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October 10, 2011 - Image 11

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1 The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com 3B - October 10, 2011

STATISTICS

Third-down conversions key for Blue in win

Team Stats
First Downs
Rush/Yds
Passing Yards
Ofnsie Plays
Total Offense
Kickreturns/Yds
Puntreturns/Yds
Comp/Att/Int
Punts/Avgt
Fumbles/lost
Pnatis/Yrds
Tme of Poss

MICH
23
50/179
782
541
7/454
0/0
19/28/3
1/38
0/0
5/65
37:57

NU
26
25/107
331
70
438
4-248
1/20
32/45/1
3/140
1/1
5/51
22:03

M I C H I G A N
PASSING
Payer C-U Yds T0 Int
Roison, D. 1726 33 2
Gardner, 0. 2-2 25 0 0
Totals 19-28 362 2 3
RUSHING
Player Att Yds Avg Lg TO
Robinson,D. 25 117 4.7 25 2
Toussaint 14 25 13 7 0
Smith 3 8 2.7 6 0
Gardner 2 4 2.0 3 1
Totals 50 179 3.6 25 4
RECEVNG
Player No. Yds Avg Lg TU
Hemigway 1 38 38 38
Roundtree 3 83 27.7 57 0
Koger 2 36 18 19 0
Jackson 1 19 19 19 0
Shaw 1 12 12 12 0
Watson 1 9 9 9 1
Smith 1 6 6 6 0
Totals 19 362 19.0 57 2
PUNTING
Player No. Yds Avg Lg
Hagena 1 3 38 38
KICKOFF RETURNS
Payer No Yds Avg L TO
Gallon 1 13 13 13 0
Totals 3 56 18.7 25 0
PUNT RETURNS
Player No. Yds Avg Lg TO
Totals 0 0 0 0 0
TACKLES
Player Solo Asst Tot
Dernens 5 5 10
Hawthorne 4
Gordon 5 1 6
Martin 2 4 6
*"hso 5 0 5
Morgan 3 2 5
Floyd 3 2 5
Van Bergen 2 2 4
Smith 2 0
Campbell 0 1 1
Koger 1 0 1
Avery 1 0 1
Black 1 0 1
Ryan 1 0 1
Furman 0 1 1
Pomarico 0 1 1
N OR TH WE ST E R N

By STEPHEN J. NESBITT
Daily Sports Editor
EVANSTON - As the saying
goes, third down's the charm.
Maybe not exactly those
words, but junior quarterback
Denard Rob-
inson and the NOTEBOOK
Michigan foot-
ball team certainly established it
as a new mantra against North-
western.
The offense was nearly
untouchable when eyeing the
first-down marker in No. 11
Michigan's 42-24 victory over
the Wildcats on Saturday, con-
verting on 14 of 17 third-down
opportunities.
"They just made plays," said
Northwestern defensive end
Tyler Scott. "We didn't exe-
cute here and there, which was
huge. That's one of our goals as
a defense, to get off the field on
third down, and we didn't exe-
cute."
The Wildcats couldn't get the
defense off the field, which kept
the dangerous Robinson in the
backfield and star Northwestern
quarterback Dan Persa stuck on
the sideline.
Michigan burned up time
and won the time-of-possession
battle in each quarter, finish-
ing with 37:57 to the Wildcats'
22:03.
"Yeah, that was a big deal,"
Robinson said. "We were hold-
ing the possession of the ball and
that's what we focus on every
game. We want to win that."
And of the three missed third-
down conversions for Michigan,
only one led to a punt.
The Wolverines' second scor-
ing drive was punctuated by
Michigan coach Brady Hoke's
decision to send the offense back
on the field after redshirt soph-
omore running back Fitzger-
ald Toussaint was stopped at
the line of scrimmage on third
down.
Hoke called a timeout and

