Michigan snaps losing streak

Published 10:24 am Sunday, November 27, 2011

Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson (above) is forced out of bounds by the Ohio State defense Saturday. Robinson threw for three touchdown and ran for two in the Wolverines’ 40-34 victory. (Daily Star Photo/RYAN BRUNWORTH)

ANN ARBOR – It could be a Dunn deal for Michigan football coach Brady Hoke after the Wolverines snapped a seven-game losing streak to Big Ten conference rival Ohio State on Saturday by a score of 40-34 at Michigan Stadium as prep star running back Bri’onte Dunn will decide before Christmas which school he will be attending in January to represent a present for future years.

It was a good start for first and rumored to be last year Ohio State (6-6- 3-5) coach Luke Fickell’s offense as it took only six plays to find the end zone as true freshman quarterback Braxton Miller found a wide open Corey Brown for a 54-yard touchdown reception. for a 7-0 advantage.

Michigan (10-2, 6-2) would prevail though as they scored a season high 16 points in the opening stanza with a running (41 yards) and passing (26 yards) touchdown by junior quarterback Denard Robinson in between a holding call for as safety by the Buckeyes. Senior Junior Hemingway was the recipient of the reception for the score and was the first time scoring six points since Notre Dame in the second week of the season.

The Buckeyes scored in the second stanza by kicking a 45-yard field goal by sophomore Drew Basil after 10 plays and then took the lead again after a Robinson fumble with a 19-yard Miller scamper to put the scoreboard at 17-16 in favor of Ohio State.

Each team would score another touchdown before halftime as the offenses ruled in a midway 24-23 classic contest as Robinson found pay dirt from six yards with Miller again finding a receiver roaming free as senior DeVier Posey easily scored from 43 yards with just under two minutes before intermission.

Our offensive line including seniors David Molk and Mark Huyge did a tremendous job,” stated Hoke. “I told the defensive line at halftime they were knocking us off the football and challenged them with Mike Martin, Ryan Van Bergen and Will Heininger playing their last game in the stadium.”

The score was not the only close statistic as there were only 11 yards difference in yards gained as Ohio State held a 214-203 advantage, Robinson led as an individual with a 7-8 passing performance for 58 markers and ran for 82 yards on a dozen carries.

“I was out there playing for the seniors and Michigan where I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else, except to be with these guys,” remarked Robinson.

Only one touchdown was scored in the third quarter when the Wolverines regained the advantage by a score of 30-24 by moving 80 yards on 11 plays capped off with a 20-yard pass to senior Martavious Odoms. Robinson became the first Wolverine to have back-to-back two rushing and passing touchdown games in the modern era and again (last year) surpassed the thousand mark barrier in both categories.

Sophomore Wolverine punter Will Hagerup had two boots for 95 yards, but mishandled a snap late in the third quarter to put Ohio State a mere 32 yards away from taking the lead again.

After two carries, the ball was at the five-yard line and the Wolverine defense kept the Buckeyes from the end zone and Basil kicked another three-pointer to narrow the deficit to 30-27 with 12:50 remaining on the scoreboard.

“Coach (Brady) Hoke is a guy that truly bleeds Maize and Blue and really cares about all the players, so to get it for him and this program is what it is all about,” mentioned Martin.

Robinson, Hemingway and sophomore running back Fitzgerald Toussaint marched 75 yards on 10 plays with senior tight end Kevin Koger grabbing an aerial from four yards from Robinson to give Michigan the first double digit margin of 37-27 after elapsing four minutes from the clock.

“My dream has always been to catch a touchdown in this game and finally did it, which means a lot to me and my family,” said Koger, who grew up in the middle of the two schools in Toledo, Ohio. “This was the most physical game that I have ever played in and loved celebrating with teammates by running around crazy and hopefully the guys that played before us could celebrate also, because we did it for them, too.”

With just over seven minutes left, the score went back to a field goal margin as the Buckeyes went 80 yards on five plays and a personal foul penalty (first flag of game for Michigan) with senior Dan Herron going the final four yards.

The offense again moved the ball and Toussaint apparently scored from four yards, but a replay overrule neglected the score and Robinson crossed the goal line on the next play, but 25 yards worth of penalties erased that touchdown. Sophomore Brendan Gibbons had to kick a career long 43-yard field goal to put the final points on the scoreboard.

Two minutes remained for Ohio State and Miller overthrew Posey on their only chance to extend the winning streak as the Wolverines were successful on all eight of their home games, which has never been done before and Hoke became the first Michigan mentor to record at least ten victories in his initial season since Fielding Yost at the start of last century.

“The offense got in gear and did a nice job of moving the football by rushing and Denard played an excellent game,” noted Hoke. “It’s a great rivalry and you know since day one it meant a lot to me, but the joys and tears from these kids make it such an important game.”

Michigan finished with 444 yards in total offense compared to 372 for Ohio State with Robinson accumulating 170 on the ground and 167 through the air on 14-17 passing. Koger and Hemingway each caught a 26 yard pass in their final game before 100,000 plus fans.

Toussaint reached the century mark for the third straight game with 120 yards on 20 totes and went over the 1,000 barrier by 11 yards to become the first time since 1975 the Wolverines have had two in one campaign.

True freshman Desmond Morgan (Holland) had a career best 10 tackles from his linebacker position to lead the defenders.

“Coach (Brady Hoke) always says the best play in football is the victory formation on the last play and it was as it made the spring and summer workout mornings worthwhile,” concluded Hemingway.