The Michigan Daily michigandaily.com
September 24, 2012 - 3B
The Michigan Daily- michigandailycom September 24, 2012 - 3B
L A S T W E E K
MO NDAY (S EPT. 17)
Men's golf: Iverness Intercollegiate Day 1(T-7th)
TUESDAY (SEPT. 18)
Men'sgolf: verness Intercollegiate Day 2(9th)
FRIDAY (SEPT. 21)
Women's soccer. Michigan 1, Minnesota 0
Volleyball: Michigan 3, Indiana 1
SAT U RDAY (S EPT. 22)
Women's golf: Wolverine Invitational Day 1(1st)
Men's XC: Panorama Farms Invitational (4th)
Fieldhockey:Michigan2, Bucknell 0
Football: NotreDme13, Michigan 6
SUNDAY (SEPT. 23)
Women's golf: Wolverine Invitational Day 2 (1st)
Women's tennis: Wolverine Invitational, 9 a.m. (*)
Field hockey: Penn State 4, Michigan 3
Woen's socce Michign 3,Wsconsin 0
Men's socce:NthwOern2, Michian 0E
Men's golf: Windon Memoria Classic Day 1(8th)
T H I S W E E K
MONDAY (SEPT. 24-)
Mn's golf: Windon Memorial Classic Day 2
FRIDAY (SEPT. 28)
Field hockey: Michigan vs. Pacific, 4 p.m. ()
Men's XC: Notre Dame Invitational (South Bend,
olleyball Michigan at Iowwa(o City), 8 p.m.
Women's soccer: Michigan vs. Iowa, 7p.m. (*)
SATURDAY (SEPT. 29)
Women's XC: Rim Rock Farm Classic, (Lawrence,
Women's swimming: Michiganvs. Wisconsin,
Volleball: Mchiga aaNebraska(Lincoln),3p.m.
Women'ssoccer: Michigan vs. Nebraska,2 p.m.(*)
Men's soccer: Michigan vs. Ohio State, 6 p.m. (*)
the Athletic Department's H.A.. program.
TeamStats MICH ND
Points 6 13
First Downs 19 14
Passng Yards 13D 145
Offensive Plays 299 50
Total Offense 259 239
Kickreturns/Yds 3/87 0/0
PutrtEurTs/ Ys 0/0 0/0
CoTp/Atts 13/25/5 11/19/2
Punts/Avg 1/34 4/151
FumblsN/Lost 2/1 0/0
Penatis /YaTs /38 50/49
TimeofPoss 33:19 26:41
M I C H I G A N
From Page 1B
zone, gained just five total yards
and never got inside the six-yard
Prior to Saturday evening, the
Wolverines hadn't gone without a
red-zone touchdown since a loss
to Toledo on Oct. 11, 2008.
The numbers are as much a
testament to the Notre Dame
defense as they are an admonish-
ment of the Michigan offense.
The Fighting Irish have held
two Big Ten forces, Michigan
and Michigan State, to nine total
points and no touchdowns over
the last two weeks.
"When your defense is disap-
pointed that they kicked a field
goal and made it, that's when you
know, like, dang, we're going to
be good," said Notre Dame senior
linebacker Manti Teo, who inter-
cepted two passes in the game.
Entering the game, the Wol-
verines were a perfect 9-for-9
in red-zone conversions, with
eight touchdowns and a field goal
to their record. They were in a
similar position a year ago, when
the offense was 13-for-13 with 13
touchdowns through four games.
"Why did you say that?" offen-
sive coordinator Al Borges said
on Sept. 28, 2011 when asked
about the sterling red-zone effi-
ciency. "Doggone it. It's just like
that kiss of death, OK?"
OK. Except this time no one
best friend's varsity jacket.
The two girls wore "Shoelace"
and another Robinson-themed
This section is different.
Here, the hits sound louder. The
mistakes sting more.
From here, you can reach
out and touch the bass drums
in the Michigan band. When a
Notre Dame wide receiver was
open on the goal line, the par-
ents shouted and pointed, so
Thomas Gordon bumped over
Robinson's supporters sat in
the fifth row, tucked in between
friends and family of freshman
linebacker James Ross III and
the family of fifth-year senior
Robinson's parents come to
games "very rarely, very rarely,"
J.T.'s father, James, said. Nor-
mally the Robinson clan gathers
in Robinson's grandmother's
house in Deerfield Beach, Fla.
around a television.
"Every Saturday," Durrel
said. "Everybody (goes). I can't
even tell you who don't go."
After Robinson's first three
interceptions, Durrel hardly
reacted. Remember Robinson's
three interceptions last year?
His miserable first half?
After his third and fourth
interceptions, Durrel mumbled
for just an instant, but it was out
of frustration more than worry.
