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Robinson leads Michigan to victory

Published 12:47pm Sunday, September 5, 2010

ANN ARBOR – Sophomore quarterback Denard Robinson rushed for 197 yards – a school record for a quarterback – and one touchdown to go along with 186 yards passing and a score to lead the University of Michigan football team to a 30-10 victory over Connecticut at the Rededication of Michigan Stadium.

The Wolverines won their second straight regular-season opener by dominating the ground game with a 287-138 advantage in rushing yards for three touchdowns on 61 carries.

In his first career start at quarterback, Robinson (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach HS) carried it 29 times for the record total and went 19-of-22 passing. He also posted a 32-yard touchdown rush and a 11-yard touchdown toss.

Sophomore superback Vincent Smith (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee HS) and junior superback Michael Shaw (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison HS) were part of Michigan’s three-headed rushing attack along with Robinson. Smith had 14 rushes for 51 yards and three catches for 18 yards with two touchdowns, a 12-yard rush and an 11-yard reception. Shaw recorded 15 carries for 48 yards and a three-yard score to go along with one reception for 16 yards.

In shutting out the Huskies in the second half, the Michigan defense was led by fifth-year senior middle linebacker Obi Ezeh (Grand Rapids, Mich./Catholic Central HS), who had a team-high nine tackles and a fumble recovery. Fellow fifth-year senior linebacker Jonas Mouton (Los Angeles, Calif./Venice HS) solidified the linebacker unit with eight stops, including an assist on a tackle for loss. Junior/sophomore cornerback J.T. Floyd (Greenville, S.C./J.L. Mann HS) recorded six tackles and a forced fumble, while sophomore/freshman safety Cameron Gordon (Detroit, Mich./Inkster HS) posted five tackles, one pass break-up and blocked a Connecticut field goal in his collegiate debut.

After a quick three-and-out by Connecticut, the Wolverines started from their own four-yard line. Robinson led the Michigan offense down the field on its opening drive, completing both of his passes for 23 yards and adding 58 yards on the ground. Robinson provided two big plays — a 22-yard scramble and 16-yard pass to junior tight end Kevin Koger (Toledo, Ohio/Whitmer HS) – to put Michigan just outside the Huskies’ red zone. Four plays later, Smith finished the 14-play, 96-yard drive with a 12-yard rushing score with 7:33 remaining in the first quarter.

The Huskies drove down to the Michigan 23-yard line on the ensuing series to try a 40-yard field goal in an attempt to get their first points of the contest, but Gordon jumped high to block the line-drive kick.

The Michigan offense rewarded the special teams’ play by scoring its second touchdown in as many drives on a 32-yard touchdown dash by Robinson to give U-M a 14-0 lead. Robinson rushed for 47 yards on the drive with the scoring rush putting him over 100 yards on the ground in the first quarter. Shaw set up the touchdown run with a 16-yard reception and a five-yard rush. Shaw gained 25 total yards on the seven-play, 77-yard series.

Michigan’s defense closed out the first quarter by forcing Connecticut into its second three-and-out of the day. The Wolverines held a sizeable yardage advantage after 15 minutes of play, outgaining the Huskies 198 to 57.

A short punt by the Huskies gave Michigan the ball at the Connecticut 38-yard line with 12:27 remaining in the second quarter. Three plays into the drive, Robinson hit junior slot receiver Martavious Odoms (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee HS) with a 15-yard pass on a slant route to right for a first down. On third-and-eight at the 17-yard line, Robinson executed a designed quarterback draw for a 10-yard gain to give the Wolverines a first-and-goal situation. Shaw got the next two touches, diving across the goal line on a three-yard carry for the Wolverines’ third rushing touchdown of the first half. Connecticut cut into the Wolverines’ lead on its next two possessions with a field goal and a touchdown run for a 21-10 halftime score.

Robinson opened the third quarter by showcasing his arm rather than his legs. He completed three third-down passes for first downs to lead U-M across midfield, connecting with senior/junior slot receiver Kelvin Grady (Grand Rapids, Mich./East Grand Rapids HS) for 16 yards, Odoms for eight yards and junior wide receiver Darryl Stonum (Stafford, Texas/Dulles HS) for 12 yards. Robinson’s 11-yard scramble in the Connecticut red zone broke the Michigan record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in a single game. The record-breaking run allowed sophomore/freshman placekicker Brendan Gibbons (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS) to make a 24-yard field goal, the first of his collegiate career, to give Michigan a two-touchdown lead.

With Connecticut attempting to go for a first down on a critical fourth-and-inches situation inside the Michigan 10-yard line, Floyd forced a Huskies’ fumble that Ezeh picked up and returned seven yards. The Wolverines took advantage of the turnover and drove down the field for 89 yards in 11 plays for another score, an 11-yard reception by Smith on a screen pass from Robinson.

The scoring drive, which gave the Maize and Blue a 30-10 lead early in the fourth quarter, was highlighted by a career-long 43-yard pass from Robinson to junior/sophomore slot receiver Terrence Robinson (Klein, Texas/Oak HS) over the top of the Huskies’ defense. The Maize and Blue prevented Connecticut from cutting into its 20-point lead for the rest of the contest as the offense chewed up the clock with the running game.

Michigan travels to South Bend, Ind. on Saturday to face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The game will kick off at 3:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on NBC.

Story courtesy mgoblue.com

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