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Sunday, October 3, 2010
Denard Robinson's start one for the books

By Adam Rittenberg

Denard Robinson had barely crossed the goal line with the winning touchdown against Indiana when the naysayers piped up, as they've done after every Michigan game this season.

They talked about the "real defenses" Robinson soon would encounter in Big Ten play. They said Robinson of 2010 might as well be Tate Forcier of 2009. They talked about Michigan's inevitable collapse in October or November.

What happened to simply enjoying the show? Right now, Robinson is college football's top performer.

The Wolverines sophomore is doing things this season that we likely won't see again for a long time. After recording 277 pass yards and 217 rush yards against Indiana, Robinson became the first player in FBS history to eclipse 200 pass yards and 200 rush yards twice in his career. More amazing is that he's done so twice in a four-week span.

A lot of great quarterbacks face a lot of weak defenses in every league, but no signal-caller has started a season quite like this. Robinson set a Michigan single-game total offense record (383 yards) in the opener against Connecticut and has since broken his own mark twice. He has 905 rushing yards and 1,008 passing yards with more than a half-season to play. Robinson has eclipsed 100 rushing yards in each of his first five games. And after being a completely one-dimensional player as a freshman in 2009, Robinson has complemented his superior speed with surprising accuracy in the passing game.

Will Robinson keep up this pace? It's extremely unlikely.

Michigan will face much better defenses in its final seven games, including elite units from Ohio State, Iowa and Penn State. And Robinson's durability remains a question mark; he has been shaken up in every game this season.

Some folks will relish the day when Robinson looks human. They might be waiting a while.

For now, he's putting on a scintillating display. If you don't watch, you're missing out.