Michigan Wolverines: Western Michigan Game Recap
Ann Arbor, Mich. – Lightning was expected to play a role in this game, as the everyone expected the electrifying play of Denard Robinson to take center stage, but no one expect this. The game was delayed twice, and was then eventually canceled in the middle of the 3rd quarter by a lightning storm too close to the stadium -- but by then the game had been all but decided.
Western Michigan came into the Big House as a quick speed bump for Brady Hoke and the lofty expectations of his new-look Michigan Wolverines. However, all the Broncos did was take the first possession and immediately punch the Wolverines in the mouth. A 15 play, 74 yard drive, which took up 7: 51 of the first quarter, pushed the Broncos out to an early 7-0 lead on Antoin Scriven’s 1-yard plow into the end zone.
The unavoidable reminiscing about the, Week 1, Appalachian State defeat in 2007 was quickly erased as the defense and rushing game of Michigan soon took over.
Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint added two scores on the ground, with short one and two yard runs in the second quarter, on his way to an 80 yard, 2 touchdown day.
Michigan’s Brendon Herron, highlighted a solid day on defense, as the senior linebacker ran back an interception 94-yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, then picked up an Alex Carder fumble and scored again on a 29-yard scamper to pay-dirt in the 3rd.
Trailing 27-10 in the middle of the 3rd quarter, Alex Carder led the Broncos down the field, trying to make a game of it; however, another fumble gave the ball back to the Wolverines, putting an end to the hopes of Western Michigan.
The Wolverines would strike again quick, as a Fitzgerald Toussaint’s 43-yard run brought the ball into Broncos’ territory, then a 44-yard TD run from Mike Shaw caped off an 87-yard, 0:40 drive that pushed the score to the final tally of 34-10 Wolverines.
The one question that will surely come out of this game is the shrinking of Denard Robinson’s role in the Wolverine offense. While some may argue that Michigan didn’t have the ball enough to expect big individual numbers from their Heisman hopeful quarterback; Denard’s game was not nearly the explosive run-first option we saw last season.
While not as electrifying as the storm overhead, Denard Robinson had a solid stat-line. The immediate stat that jumps out is the rushing attempts. Robinson averaged 20 carries a game in 2010, but only had 8 total rushes in this game.
PASSING: C/ATT YDS AVG. TD INT RUSHING: CAR YDS AVG. TD LG
9/13 98 7.5 0 0 8 46 5.8 0 12
As an expected part of Brady Hoke’s pro-set offense, Denard Robinson ran the ball much less than in Rich Rodriguez’s spread offense which saw the speedster rush for 1,702 yards in 2010. The play calling may have been slightly more conservative in a Week 1 match against a smaller school. We will have to wait until next week’s nationally televised night game against Norte Dame to see just how Robinson’s new role will likely take shape.
For Michigan, a 1-0 start to the season is a pleasant sight to the Brady Hoke reign in Ann Arbor, and a step in the right direction for their quest to bring the Wolverines back into National relevance.
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