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Published: Sunday, 10/2/2011 - Updated: 2 years ago

Robinson's arm passes test

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson (16) looks to pass during the second quarter of a college football game against Minnesota in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday. Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson (16) looks to pass during the second quarter of a college football game against Minnesota in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday.
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ANN ARBOR -- The slump is over.

Michigan junior quarterback Denard Robinson completed his first 11 pass attempts in yesterday's 58-0 thrashing of Minnesota, calming the nerves of fans who trembled over his brutal 48 percent success rate entering the day.

For the game, Robinson was 15 of 19 for 169 yards and two touchdowns. He added another 51 yards on the ground.

"I think [Robinson] getting off to a strong start helps us with the run game so much," Wolverines coach Brady Hoke said.

Robinson hooked up with seven different receivers, including quarterback Devin Gardner in an unusual formation where both of them lined up in the backfield. Robinson had six interceptions in the first four games but none yesterday.

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"We're confident," Robinson said. "We've been playing good and we trust [offensive coordinator Al Borges] to give us the right plays and make things happen."

Gardner, a sophomore, played extensively for the first time in his career upon taking over for Robinson midway through the third quarter. He was 2 of 5 passing for 31 yards and rushed for 39 yards, 15 of which came on a sweep early in the game in the formation with Robinson.

"It felt great," Gardner, a five-star recruit in 2010, said. "I've been waiting for my time to get my chance and I thought I did the most I could do with it."

HELMET NUMBERS: Sometime after the Notre Dame game Sept. 10, Michigan's senior class approached Hoke asking if they could wear the helmets from that evening, which were emblazoned with their jersey numbers, for the rest of the season. Hoke obliged, allowing the Wolverines to wear them for all Big Ten games beginning.

"We will have those numbers on there throughout the rest of the season ... because we want to honor those guys who wore those numbers before," Hoke said.

IT'S GOOD FOR GIBBONS: Sophomore kicker Brendan Gibbons lost his job last year a few weeks into the season for performance issues and finished the season with just one field goal in five attempts. The former high school All-American has apparently rectified whatever issue was hindering him, as he made all three of his attempts yesterday, from 25, 32, and 38 yards, to make him 4-for-5 on the year.

"We've got a lot of confidence in, and hopefully [his performance] injects more confidence in him," Hoke said.

SHORT YARDS: Sophomore Michael Schofield started in place of the injured Ricky Barnum (ankle) at left guard. ... A moment of silence was held before the game for Patrick Fleming, a Michigan marching band member who was killed last week in a car accident. Fleming's usual spot on the field, in the front row at the 37-yard line on the north end, was left unoccupied in his honor. ... Fitzgerald Toussaint, who had his first career 100-yard rushing game, scored his fourth touchdown of the year, all of which have come inside the 2-yard line. ... Punter Will Hagerup returned from his four-game suspension for violating a team rule and averaged 37.5 yards on two kicks. ... Junior receiver Roy Roundtree did not record a catch and has just five receptions this year. ... If Minnesota (1-4, 0-1) doesn't win Saturday at Purdue, it may not win again. Awaiting the Gophers, in order, are Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Northwestern and Illinois.



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