"One thing about him,
though, he ain't never gonna
give up," Durrel said.
Now, in the third quarter,
Robinson was driving again
when he fumbled on the Notre
Dame 11-yard line.
This time, Durrel swore to
Steve quietly. Paris put her
hands over her mouth. Robin-
son's girlfriend put her hands
over her head as in disbelief.
"It's a heart attack," Paris
said. "I feel like I'm having a
But this was all part of the
Robinson script, and by the end
of the quarter, the poise was
"I'm good," Durrel said. "I'm
Steve nodded and grinned.
Notre Dame maintained,
Roundtree said. "Coach Hoke
says you've got to finish. It's
something we gotta deal with
Though Robinson had what
he called the worst game of his
career, his five interceptions and
the dismal red-zone showing
weren't connected - Robinson
passed in the red zone as much as
Smith did: just once.
The breakdown of red-zone
snaps is equal parts peculiar and
alarming: five runs, three sacks,
an incomplete pass and an inter-
The first and only pass Robin-
son got off on Saturday in the red
zone was an incomplete heave to
junior receiver Devin Gardner
in the corner of the end zone on
a last-ditch effort with less than
four minutes remaining in the
The ratio, though, shouldn't
necessarily be a surprise. Against
Massachusetts last week, Michi-
gan ran 13 running plays and four
pass plays in the red zone.
When asked what caused the
red-zone futility, Notre Dame's
scheme or Michigan's execution,
Hoke admitted, "It's always a lit-
tle bit of both."
"Score touchdowns," Hoke
said. "How do you do that? You
keep working your red-zone
offense, you keep knocking holes
in the defense, you keep running
crisp routes, you keep throwing
the ball on target."
Michigan coach Brady Hoke and Michigan drove into the red zone five times but came away with just six points.
Player C-A Yds TO
Robinson, D. 13-24 138
PSit N 1 A 0 0
Player At Yds Avg L
Robinson, D. 26 90 3.5 20
Toussaint 13 s8 4.5 31
Gallon 2 13 6.5 8
Totals 41 161 3.9 31
Player No. Yds Avg Lg
Gardner 3 40 13.3 1
Roundtree 3 3 100 1
Funchess 2 11 5.5
Robinson, . 1 20 20.0 2
oas 3 138 0 2
Player No. Yd 3Avg
Totals 1 34 34.0
Plae FRTRNo. Yds Avg
Norfleet 3 87 29.0
Totals 3 87 29.0
Player Solo Asst
Kovacs s 2
Demens 3 3
Ryan 5 0
Washington, Q. 1 2
Roh 0 3
Smith 0 1
Clark 0 1
asked about it. Michigan just self-
destructed on its own.
It began with a drive that start-
ed on the Notre Dame 10-yard
line midway through the first
quarter. After a rush by redshirt
junior Fitzgerald Toussaint lost
two yards, Robinson was sacked
on consecutive plays for losses
of three and 10 yards. Already
backed beyond the red zone, red-
shirt junior Brendan Gibbons
missed the 43-yard field goal.
Later in the quarter, after Rob-
inson scampered down to the
Notre Dame 10 once again for a
first down, Borges called for a
toss sweep to the right. Senior
this time, there was no Heming-
way there to catch it, so he
started running. Six times that
drive he ran, but Notre Dame
had seen this before, too, and
held Michigan to a field goal.
Michigan was within strik-
ing distance, 10-3.
Relieved, Robinson's girl-
friend returned to her row. This
was what it was supposed to
Something happened. It was
hard to see at the time.
Michigan just doesn't kick
many field goals. Robinson
is too explosive to not score
The Fighting Irish answered
Michigan's score with a field
goal of their own, and what's
more, they chewed up clock.
Notre Dame led 13-3. Robin-
son's girlfriend was back at the
wall, this time joined by Paris.
Again, Robinson drove
downfield for a field goal. The
three points made sense, cut-
ting the lead to one score, but
only 3:27 remained. For the first
time, this did not look right.
Last year, Michigan had more
"It's close, man," Durrel said.
For the first time, Durrel was
Remember when it was over
a year ago, you hugged your
friends and waved your pom
poms and screamed? This
year, the Notre Dame students
embraced their players and
waved Irish flags and yelled.
Remember how late you
stayed? Sang songs into the
This year, the Notre Dame
faithful stayed until well after
the game, singing "Oh What a
Night!" while the band danced
For all the fireworks, magic
and electrifying runs that have
marked Robinson's first two
games against Notre Dame, this
one ended with a thud.
The Fighting Irish had finally
solved the problem of Robinson
on the game's final possession:
don't let Robinson have the ball
of the game's final possession.
