Alternate Ending

Submitted by Ace on November 17th, 2012 at 4:07 PM


Upchurch

In a way, it was fitting.

Denard Robinson's Michigan Stadium career did not begin according to script. It started with a fumbled snap, then became something magnificent.

It ended with him unable to throw a football, but still very able to take the Big House's collective breath away.

Robinson trotted out onto the field with the starters not as a quarterback, but as a tailback, taking a handoff from understudy Devin Gardner for three yards. Over the course of the game, he'd accumulate 98 rushing yards on 13 carries and add two receptions—the first of his career—for an additional 24 yards, lining up everywhere from quarterback to wingback to receiver in a 42-17 victory. While it wasn't the ending anyone had hoped for, there was at least still a little of the Denard magic left, especially on a 40-yard run to end the first quarter that featured an ankle-breaking juke of Iowa safety Tanner Miller.

Once again, the star was Gardner, who accounted for six touchdowns—coming on Michigan's first six possessions—with three through the air and three on the ground. Iowa's soft zone defense looked helpless in its attempts to stop the Wolverine passing game; Gardner finished 18-of-23 for 314 yards, three touchdowns, and an interception, with all three scores meeting little Hawkeye resistance. Jeremy Gallon had a career-high 133 receiving yards on five receptions, while Roy Roundtree turned in a second consecutive stellar performance with five catches for 83 yards and a touchdown.

Al Borges used the threat of Gardner and Robinson to give Iowa's defense fits, perhaps giving a glimpse of what's to come in Columbus next week. A triple(!) reverse to Denard unfortunately was called back due to a hold. The threat of a Denard jet sweep opened up a cavernous hole for a Vincent Smith throwback screen, which the senior back took in for a fitting senior day touchdown. The most interesting wrinkle met a most unfortunate end when Fitzgerald Toussaint suffered a gruesome leg injury after taking an option pitch from Robinson.*

The defense gave up a score on Iowa's second drive before stiffening up, allowing just 221 yards in the final three quarters as an endless array of dumpoffs to tight ends and running backs couldn't sustain any real threat. Greg Davis was Greg Davis, Greg Mattison was Greg Mattison, and that went as expected. With Desmond Morgan out with an undisclosed injury, James Ross may have established himself as the weakside linebacker of the future, finishing with 12 tackles (9 solo) while showing advanced instincts and sideline-to-sideline speed.

Aside from the pregame festivities and quarterback-related dramatics, it was a mundane beating of a hapless Iowa squad. That much, at least, went according to plan. And while Denard Robinson's Big House finale may not have had a fairytale ending, there are worse ways to go out than with a few more virtuoso runs and a resounding victory.

Of course, Robinson's story isn't over yet. In Columbus, the stage is set for one final twist.

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*There's no official word on Toussaint's injury except that he's currently undergoing surgery (via Hoke), but the ESPN replays and this photo from Eric—WARNING: GRAPHIC—tell an ugly story. Best wishes for a speedy recovery, Fitz.

Comments

MGlobules

November 18th, 2012 at 8:17 AM ^

I argued last year that Rutgers made sense, not in terms of present footprint but future potential. And Maryland and Rutgers extend the B1G in a sensible, complementary way to the mid-Atlantic, bringing in the DC and NY areas. Pretty clean catch. Both fairly decent AAU institutions. 

yoopergoblue

November 17th, 2012 at 9:17 PM ^

I think Borges and Hoke wanted to throw a bunch of new stuff out there today to confuse the Bucks.  Having said that I think Borges hasn't scratched the surface of what we can do with this new and improved Devin and Denard combo...

Slamdo

November 17th, 2012 at 9:20 PM ^

Wish the band would put a mike on the drumline and halftime performance so the whole stadium could hear.  From the south end, both of these are extemely diluted.  DB if you read Mgoblog, please consider this as many in this area wish they could hear more.  The mike around the band really enhances the game, not only for students but for those of us who are not in the north end zone.

Magnum P.I.

November 17th, 2012 at 10:57 PM ^

There better be someone whose full-time job it is to get Devin Gardner that medical redshirt after the season's over.

Actually, someone should have that full-time job right now.

JamieH

November 18th, 2012 at 12:08 AM ^

My understanding is that they cannot even apply for the medical redshirt until he completes his eligibility, so they won't apply for it until the end of the 2013 season.  

Ron Utah

November 18th, 2012 at 12:49 AM ^

Nice write-up, Ace.

I am extremely excited for next week, and, for the first time in many, many years, I don't know what to expect.  Last year I expected  Michigan win for the first time in a long time...probably since 2007.  This year?  I have no freakin' clue.  Ohio will be favored, but man, this game could go either way, and it could go big either way.  I'm sooooooooo excited.

GoWings2008

November 18th, 2012 at 7:56 AM ^

So impressed with Denard Robinson's character and dedication to the team and its success.  Selfless, humble, loves his team mates....I hope next week goes well so his career at UM finishes on a high note.  And props to Devin for saying, "This is Denard's team."  

Couldn't be prouder of Team 133.

DPUblue

November 18th, 2012 at 10:21 AM ^

1. Brian, your spelled Gerg Davis wrong.

2. Anyone else think Devin was throwing the ball late in the game (specifically the drive ending in an INT) so they could get close enough for Denard to get one last TD at home? I do. Hence leaving the starters in so long, much to the chagrin of Brian Griese.

eamus_caeruli (not verified)

November 18th, 2012 at 2:08 PM ^

Ace,

Thank you for doing these post-game write-ups. The are well written, and more to the point help tell the story behind the story. I read a lot of the "glue" that sticks us as fans together in these pieces.

True Blue Grit

November 18th, 2012 at 2:46 PM ^

yesterday.  I think that's one thing the coaches were holding back for OSU.  My prediction is you'll see Denard throw the ball pretty early in the Ohio game.  

After watching the Ohio-Wiscy game, I think Devin is a better QB at this point than Braxton Miller.  He throws a little more accurately and has better decision-making ability.  I think they're both about even as far as running goes.