Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson walks off the field Saturday after the final home game of his career.
ANN ARBOR — In the end, Denard Robinson played. In the offensive backfield. And he caught a few passes too.
Yet when he took a handful of snaps at quarterback, Robinson didn’t pull back and throw, as he may have wanted to do. Instead, he went for a safer option. He handed the ball off.
At the end of his final game inside Michigan Stadium, he flashed a mega-watt smile to the crowd. Undoubtedly, that’s how Robinson wanted to be remembered at the Big House — certainly not standing on the sidelines in his final game.
In Saturday’s 42-17 win over Iowa, Robinson finished with a game-best 98 yards on 13 carries, including a three-yard carry on Michigan’s first play of the game, and he had two catches for 24 yards.
“I think the offensive line did well, and I did run the ball, and they did a great job blocking,” Robinson said. “I just had to try to make a play.”
But, Robinson added, he couldn’t remember the last time he played in a football game and didn’t pass the ball.
Robinson’s performance — a rotation that Michigan coach Brady Hoke said had been in the works for 18 months — could be a preview of what Robinson’s future could hold at the professional level. NFL draft analysts and pundits have projected Robinson to play at the next level not as a quarterback but as a wide receiver or a return specialist.
Prior to Saturday’s game, Robinson was one of 23 seniors honored before their last game at Michigan Stadium. As captains, Jordan Kovacs and Robinson were introduced last to the crowd of 113,016. Kovacs, a safety from Curtice, received a rousing cheer from the crowd. The cheers for Robinson — the last player introduced — were deafening.
“Thinking about it being my last time at the Big House, it just blew my mind because time went by so fast,” said Robinson, who sat out Michigan's previous two wins because of an injury to the ulnar nerve in his right arm.
Even this week, Hoke maintained that Robinson’s status for Iowa was day-to day.
Yet with a rivalry showdown looming Saturday at Ohio State, Robinson wouldn’t speculate on his availability against the Buckeyes.
“My elbow, it feels pretty good, and I threw the ball in warm-ups,” Robinson said. “But we'll see next week.”
LOCAL TIES: Micah Hyde, a 2009 Fostoria graduate and a senior cornerback for Iowa, was one of two players to lead the Hawkeyes with eight tackles, including five solo tackles. Hyde also broke up a pass and got his first interception of the season. Hyde picked off Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner at the start of the fourth quarter to stop Michigan’s run of six straight touchdown drives. Andrew Donnal, an Anthony Wayne graduate, and Brad Rogers, a Central Catholic graduate, are also on Iowa’s roster.
A CLOSER LOOK: The CBS news program 60 Minutes will feature a 13-minute segment that examines the business of college football, and Armen Keteyian will report on the topic. The segment will feature the Michigan football program, including athletic director Dave Brandon, Hoke, Robinson, and Kovacs.
"We're going to have excited fans, we're going to fill stadiums, we're going to be on TV. We're going to accomplish all the goals that we need to accomplish to keep this department moving ahead," Brandon told CBS.
It will also feature Alabama head coach Nick Saban and the Towson University football team, an FCS program that opened its season at LSU.
HOME COOKING: Hoke completed his first two seasons at Michigan Stadium 14-0, and is the first coach since Fielding Yost to go undefeated at home in his first two seasons at Michigan. Yost went undefeated in 1901 and 1902 and won his first 50 games at home as coach of the Wolverines.
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