Denard Robinson has led the Michigan Wolverines to an eye-opening 2-0 start with some eye-popping stats. The sophomore QB has compiled 885 yards of total offense in two games and has been rewriting the Michigan record books in the process. Robinson has outgained 88 teams in FBS and has been named the Walter Camp Player of the Week and the Big Ten Player of the Week in both of the first two weeks this season. He is just the 4th FBS player to earn the award twice in one season.
On the wings of their star QB the Wolverines have vaulted into the national rankings landing at #20 in the AP Poll and #22 in the Coaches Poll. Robinson has also begun rewriting the Big Ten record book. His 258 rushing yards at Notre Dame is the conferences best ever for a QB. The player that Michigan Defensive Coordinator Greg Robinson called a lightning bolt also leads the nation in rushing and total offense.
What has made Robinson’s running ability even more dangerous is his precision in the passing game. Through two games Robinson has completed 69% of his passes for 430 yards and 2 TDs. Perhaps most impressive is that on 119 plays (57 rushes and 62 pass attempts) Robinson has yet to turn the ball over. Not to mention that he has accomplished all of this against what has probably been the toughest opening two game stretch of any team in the nation. They opened the season by knocking off one of the best teams in the Big East and this week they went down to South Bend and won there for just the third time in the last 24 years.
Lou Somogyi of Blue and Gold Illustrated had this to say about Robinson’s outstanding performance: “It’s difficult enough for an offense to accumulate 500 yards of total offense in a game. But for Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson to achieve it by rushing for 258 yards and passing for 244 (502 total), it qualifies without debate as the greatest individual single-game performance in Notre Dame Stadium’s 80-year history, either by an Irish player or by an opponent.”
What has impressed me the most is not the two wins or all the crazy yardage, but the way Robinson has represented himself and the University of Michigan. On the field he is no-nonsense. He hands the ball to the referee after he is tackled. He takes a knee when he scores a TD. There is no showboat in Denard Robinson. Off the field he is much the same, all business. Consider this excerpt of a chat I had with him at Media Day:
Rob: Where is the best place to eat around here?
Robinson: “I eat right here at Schembechler Hall,”
Rob: How much time have you spent on filmy study?
Robinson: “A lot.”
Rob: What is your least favorite drill.
Robinson: “I like them all because they make us better.”
The Big Ten Network caught up with Robinson after the Notre Dame game. Robinson said, “It’s great to come back home with a win and we’ve got to thank God for that. It’s great, it’s a great feeling.”
When asked about his gaudy stats Robinson deflected the praise back to his teammates. “I wouldn’t say it’s just me. It’s the whole team. It’s the offensive linemen, the receivers around me, it’s the running backs and it’s God. I can’t just take all the glory for me.”
The last thing I’d like to say is to all of those who say Robinson is too small and will never hold up at this pace. First of all I don’t expect him to carry the rock 28-29 times again. Secondly, Chris Johnson of the Tennessee Titans checks in at 5-foot-11, 191 pounds. Robinson is 6-foot, 190 pounds.
Robinson has made an epic splash in the first two weeks of this season and there is reason to believe he is only going to get better. “He’s so instinctive,” said Rich Rodriguez. ”He’s going to keep getting better. There are at least 12 or 15 plays [at Notre Dame] he could be better on, which is exciting.”
On that critical third down and 5 from the Notre Dame 17 as Michigan lined up to snap the ball Robinson looked at Roy Roundtree. The scrappy and tough receiver described what happened next. “I winked at him to let him know, ‘I’m going to be open on this play,’” Roundtree said. “He smiled at me.”
As Robinson directed Michigan on that fateful 12 play 72 yard TD drive Notre Dame play-by-play man Don Criqui said we are witnessing “one of the great performances in the history of college football.”