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Robinson leads No. 12 Michigan past Northwestern

Oct 9, 2011 - 4:51 AM Evanston, IL (Sports Network) - Denard Robinson threw two touchdown passes and ran for a pair of scores, as the 12th-ranked Michigan Wolverines used a strong second half to down the Northwestern Wildcats, 42-24.

Robinson overcame three first half interceptions, finishing with 290 passing yards and 117 rushing yards.

Junior Hemingway caught five passes for 124 yards for the Wolverines (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten), who scored 28 unanswered points to close the game.

Dan Persa completed 32-of-44 passes for 331 yards and an interception for the Wildcats (2-3, 0-2), while Kain Colter, Adonis Smith and Treyvon Green each had a rushing touchdown.

Northwestern held a 24-14 lead at the half, but the Wolverines thoroughly dominated the rest of the contest.

"We said what it was," said Michigan coach Brady Hoke. "We were down 10 points. We had thrown three interceptions for one reason or another, we'd had three penalties on ourselves offensively, we were not getting off blocks on the back end defensively, and that's what it was. That's kind of what we talked about, nothing more, and we talked about how we want to be as a Michigan football team."

The Wolverines opened the third quarter with an eight-play, 80-yard touchdown drive. Robinson hit Roy Roundtree for a 57-yard completion during the march and lost his shoe as he jumped into the end zone from two yards out to make it a 24-21 game.

After a Wildcats three-and-out, Robinson injured his left arm on 12-yard rush to the Northwestern one-yard line. On 3rd-and-goal, backup quarterback Devin Gardner found the end zone on a naked bootleg to give the Wolverines a 28-24 lead.

Persa was intercepted on the fourth play of the Wildcats' next drive, as Brandin Hawthorne came down with the tipped pass near midfield.

With Robinson back on the field, the Wolverines capitalized, stretching their advantage to 35-24 on Michael Shaw's two-yard touchdown plunge at the start of the fourth quarter.

The woes continued for the Wildcats. They moved to the Michigan 42-yard line on their next possession, but Jeremy Ebert fumbled and Thomas Gordon recovered for the Wolverines.

This time Michigan couldn't capitalize, as Brendan Gibbons' 37-yard field goal attempt was blocked. But the defense held, forcing Northwestern into a 4th- and-5. Jordan Kovacs then came free and ripped Persa's helmet off, resulting in a sack and a turnover on downs.

Robinson's five-yard touchdown run in the closing minutes sealed the final score and the Michigan win.

Robinson opened the game with a nine-yard touchdown pass to Steve Watson on the Wolverines' first drive, but struggled to protect the ball going forward.

"He just let the ball float a little bit on him a couple times," said Hoke. "That's fundamentals and techniques and things that we have to constantly talk about, but the kid's a competitor and he loves to play."

Colter reeled off a game-tying, 15-yard touchdown run on the Wildcats' next possession before Robinson was intercepted by Ibraheim Campbell on the Wolverines' ensuing drive.

Green took advantage with a seven-yard touchdown run, giving Northwestern a 14-7 lead.

Michigan then drove the Northwestern 16-yard line, but Campbell registered another interception to end the scoring threat.

Again the Michigan defense responded, forcing a punt. The Wolverines stuffed Smith on a 4th-and-1 later in the second quarter, before Robinson connected with Jeremy Gallon for a 25-yard, game-tying touchdown.

Smith atoned with a two-yard touchdown run to put the Wildcats on top, 21-14, and Brian Peters intercepted Robinson on Michigan's next drive, which led to a 20-yard field goal by Jeff Budzien as the first half drew to a close.

Game Notes

Since 1975, the Wolverines have played in the Rose Bowl every year that they have started 6-0...Michigan has won nine of the last 11 meetings with Northwestern. It was the schools' first meeting since Northwestern's 21-14 win November 15, 2008, at Michigan Stadium.