gathered the specials teams unit
around him. At the last minute,
he motioned the offense back
onto the field.
"Coach Hoke, he gives us that
look and we tell him, 'Hey we
can get this,' " Robinson said.
"And that's what we do."
Robinson took the snap, fol-
lowed his blockers and danced
for a four-yard gain and a first
down.
Third down may be the
charm, but the fourth-down
conversions aren't so bad, either.
ONE MAN'S BOO-BOO ... :
Michigan fans know the feeling
all too well. It's a sinking, empty
feeling that settles in anytime
Denard Robinson leaves the
field injured.
Last season, Robinson left
10 of the Wolverines' 12 games
with some form of injury, creat-
ing a major void at quarterback.
Through five games this
season, Robinson hadn't been
forced out of a single play with
an injury. That streak ended
midway though the third quar-
ter in Evanston.
After a 12-yard run to the
Northwestern one-yard line,
Robinson ran off the field flexing
his left hand.
"It was nothing, a little boo-
boo," Robinson said after the
game.
Sophomore quarterback
Devin Gardner, who has played
sparingly this season - and
almost exclusively in two-quar-
terback sets - came on in Rob-
inson's absence.
On third down, Gardner ran
a bootleg right off a play-action
call and beat the defender to the
pylon to give Michigan the lead,
28-24.
Gardner finished the game by
completing his only two passes
for a total of 25 yards.
"Devin is a great quarter-
back," said senior running back
Michael Shaw. "It's tough being
behind Denard,but ... whenyour
number's called you have to be

Junior quarterback Denard Robinson helped Michigan overCome a slow start with four total touchdowns S

ready to perform, and that's why
you come to Michigan.
"Everybody on our roster can
play. Coach said all the time it's
not who's at the position, the
expectation is for the position,
so if your number is called you
gotta go in there and ball. That's
why you're here."
In his typical "Hokespeak,"
the head coach had a succinct
wrap-up of Gardner's perfor-
mance.
"Good," Hoke said. "It was
good to see Devin be very quar-
terback-like."
SAFETY COMES STANDARD:
Redshirt sophomore safety
Thomas Gordon entered his
recruitment process with every
intention of being a quarterback.
Redshirt junior safety Jordan
Kovacs was walk-on three years
ago.
Somehow, the misfit second-
ary has combined to be one of

the more lethal safety duos in
the Big Ten.
Gordon and Kovacs each have
a pick and have combined for
four turnovers in six games.
Early in the fourth quarter
against Northwestern, Gordon
stripped Wildcat wide receiver
Jeremy Ebert and fell on the
loose ball.
On the ensuing Northwest-
ern possession, Kovacs made
his presence felt. Persa lined
the Wildcats up on fourth down
from the Michigan 37-yard line,
tryingto reducethe 11-point def-
icit. Persa looked left, then right,
but he didn't look over the top.
As Persa went through his
play call at the line, Kovacs crept
up toward the line of scrim-
mage. And when Persa took the
ball, Kovacs came hard on the
blitz.
The guard and tackle
split. When Persa looked up,

Kovacs was three steps away,
untouched. As Kovacs lowered
his shoulder for another of his
devastating hits, Persa ducked.
Kovacs blew the helmet right
off the quarterback, who stayed
up and tried to scramble. But the
play was whistled dead. Ten-
yard sack, Michigan ball.
Northwestern coach Pat
Fitzgerald was furious that
Kovacs wasn't called for grab-
bing Persa's facemask - Fitzger-
ald received a 15-yard penalty
for arguing the call.
"You know, I've got to worry
about three kids' college funds,
so I'm going to leave it at that,
how does that sound?" Fitzger-
ald said.
No more arguing from the
coach, but he wasn't pleased.
But no penalty was called and
Kovacs was credited with the
sack, effectively ending the
Wildcats' chances.

