Too good, really.
The fleet sophomore quarterback added another chapter to his already amazing season, lobbing a 42-yard pass with 21 seconds left to set up his own 4-yard TD run and lift No. 19 Michigan to a 42-35 victory over Indiana.
"We don't consider any run with Denard to be conservative," coach Rich Rodriguez said. "We had him run toward the middle of the field so that if he did not score, the field goal was going to be an extra point. But Denard, being Denard, he saw a crease and was able to score."
That's been the story of Michigan's season.
Robinson left last week's game with a bruised left knee, and Rodriguez spent the early part of the week trying to get Michigan's top player healthy. Robinson also left briefly in the third quarter after hurting the knee again.
But whatever the Wolverines (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) did during the week and on the bench worked.
The nation's top runner carried 19 times for 217 yards and two TDs -- and was even more efficient through the air. He went 10 of 16 for 277 yards with three TDs.
Indiana (3-1, 0-1) never could quite handle Robinson.
He scored on Michigan's second offensive play, a brilliant 72-yard run, and on the Wolverines' final play. In between, the threat of giving up another big play to Robinson opened up Robinson's teammates for their own big plays, and the combination was too much for Indiana.
Michigan has now won 17 straight in the series, dating to 1987.
"He's got speed, he's got awareness, he's got instincts, and he's a very, very good passer as well," Indiana coach Bill Lynch said of Robinson. "You can see it on film, getting ready for him, but on the field you sense the same thing."
This wasn't what Hoosiers fans expected.
The contest had been billed as a barometer for the season, and for the first time since the Memorial Stadium renovation was finished last season, Indiana played in front of a sellout crowd at home. It also was the first time attendance in Bloomington topped 50,000 for an opponent other than Ohio State or Purdue since 1992.
And the Indiana offense certainly made it exciting.
Fifth-year senior Ben Chappell was 45 of 64 for 480 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, his first of the season. He set single-game school records for completions, attempts and yardage.
Tandon Doss caught 15 passes for 221 yards. Damarlo Belcher had 10 receptions for 91 yards and one TD, and Darius Willis ran 18 times for 59 yards and scored three times -- twice on runs and the final one, a 19-yard TD catch, to tie the score at 35 with 1:15 to go.
Statistically, the Hoosiers dictated the game. They had 35 first downs to Michigan's 15 and nearly 42 minutes of possession to Michigan's 18:13.
"They ran 98 plays to 45 for us," Rodriguez groaned. "I don't like seeing that."
But Michigan had the fast-acting Robinson, and that was all the Wolverines needed.
After Indiana opened the game with an 11-play drive, capped by Chappell's 5-yard TD pass to Duwyce Wilson, Robinson found a crease on the Wolverines' second play and sprinted to the end zone to make it 7-7.
It was a preview of coming attractions.
Michigan needed only five more plays to make it 14-7, and when Indiana tied the score again at 21 on the last play of the first half, Robinson struck back immediately.
Then, on the second play of the second half, Robinson found Junior Hemingway for a 70-yard TD catch that gave Michigan a 28-21 lead and brought a hush over a stadium clad mostly in red.
Willis's 22-yard TD run whipped up the crowd again, and 45 seconds after that, Michigan's Vincent Smith sprinted 56 yards to break the tie.
But the frantic finish was the best part.
Willis took Chappell's screen pass on fourth-and-5, turned up the left sideline, eluded a tackle by safety Jordan Kovacs and jogged into the end zone to tie the score at 35 with 1:15 to go. The red shirts were going wild -- until Robinson got his hands on the ball one time.
He started the drive with an 8-yard run. He broke free for a 17-yard run. He got around the left side for a gain of 2. And then, he heaved the high-arching pass to Hemingway who made a leaping catch and spun his way down to the Indiana 4. On the next play, Robinson went left, turned inside and dived in for the score.
Game, and upset bid, over.
"I knew he [Hemingway] could go up and get the ball and I just said I'm going to put it up there so he could go get it," Robinson said. "I'm all right, the knee is fine."
And so is Michigan's undefeated season.
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