The game ended with two
Notre Dame first downs and a
Tommy Rees kneel.
"It's about time," said Eugene
Sharp, the usher in the parents
section. "About damn time. I
was still mad from last year."
Durrel and his companions
lingered for a few minutes.
Usually, Robinson doesn't like
to talk after a game, and Dur-
rel said he hadn't planned any-
thing to say to his little brother.
Under the stadium, Robinson
called the loss "the most disap-
pointed I've been in myself" in
Finally, Robinson's bigbroth-
er, best friends and girlfriend -
shocked, just like you - got up
There was nothing to say.
running back Vincent Smith
took the pitch and immediately
looked to pass. He rose over an
unrushing defender and aimed
for junior receiver Drew Dileo at
the goal line, but he misfired and
was intercepted by Notre Dame
freshman Nicky Baratti.
"If we get behind the guy and
throw the ball a little deeper it's
a good play," said Michigan coach
The third trip to the red zone
saw Robinson take the first snap
and bust up the middle for an
eight-yard gain - before fum-
bling the ball away on a hit by
junior linebacker Danny Spond.
came when fifth-year senior run-
ning back Vincent Smith was
intercepted on a halfback pass
play after the team had driven to
the Notre Dame 10-yard line.
It seemed like a fluke, a gim-
mick play that overshadowed
how crisply Robinson's passing
had moved the offense down the
field. But it proved to be just the
start of Robinson's nightmarish
night - the quarterback's next
three pass attempts were picked
off. (Though the last of which was
a low-risk Hail Mary at the end of
the first half.)
And after it appeared that the
Michigan offense had rediscov-
ered its rhythm, putting together
a sustained drive in its first pos-
session after halftime, it just as
quickly lost it when Robinson
fumbled the ball at Notre Dame's
The struggles in the passing
game weren't completely Rob-
inson's fault. Fifth-year senior
Roy Roundtree admitted that he
and the receivers weren't always
doing their part, and he credited
the Notre Dame defense for its
But Robinson would have none
of that after the game. He called it
the "worst game of (his) career,"
and seemed to put all the blame
on his shoulders.
The Fighting Irish offense
wasn't exactly a well-oiled
machine either, with Everett Gol-
son benched in favor of former
starter Tommy Rees in the sec-
ond quarter. But the unit was able
to do just enough to take advan-
tage of the Wolverines'-mistakes,
tallying what proved to be the
decisive 10 points in that same
After Golson threw two early
interceptions, Notre Dame played
largely mistake-free the rest of
the way. In a grinder of a game,
that was all that the home team
had to do - the six turnovers
it forced provided just enough
"I mean, (Robinson's) gotten
me the past two years, and total,
Michigan's got me three years,"
said Notre Dame linebacker
Manti Teo, who caught two of
Robinson's interceptions justover
a week after his grandmother and,
girlfriend both passed away.
"So I'm just glad on my last
one, on my last hurrah, I was
finally able to have something to
celebrate about, you know?"
The disappointment was an
unfamiliar feeling for the Wol-
verines, who themselves had
gotten used to celebrating after
this rivalry game in recent years.
But their six turnovers - five
from Robinson - made a win an
impossibility in the final try for
the quarterback and his fellow
In the wake of his perfor-
mance, Robinson said he was
going to talk to the team on
Sunday about how he would be
accountable to them going for-
ward. And as the fans filed out on
Saturday night after Michigan's
reversal of fortune, his promise to
never play like this again seemed
to echo around Notre Dame Sta-
"Whatever it takes for the team
to win, that's what I'm going to
do," Robinson said. "I don't want
to feel like this anymore."
Another red-zone mishap
came when a 14-play march
downfield stalled on the 15-yard
line and Gibbons banged home a
chip-shot field goal.
And the fifth and final trip to
the red zone came with Michi-
gan scrambling to make up a
two-score deficit. Robinson engi-
neered a six-play drive that took
the Wolverines down to the six-
yard line before a sack forced
another field goal.
Michigan never got another
chance. Robinson and Roundtree
couldn't repeat the play they'd
dreamed of for a year.
"We've got to finish, man,"
Senior quarterback Denard Robinson threw four interceptions.
AND 'LIKE' US TO
SEE CONTENT ON
Surely, you remember the
finish last year. The screen to
Vincent Smith. The heaves to
Junior Hemingway. The mira-
cles to Jeremy Gallon and Roy
It was time.
When play resumed, Paris
clutched Durrel as if playing
piggyback. Robinson's girl-
friend needed to get closer so
she migrated to the first row
aisle, held onto the wall and
craned her neck.
On the first drive of the quar-
ter, Robinson took control. It
Robinson looked deep, but