Mistake-prone Wolverines fall to Notre Dame

BY foxsports • September 22, 2012

Denard Robinson has saved some of his greatest performances for Notre Dame.

Saturday, he turned in his worst.

Robinson turned the ball over five times, including four interceptions, and the Irish took advantage with a 13-6 victory under the lights and Touchdown Jesus.

Robinson, who amassed 948 yards of total offense in victories over the Irish the past two years, struggled with his passing mechanics all night, throwing off his back foot even on the rare occasions when he didn't have a Notre Dame defender in his face.

His last four passes of the first half were intercepted, and when he completed a few to start the third quarter, he fumbled deep in Notre Dame territory.

"I want to say sorry to everyone who watches Michigan football and follows Michigan football," Robinson told the media after the game. "This is the most disappointed I've ever been in myself."

The Wolverines offense generated a pair of fourth-quarter field goals, but unbeaten Notre Dame ran out the clock before Michigan could rally for a fourth straight last-minute victory over the Irish.

Instead, the Wolverines fell to 2-2 and have serious questions to answer before starting Big Ten play in two weeks.

Although Robinson had a terrible game, he was again trying to win without much help.

Fitzgerald Toussaint had four carries for 42 yards on Michigan's first drive of the second half but carried the ball nine times for 16 yards the rest of the game.

The offensive line had trouble opening holes once again, with Robinson getting most of his 90 rushing yards via speed and broken plays.

Devin Gardner, looking like a quarterback more than a wide receiver, dropped a wide-open pass deep in Notre Dame territory.

Jeremy Gallon, Roy Roundtree and Devin Funchess combined for eight catches, but none longer than 13 yards. And Drew Dileo caught one four-yard pass.

Much of that was on Robinson, who showed once again that teams can beat the Wolverines by turning him into a pocket passer. Both Alabama and Notre Dame have shown his enormous limitations as a passer while taking away his equally devastating skills as a runner.

The Wolverines should have had a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, but came away empty on two trips to the Notre Dame 10. The first time, Robinson was sacked twice and Brendan Gibbons missed a 43-yard field goal.

On the second try, with Robinson having completed four straight passes, offensive coordinator Al Borges got tricky, calling a tailback pass for Vincent Smith. With linebacker Manti Te'o in Smith's face, Smith threw a jump pass that was easily intercepted in the end zone.

That was when the wheels came off for Michigan. Robinson attempted four passes in the second quarter, and all four were intercepted.

The Wolverines did everything they could on defense, holding the Irish to a field goal on one short drive and picking off Everett Golson in the end zone.

But Notre Dame had one trump card -- backup quarterback Tommy Rees.

Rees entered the game late in the second quarter and led the game's only touchdown drive. He completed passes of 16 and 24 yards to move the ball inside the Michigan 10, and finished the drive with a two-yard run.

Fitzgerald Toussaint's 31-yard gain on Michigan's first play of the second half moved the ball into Irish territory, but Robinson fumbled the ball away at the Irish 8.