Robinson’s Splash

It’s early, but the critics are already raving about Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson, who after only two college football games is the talk of the town.

And why not? In consecutive weeks, the sophomore from Deerfield Beach, Florida, has cobbled together two of the most amazing performances ever.

Robinson’s 502 total yards during last Saturday’s 28-24, come-from-behind victory over Notre Dame has some now calling him a Heisman Trophy candidate, while others saying he’s the second coming of Vince Young.

Though Young didn’t claim the statue as college football’s best player, he did lead the Texas Longhorns to the national title in 2005 over USC in one of the most memorable games ever played.

There were enough sizzling plays on Saturday, but the one that had the sold-out stadium buzzing was Robinson’s 87-yard burst late in the second quarter that gave the Wolverines (2-0) a 21-7 lead at the half.

Robinson, who carried the ball 28 times for 258 yards, took the snap while in the shot gun formation, then veered right, and after beating two Irish defenders, broke into daylight. This was the second longest run ever against Notre Dame.

What’s so chilling is the ease in which the soon-to-be 20-year-old plays, seemingly under control with confidence and poise.

Afterward, Robinson, who completed 24 of 40 passes for 244 yards, had no idea he re-broke the school record for total yards. His concern wasn’t how many yards he gained, but whether his team prevailed.

Michigan’s game-winning drive was a thing of beauty because it featured Robinson’s throwing arm, which has been questioned.

On the 72-yard, 12-play drive, Robinson, who stands six-feet tall, and weighs 195 pounds, hit on five of five passes before running the ball in from two yards out for the score and 27 seconds left.

In Robinson’s first game as a starter against the University of Connecticut, he finished with 383 total yards, including 186 yards through the air on 19 of 22 attempts.

There were some who suggested that while the Huskies have a decent program, the game was at home in the “Big House.’’

He’d get a real challenge on the road at Notre Dame, one of the most legendary venues, where the Fighting Irish are known to be a difficult opponent.

And it appeared this was going to be the case, as Notre Dame (1-1) marched 71 yards on 13 plays, with quarterback Dayne Crist scoring on a one-yard run with 11:19 left in the first quarter.

This would be Crist’s only time on the field in the opening half, after suffering from blurred vision in his right eye following a hard hit.

Crist would return in the second half and rally the Irish with a 53-yard scoring pass to wide receiver T.J. Jones with just under 13 minutes left in the third quarter that trimmed the lead to 21-14, and a 95-yard pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph with 3:41 left in the game.

David Ruffer’s 24-yard field goal with just under nine minutes remaining in the third quarter got Notre Dame within 21-17.

Robinson’s 31-yard scoring toss to wide receiver Roy Roundtree tied it at 7-7 with 8:06 showing in the first quarter.

After running back Stephen Hopkins carried the ball in from two yards out late in the first quarter, the Wolverines led 14-7.

But this day clearly belonged to Robinson.

Rick Assad has been a sportswriter for more than two decades. He has a political science degree from UCLA, a journalism degree from CSUN, and is a staff writer for diamondboxing.com, and is a columnist for socalboxing.wordpress.com. You may e-mail him at richsports5@sbcglobal.net.

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