looks to have complete command of the offense. And that's a good thing because Robinson is obviously going to be spending sometime on the sidelines throughout the Big Ten Schedule. Can we win with Gardner and Tate... They can score, that's for sure. But will they be able to score enough? The D is a train wreck. Will probably give up at least 30 a game from here on out. Michigan 42 Indiana 40 GO BLUE!


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 2:33 p.m.

What a great offensive show. Really glad to see tate step in and run the show. No offense to gardner who looked good to but ask yourself if were on road in big ten and robinson goes out who would u want in a freshmen or Tate who has went through it before. Anyways really glad alot of kids got to play and besides missed tackle on screen pass the defense looked good to


Sat, Sep 25, 2010 : 2:28 p.m.

Nice to round out playing time with a large portion of the roster. Any predictions for nexts weeks final score Tater (59 - 56)?