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September 04, 2012 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-09-04

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The Michigan Daily J michigandaily.com September 4, 2012

Alabama stalls
Robinson, routs
Michigan, 41-14, in
Cowboys Classic
By STEPHEN J. NESBITT
Daily Sports Editor
ARLINGTON, Texas - It reso-
nated around the glass, brick and
mortar of the pristine football
palace.
BOOM.
It was the Michigan football
team's welcome from defending-
champion Alabama, a hit that
left sophomore tailback Thomas
Rawls sprawled on the turf with
Alabama linebacker C.J. Moseley
standing over him.

Every replay on the 80-yard fast fromthere.
video board hovering above the Michigan's defense - a major
field drew the chorus from the question mark entering the game
crimson-clad crowd, buffeting - came out of the gate strong,
the silence inside Cowboys Sta- forcing a three-and-out on Ala-
dium. The Crimson Tide, pride bama's first offensive possession.
of the Southeastern Conference, That stand, however, was just a
had introduced Michigan to the flash in the pan.
song of the South. Before the end of the first
BOOM. BOOM. BOOM, quarter, Alabama quarterback
In a'season-opening Cowboys A.J. McCarron and the Crimson
Classic spectacular here, No. 2 Tide had a three-touchdown lead,
Alabama bashed, rumbled and 21-0, after a pair of passing scores
rolled past No.8 Michigan, 41-14. and a nine-yard touchdown run
"We didn't play Michigan by Eddie Lacy.
football," Michigan coach Brady Alabama trotted a quartet of
Hoke said after the game. horses from its stable of running
That was the short answer. backs and didn't hesitate out
The longer involIcd.M Mgan i f the gate. The &imson Tide
being outmatched;- ut ed' Sturned again and again to the
and undermanned. The Wolver- ground game, churning out 232
ines never sniffed the lead. They yards and two touchdowns on 42
fell behind early and plummeted See ALABAMA, Page 3B

Robinson slowed in run
game by Crimson Tide 'D'

Eels IRKtLAND/Daily
Michigan coach Brady Hoke and the Wolverines surged to an 11-2 record last season. But that doesn't mean theyre elite.
'lneeds, time t grow up

By BEN ESTES Brady Hoke. "I mean, there
Daily SportsEditor are some (games) that we're
going to run him a little more.
ARLINGTON, Texas - With There are some reads in there
4:25 remaining in the third that maybe he could have kept
quarter of Saturday night's it, I'm sure he kept it once or
Cowboys Classic, senior quar- twice. But we couldn't estab-
terback Denard Robinson hit lish the line of scrimmage, so
the ground, writhing in pain, when you can't do that, that
and the Michigan football doesn't do you very well."
team's sdason flashed before its At this point in his career,
eyes. the quarterback's prowess as a
Luckily for the eighth- runner is well established, and
ranked Wolverines - who Michigan has depended on his
depend on their quarterback rushing ability in both of his
perhaps more than any other years as a starter through two
team in the country depends different offensive systems,
on a single player - Robinson Against Alabama and its
emerged from a brief trip to the powerful defense - which, it
tunnel ready to go for the next was thought, would be weaker
series. He played the remain- in the defensive backfield than
der of the game, though there in the front seven - the Wol-
wasn't much left to salvage in verines knew Robinson would
Michigan's 41-14 loss to Ala- have to make plays through the
bama. air.
Though Robinson was But with starting running
healthy enough on Saturday back Fitzgerald Toussaint,
night, it was as if he played a redshirt junior, suspended
with shackles on his legs for for the game because of his
most of the game. The dual- legal problems, Robinson was
threat senior finished with rendered the only significant
just 10 carries - with just two threat Michigan had on the
attempts for three yards by ground.
halftime. By then, the Wolver- The other two halfbacks
ines were already trailing by 24 that played, fifth-year senior
points. Vincent Smith and sophomore
"I think we did (run Rob- Thomas Rawls, couldn't find
inson)," said Michigan coach running room at any point,

excep for Smith's 22-yard run
late in the third quarter. The
pair c mbined forjust 48 yards
on 19 carries.
As Hoke alluded to, Michi-
gan's offensive line was at
fault, too, unable to get a push
against the stout Crimson Tide
front. But a player with Robin-
son's skill set is capable of mak-
ing something out of nothing,
and still, he remained unused
as a runner.
The quarterback didn't see it
that way, pointing to just a cou-
ple instances when he thought
he should have kept the ball
on a read option instead of
handing off and lauding Ala-
bama's defense for the way he
was defended. He did admit,
though, that his play overall
wasn't up to par.
"I didn't make the throws
that I should have made today,
and I feel like I didn't play
as the Michigan quarterback
today," Robinson said. "I got to
step it up and be more account-
able."
Robinson's first designed
run didn't come until late in
the first half, when he punched
the ball into the endzone from
six yards out to finally get the
Wolverines on the board. (That
play itself came after he finally
See ROBINSON, Page 3B

ARLINGTON, Texas -
very fall weekend in
America, fathers and
sons, older brothers and
little brothers, take to their
backyards for friendly - though
sometimes, heated - contests of
two-hand touch football.
Invariably, the youngsters
drop open passes and their elders
pat them on the shoulder, telling
them they need to see the ball all
the way into their hands before
they could turn to run toward
the tree stump that marks the
end zone. It seems a simple les-
son, really, yet it could take years

to reach the hump of that basic
learningcurve.
The Michigan football team
didn't have those years under its
belt when it
took the field
at Cowboys
Stadium
against Ala-
bama on Sat-
urday night.
The Wolver-
ines were LUKE
asked to grow PASCH
up a little
too quickly,
which is an impossible task in the

game of football.
After a disheartening 41-14
loss, sophomore cornerback
Blake Countess was on crutches
and redshirt junior left tackle
Taylor Lewan limped off the
field. A beaten-up Brady Hoke
was slow to the presser podium.
He looked and sounded as if he'd
been chewed up and spit out by
his Alabama counterpart, Nick
Saban.
Michigan resembled the
dejected youngster who had just
taken a whooping in a backyard
showdown.
See GROWING PAINS, Page 3B

ALA-BUMMER
Taylor Lewan and the Michigan football
team lost a game, but their No.1 goal still
well within reach. Page 2B

GARDNER PLANTS
Devin Gardner has embedded himself
into the wide receiver rotation. His first
game was a mixed bag. Page 3B

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