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Denard Robinson led the Michigan Wolverines back to an improbable win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish Saturday night.
Michigan was down 24-7 going into the fourth quarter, and one would’ve thought Notre Dame would have this game won. They didn’t and Michigan came back to win thanks to its leader and starting quarterback Robinson.
Here are five reasons Denard Robinson can light up the Big Ten after leading the Wolverines to a big win over Notre Dame:
1. Denard Robinson’s Arm Has Improved.
Denard Robinson looked confident down the stretch throwing in Saturday’s win over Notre Dame. He did throw three interceptions, but it didn’t stop him from going deep again.
Robinson saw the field and hit his receivers for big gains. He saw his receivers open and took shots at his receivers even when they were covered. Robinson stepped back, moved to his sides and threw to the open guy.
Robinson also did a great job in the pocket when it mattered most.
On his touchdown throw to Vincent Smith, Robinson took the ball, went to his right, went back to his left and hit Smith on screen for a touchdown that put Michigan up 28-24 with a 1:12.
Next, he found Jeremy Gallon wide open and then hit him on the money with 23 seconds for a big gain that brought Michigan all the way down to the Notre Dame 16.
Lastly, Roy Roundtree made a big play as he caught a pass over the Notre Dame defender for the game winning touchdown. Robinson found Roundtree in a crowded pocket but used his mobility to connect to him.
Michigan has receivers who can make big plays. Roundtree and Gallon just gave Robinson trust in his arm.
Would Robinson have done that last year? Perhaps he would have taken off and ran with it last year.
Robinson showed patience in the pocket, and didn’t force throws late in the game. His level of poise was high in the pocket in the fourth quarter. When he went out there down 31-28 with 30 seconds left, he looked ready and confident.
Finally, Robinson showed that he can run the hurry up offense effectively.
Yes, Robinson rushed for 108 yards, but it was ability to stay in the pocket and pass that made the difference. Robinson had his seventh game with at least 100 yards passing and rushing.
In the fourth quarter we saw Robinson able to make plays with his arm thanks to his legs.
Robinson is becoming much more comfortable with throwing and handing off to the running backs. Robinson is ready on every play.
Early in the fourth quarter, he showed just how ready he was when tailback Stephen Hopkins fumbled on the goal line. Robinson then picked it up and ran it in the endzone on the left side for a touchdown.
Later in the quarter when Michigan most needed a play, Robinson didn’t scramble, but stayed in the pocket moving around until he found the open guy or a receiver to throw to.
Just think about it. Robinson could of taken off, but instead, he waited and saw Jeremy Gallon open. Patience. There it is again.
Every week Robinson becomes better.
This game certainly will boost Robinson’s confidence as he will able to trust his arm. His legs will help him give time to find a receiver.
3. Brady Hoke has Renewed Trust in Denard Robinson
With Denard Robinson’s ability to lead the Wolverines to the win against Notre Dame on Saturday, it will give renewed trust for Brady Hoke and Al Borges that the ball is safe in Robinson’s hands late in games.
I thought the game was over with thirty seconds left, and that Robinson might try and just tuck it and run. I am sure it went through the heads of Hoke and Borges head, too, but they didn’t signal for the kicker. They sent Robinson on the field to win the game.
Robinson did not disappoint.
Robinson totally changed that by his ability to spread the ball down field.
Michigan could have just kicked the field goal to tie the game with eight seconds. Hoke’s willingness to let Robinson try for the touchdown is a huge boost for his confidence.
With the heart of the Big Ten schedule approaching, confidence and faith in his starting quarterback to get the job done is just what Hoke needs. Robinson also showed leadership in hurrying the Wolverines up to the line of scrimmage and putting the team on his back.
4. Denard Robinson’s Confidence gets a Boost
Denard Robinson’s confidence has got to be at an all-time high right now. Coming off a big win over rival Notre Dame, and in Michigan’s first ever night game, Robinson has to be thinking that he has the support of coaches, teammates and his fans.
Robinson also has to feel encouraged knowing Hoke trusts him with the ball in his hands late in games.
Robinson’s ability to keep throwing after throwing two interceptions in the first half, and one in the fourth quarter gave him renewed confidence in his arm as well. He could have just decided, “I don’t trust my arm.” Instead, he found his receivers.
His receivers’ ability to catch his passes has to give him the confidence to keep throwing to them as well. Robinson can pass short, to the middle of the field or the side, and know that his receivers will be there.
Roundtree, Hemingway, Gallon and Koger all have got to have an encouragement that Robinson can lead lead this team and get the ball into their hands.
Robinson will know now that he can lead the team victory no matter how much time is on the clock.
5. Denard Robinson’s Decision Making
Denard Robinson’s decision making was great in the fourth quarter, minus his interception. Robinson didn’t fall into the trap of tucking and running with it every single play.
Sometimes that is alright. Not all the time though.
Instead, Robinson let plays develop. He moved around and saw the whole field.
Robinson let his receivers pick him up. His offensive line also did a great job in protecting him, and giving him time to find that open receiver.
Robinson has also learned to give the ball to his running backs. Vincent Smith, Michael Shaw and Fitzgerald Toussaint have done a solid job picking up yardage for the Wolverines.
Robinson needs games like these and it will only make his decision making stronger for when the Big Ten schedule gets tough.