PASSING CA Ys
Persa 32-44 331
Team 0-1 0
Totas 345 331
RUSHING
Player Att Yds Avg
Smith 6 28 4.7
Mark 2 18 9
Totals 25 134 4.3

TD
0
0
0

RECEIVING
Player
Ebert
Dunsmore
Schmidt
!ones
Colter
Smith
Mark
Green
Totals

Lg
125
23
Lg
15
26
39
16
4
39

TD
0
t
t
0
t
0
3
TD
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
0

SWEEP
From Page 1B
skating right then nothing hap-
pens."
That cuteness is a reference
back to Friday's self-proclaimed
slump. The Falcons' early first
goal on Friday night was unan-
swered by the Wolverines until
the second stanza, when senior
defenseman Greg Pateryn
tipped in a shot deflected off
Bentley netminder Kyle Rank.
And even though Michigan
walked away with four more
goals after that, it didn't always
play like the better team. The
Wolverines knew nothing about
Bentley going into the week-
end's series, but after Friday,
they became first-hand witness-
es to the Falcons' unexpected
speed. When Bentley picked up
its pace in the second period,
Michigan became sloppy.
Over-passing was a prob-
lem for the Wolverines, but the
over-skating was an even big-
ger one. The players aren't sure
what exactly its origins are
- Di Giuseppe attributed it to
feeling too comfortable. Beren-
son just calls it laziness.
"There's a loose puck and
(the players) skate right over
it and miss it," Berenson said.
"Instead of stopping and

No.
17
3
3
1
32

Yds
86
68
37
4
331

Avg
7.8
22.6
12.3
4
9.1

Senior defenseman Gre
demanding that p
some desperation,I
go for a skate. The pt
always follow you, y
go back and get it."
By Saturday, eve
gotten the messag
Giuseppe especially
heart.
And though he n
ready to take full cr

PUNTING
Player No. Yds Avg Lg
William 991 14 2 06. 21
CoalsI 3 14 6 . 9 7
KICKOFF RETURNS
Player No. Yds Avg Lg
0chmid 0 20 2 2
Totals 3 48 b 35
TlaCKe Solo Asst Tot
Mabin 8 4 12
Nwabuisi 5 6 11
Scott 6 1 7
Peters 2 5 7
Proby 2 0 2
Carmider 2 o 2
B w 1 1 2
Ariguzo 0 2 2
DiNardo 0 1 1
Totals 42 40 82
FOL LOW US ON
TWITTER
@WmiChd ailysports
@mich da ily fba||
i@ICh da ilyhoCkey
@miChdaily bba||

_ -
ALDEN REISS/Daily
g Pateryn scored Michigan's first goal on Friday.
uck with goals just yet, Berenson plans
(they) just to make him as comfortable as
uck doesn't possible with the rest of his line
-ou have to in the upcoming first full week
of practices.
ryone had "He's a strong kid, he's got
e, but Di some good puck skills," Beren-
took it to son said. "It's a matter of get-
ting used to his linemates and
nay not be playing off them well, but he's
edit for his off to a good start."
iing back, the few players who had seen
t inside. It them all in his past three years
g Michigan at Michigan, redshirt junior
ade adjust- safety Jordan Kovacs.
time. With Northwestern still
man cov- down 11 and lined up on Michi-
n you play gan's 37yard line, Kovacs bust-
have to be ed through the line untouched.
ks," Hoke The man who knocked West-
has to be ern Michigan quarterback Alex
. We over- Carder's helmet off in the sea-
arly in the son opener lined Persa up and
d, and you knocked his helmet off - but
sometimes the result was different.
you think, Kovacs - and Persa's hel-
killing us, met - fell over the top of Persa,
as he stayed on his feet and
made some scramble. But, by rule, when
t." a player's helmet comes off,
d just five the ball is dead. Turnover on
he second downs.
"I guess you could say I
which the made the play," Kovacs said.
e personal- "I've never really seen any-
ngful play thing like that. I didn't know
pleted the that was a rule, but we'll take
ation into it."
om one of They'll take 6-0 too.

