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Robinson, Wolverines rout Huskers

Nov 19, 2011 - 11:18 PM Ann Arbor, MI (Sports Network) - Nebraska made its first visit to the Big House in nearly half a century and probably won't want to return anytime soon.

Denard Robinson threw a pair of touchdown passes and ran for two scores, as 20th-ranked Michigan rolled to a 45-17 victory over the 17th-ranked Huskers.

The Wolverines not only ruined Nebraska's first trip to Michigan Stadium since 1962, but they also gave their state rivals a berth in the first-ever Big Ten championship game. Michigan State cruised to a 55-3 win over Indiana on Saturday and wrapped up the Legends Division of the conference to earn a date against Wisconsin or Penn State in the December 3 title game in Indianapolis.

Robinson completed 11-of-18 passes for 180 yards and ran for 83 yards on 23 carries for the Wolverines (9-2, 5-2 Big Ten), who will close the regular season at home next Saturday with the traditional finale against Ohio State. Fitzgerald Toussaint added 138 yards on the ground for Michigan, which totaled 238 rushing yards overall.

"It was a very physical game," said Toussaint. "We prepared all week for this game, and we knew what was coming, so we expected everything we got."

Nebraska (8-3, 4-3) was coming off last week's emotional win at Penn State and was trying to win road games against ranked teams in back-to-back weeks for the first time in school history.

The Wolverines wouldn't allow it. The Huskers finished with 138 yards on the ground and 260 yards overall, and didn't convert a third down until the second half. Michigan also held the ball for more than 41 minutes to just under 19 for Nebraska.

Taylor Martinez struggled under center for Nebraska, completing just 9-of-23 passes for 122 yards. He was sacked three times and also finished as the team's leading rusher with 49 yards on 16 carries.

Rex Burkhead, the first Nebraska I-back to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing in 10 games or fewer since Dahrran Diedrick in 2001, managed just 36 yards on 10 carries for the Huskers.

"We knew going into it that we had to do a good job up front and our front seven had to do a good job playing the run," said Michigan coach Brady Hoke. "I think we were able to do that."

Michigan carried a 17-10 edge to the intermission and took advantage of a pair of Nebraska miscues in the third quarter to build a three-touchdown cushion.

Kenny Bell fumbled away the opening kickoff of the second half, giving the Wolverines possession at the Nebraska 33. Robinson quickly put Michigan inside the 10 with a 23-yard pass to Jeremy Gallon, then finished the seven-play set with a one-yard touchdown run for a 24-10 lead.

The Huskers were forced to punt from midfield, but Brett Maher mishandled the snap and had his kick blocked. Michigan took over at the 50 and again drove inside the Nebraska 10. The Wolverines were set for a field goal on 4th-and-1 from the five, but ran a fake instead and Drew Dileo picked up the necessary yardage for a first down, setting up Toussaint's one-yard scoring run to make it 31-10 with just over five minutes left in the period.

A trade of punts left Nebraska with the ball at the Michigan 31 late in the third and Ameer Abdullah scored on a three-yard run to pull the Huskers within 14.

Robinson, though, capped an 86-yard drive with a perfectly thrown 38-yard TD strike to Martavious Odoms to give the Wolverines a 38-17 advantage early in the fourth.

Tim Marlowe fumbled the ensuing kickoff, but Michigan was unable to capitalize when Brendan Gibbons missed a 42-yard field goal. However, Martinez fumbled while being sacked soon after and Toussaint broke free for a 31-yard score on the next play to account for the final margin.

"We can't play that way on the road and expect to win a football game," said Nebraska coach Bo Pelini. "The penalties, the turnovers, all the things that we preach and what we were doing well we weren't doing today."

After each team punted to start the game, Michigan took its second possession and went 79 yards in eight plays for a touchdown. Robinson completed a 46-yard pass to Roy Roundtree on 3rd-and-8 to set up a first down at the Nebraska two, then found Gallon in the end zone from six yards away for a 7-0 lead.

A poor Nebraska punt followed and Michigan converted the good field position, despite Robinson taking a 13-yard loss on a third-down sack, into a 42-yard field goal by Gibbons.

Nebraska answered immediately as Brandon Kinnie got behind the Michigan secondary and hauled in a 54-yard touchdown pass from Martinez to make it 10-7 with 1:17 left in the opening period.

Robinson was picked off by lineman Terrence Moore early in the second quarter, giving the Huskers possession at the Michigan 34. Nebraska managed just one yard before Maher drilled a 51-yard field goal to tie it.

The Wolverines responded with a 12-play drive and regained the lead when Robinson scored on a 14-yard run with just over six minutes left in the half.

Game Notes

Michigan is the winningest program in college football history, earning its 893rd win on Saturday, while Nebraska is fourth with 845 victories...The Wolverines lead the all-time series, 4-2-1. The Huskers won the last meeting, 32-28, in the 2005 Alamo Bowl. Michigan beat Nebraska in the 1986 Fiesta Bowl, 27-23...Nebraska will close its regular season next week at home against Iowa.