Robinson gains 502 yards in close win
If Denard Robinson's performance last week was a jaw dropper, what he did against Notre Dame on Saturday topped it.
He broke off the longest run in the history of the Irish's fabled stadium — an 87-yarder for a TD.
That's just for starters. How about a school-record 502 yards total offense for a QB, including 258 yards rushing on 28 carries and 244 more passing?
And oh, yeah, he directed the game-winning TD drive, scoring himself from 2 yards out with 27 seconds left to send Michigan (2-0) to a pulsating 28-24 victory.
No wonder Wolverines coach Rich Rodriguez said the spectacular new star of his spread offense might sleep on the trip back to Ann Arbor. He deserves some rest.
''Man, I didn't even know that,'' Robinson said of his record-breaking day -- the second week in a row he snapped single-game Michigan quarterback marks for total offense and rushing.
''Our offense came together,'' he said. ''The offensive line blocked, the receivers catching, everything was clicking. ... I'm a team player and I don't look at stats.''
He doesn't lace his spikes, either. And he's durable.
''He's a tough kid. That's the one thing that stands out,'' Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said. ''You run a quarterback 25 times, you got to have toughness.''
Kelly's guy was tough, too. But he just couldn't pull out the victory.
Dayne Crist missed most of the first half after getting blurry vision from hitting his head on the ground during a run in an opening TD drive. But he brought the Irish back in the second half and connected with tight end Kyle Rudolph on a 95-yard TD pass to put Notre Dame (1-1) ahead with 3:41 left.
Then Robinson showed that not only is he fast and strong, he's a clutch player, too. He led Michigan on a 12-play, 72-yard drive, capped his game-winning TD -- a fitting end.
Notre Dame (1-1) had one last chance from the Wolverines' 27 with six seconds left, but Crist threw the ball out of the end zone on the final play.
On the game-winnning drive, Robinson carried to pick up a crucial first on a fourth-and-1 at the Notre Dame 35. Then on a third-and-5 from the 17, Robinson drilled a 15-yard pass to Roy Roundtree to the 2 to set up his TD.
''He (Roundtree) gave me a wink before the play. He winked at me and I knew I could go to him and I could count on him,'' Robinson said. ''And he was there.''
Robinson's most spectacular moment came late in the second quarter, when he took the snap from his own 13, went to the right side, made a little cut and sprinted right past the Irish defense for second-longest run ever by an opponent against Notre Dame (Dick Panin broke off an 88-yarder for Michigan State in 1951) and the longest run ever at Notre Dame Stadium. It put the Wolverines up 21-7.
''Once I get on the field, I don't like to be caught from behind. It was like I can't get caught, can't get caught,'' Robinson said.
Earlier, the strong-armed Robinson found a wide-open Martavious Odoms for 31 yards to the Irish 1, setting up Stephen Hopkins 1-yard run for a touchdown late in the opening quarter that made it 14-7.
Crist led the Irish on a 71-yard, 13-play drive to start the game, doing most of the work by completing 5 of 7 passes and carrying three times for 30 yards before sneaking in for the TD.
But he spent the rest of the half on the sidelines before finally beginning to warmup with about six minutes to go after first Tommy Rees and then Nate Montana -- neither of whom had ever played in a college game -- struggled to get the offense going. Each threw an interception -- the one by Rees leading to Michigan's tying touchdown. On the very next play after the pick, Robinson hit a wide open Roundtree for a 31-yard TD.
''He was not clear to go back out for the next series,'' Kelly said of Crist, adding that it was not a concussion. ''I thought it was best until he got his bearings back, which took until the third quarter.''
Montana, the son of NFL Hall of Famer Joe Montana, who also was a standout at Notre Dame, heaved a 37-yard pass to Theo Riddick to the Michigan 3 with 3 seconds to go in the half, a completion upheld by video replay.
But on the final play of the half, Montana's pass sailed way out of the end zone as the Wolverines held on for the two-TD lead.
Crist came back in the third quarter and on his second play threw a 53-yard TD pass to TJ Jones to get Notre Dame within 21-14. On the next series, he hit passes of 17 and 11 yards to Michael Floyd to get Notre Dame to the 6 before the Irish settled for David Ruffer's 24-yard field goal.