ines' first touchdown of the half,
but maybe more importantly, it
immediately deflated the Wild-
cats' confidence. In the first half,
Northwestern intercepted Rob-
inson three times and held the
potent Michigan offense in check.
"When you're working so hard
to stop an offense and you do it
consistently on a play-by-play
basis, and then they hit a big one
on you, it really hits you hard,"
said Northwestern coach Pat
Fitzgerald.
"It kills you."
Roundtree wasn't the only
Michigan receiver who had suc-
cess on the jump ball.
On just his second pass attempt
of the game, Robinson spotted
fifth-year senior wide receiver
Junior Hemingway streaking
down the middle of the field and
launched the ball high into the
seasonably warm autumn air,
allowing Hemingway justenough
time to adjust his body and come
down with the 48-yard reception.
"I looked back, I saw (Robin-
son) moving up in the pocket,"
Hemingway said. "I was wonder-
ing, 'I wonder if he's gonna run?'
He threw it and I thought, 'Oh
man, yes!'
"I just went up and made aplay
on it, because I knew we needed
it."
Robinson wasn't surprised.
Hemingway came down with the
ball.
"I mean, Junior's always going
to make big plays," Robinson
said. "I think he's one of the best
receivers in the country."
Hemingway and redshirt
sophomore Jeremy Gallon led the
Wolverines with five receptions

year.
Michigan was a season-best
14-of-17 on third downs - a huge
part of that success came from
the receivers' ability to make
plays when the Wolverines need-
ed them most.
And that ability was a big rea-
son Michigan was able to come
out of Evanston with its first road
victory of the year.
"Just doing what we're sup-
posed to do," Hemingway said.
"Executing our plays, making the
blocks when we're supposed to
make them."
But it's what doesn't show
up on the stat sheet that keeps
receivers like Roundtree on the
field when they're struggling to
make receptions.
"Football's notjust, as a receiv-
er, 'I'm gonna catch the ball, and
if I'm not catching the ball I'm
unhappy,' " said senior running
back Michael Shaw. "(Roundtree)
blocks his butt off every play.
Catching is what he does well,
but blocking is also what he does
great."
It's always nice to get recep-
tions, but for Roundtree and this
Michigan team, they don't care
about who does what - and that
may be the biggest reason for the
Wolverines success so far this
season.
"(Roundtree) keeps working
the same way in practice no mat-
ter what, and that's why I think
we win, because we've got a lot
of unselfish guys," Shaw said.
"Things might not go their way,
but they keep grinding it out
because you never know when
your number's gonna be called.
"And when it's called, you
have to perform."

each, and Roundtree was third on
RECEIVERS the team with three for 83 yards.
From Page lB erines' 1 tta cep-
the most ina gam this

COMEBACK
From Page 1B
to happen and that's what
coach has been preaching since
day one."
The turnovers were neces-
sary only because of North-
western's level of play in the
first half. Outside of a first-
drive three and out, North-
western bent the Wolverines
defense to its will. The Wild-
cats scored on four of their
seven first-half drives. Michi-
gan's players admitted the
upbeat tempo caused some
confusion early on.
Persa used the opportunity
to beat them through the air,
and the option run beat them
on the ground. Northwestern's
first two touchdowns came
through the option.
on the second touchdown,
sophomore safety Carvin
Johnson over-pursued the

Northwestern runn
allowing him to cut
was the type of thing
coach Brady Hoke m
ments to during half
"We were playing
erage a lot and whe
man-coverage, youl
able to get off bloc
said. "Your safety
able to run the alley
ran two of them ea
game, the safety di(
know you overact
as coaches because
'They're killing us,
killing us.'
"But I think wen
nice adjustments to i
The Wildcats hal
rushing yards in t
half.
And in a game in
defense had multipla
ities, its final meani
- the one that com
defense's transform
finishers - came fr

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