Michigan State paints Michigan's Robinson green
Denard Robinson had so much green on his white uniform, it looked like he played for Michigan State.
Michigan's quarterback got beat up, bruised and knocked out of Saturday's loss 28-14 to the Spartans.
''They weren't playing dirty,'' Robinson said. ''It's a dirty game.''
Robinson walked off the field with his head down - giving him a view of a grass-stained white pants - after the 11th-ranked Wolverines matched a school record with a fourth straight loss to No. 23 Michigan State.
Michigan (6-1, 2-1 Big Ten) hadn't dropped four in a row to the Spartans (5-1, 2-0 Big Ten) since 1959-62.
A roughing-the-passer penalty with 4-plus minutes left ended Robinson's day and sent him to the sideline where the trainers wouldn't clear him to return.
''He got beat up a little bit,'' coach Brady Hoke said.
Robinson insisted he didn't have concussion-like symptoms. Hoke said he didn't have details on Robinson's condition.
Safe to say, though, the Spartans shut down Robinson much like they did last year at the Big House.
''Any time you put fear in a quarterback's eyes, it's a good thing,'' Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy said. ''You could see him getting fidgety.''
Last year, Robinson was averaging a jaw-dropping 181 yards rushing until the Spartans limited him to 86 yards on 21 carries and forced him into a season-high three interceptions.
He failed to bounce back with a strong showing at Michigan State on Saturday, completing his lowest percentage of passes and running for his lowest total as a starter.
Robinson was 9 of 24 for 123 yards with a touchdown throw that pulled Michigan within a TD with 9:49 left and a pick-six that sealed the loss with 4:31 to go.
''We knew he wasn't going to be able to pass the ball,'' said Spartans safety Isaiah Lewis, who grabbed one of Robinson's poor passes and returned it 39 yards for the final score. ''He couldn't pass the ball and nobody can run the ball on us.''
Robinson entered the game averaging a Big Ten-best 120 yards rushing, ranking ninth in the nation, and was held to just 42 yards on the ground.
He ran for an electric, 15-yard score to cap the game's opening possession, which was extended by a fake field goal, but didn't have a longer run the rest of the game.
Robinson shared time with Devin Gardner more than he had previously this season. Gardner was 3 of 7 for 45 yards and was sacked three times, leading to a combined loss of 15 yards on six rushing attempts.
''It was a windy day and Devin at times can throw the ball more accurately,'' Hoke explained.
The Spartans had a lot of success through the air and on the ground.
Kirk Cousins threw two touchdown passes, both to Keshawn Martin, who scored in the third quarter on similar lunges into the end zone.
Down 21-7, Robinson threaded a perfect pass to Roy Roundtree for a 34-yard touchdown with 9:49 left in the game. Martin then fumbled on an end around, giving Michigan the ball at the Michigan State 32.
After converting fourth-and-1 from the 23 with a short run, Robinson faced the same down and distance from the 9. Michigan called a slow-developing play-action pass, and Johnny Adams sacked Robinson to end the drive before he could throw.
Michigan got the ball back, but its chances to come back ended when Robinson's pass was intercepted and returned for a score by Lewis.
''I just got to make throws,'' Robinson said. ''We had a lot of opportunities to keep the game within reach.''