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Robinson helps Michigan snap skid against Ohio State

Nov 26, 2011 - 10:50 PM Ann Arbor, MI (Sports Network) - Denard Robinson did it all and Michigan finally found a way to beat Ohio State.

Robinson ran for 170 yards with a pair of touchdowns on 26 carries and completed 14-of-17 passes for 167 yards with three scores, as the 17th-ranked Wolverines halted a seven-game losing streak to their arch-rivals with a thrilling 40-34 victory at Michigan Stadium.

"This means the world to us," said Michigan center David Molk, a senior.

Fitzgerald Toussaint added 120 yards on 20 carries for Michigan (10-2, 6-2 Big Ten), which hadn't beaten Ohio State since 2003 and could be in line for an at-large bid to a BCS bowl game. It was just the second win for the Wolverines in the last 11 meetings.

Each of the last 10 matchups came with Jim Tressel as Ohio State's head coach. Tressel resigned in the wake of a scandal involving his supposed knowledge of players selling items and memorabilia, giving Luke Fickell the job on an interim basis.

This may have been Fickell's only chance to beat the Wolverines, as reports during the week indicated that Urban Meyer has agreed to a seven-year deal to become Ohio State's next head coach. Meyer, who led Florida to a pair of national championships, denied the reports.

Fickell said he wouldn't discuss the coaching situation "out of respect for the (Ohio State-Michigan) rivalry."

"We've tried to focus on the things that we can control. I told them I wouldn't worry about it, and if we spent our energy worrying about that then we would have problems," the coach said. "I haven't thought about it and I'm not going to talk about it."

Michigan's Brady Hoke, meanwhile, was a winner in his first try against Ohio State. It marked just the third time in the series that both schools had first-year coaches. The others came in 1897 and 1929.

"It's an important game," said Hoke. "Since Day 1 I've said that. It's a great rivalry. But to see those kids, the joys, the tears, that's why you coach and that's why this is such a great game."

While Robinson dazzled for Michigan, Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller was nearly as good. The true freshman ran for 100 yards with a score on 16 carries and threw for 235 yards with a pair of touchdowns.

He was intercepted once, by Courtney Avery on a fourth-down pass in the final minute.

Ohio State (6-6, 3-5) concluded its season with three straight losses -- all by six points or fewer -- and finished with a losing Big Ten record for the first time since a similar 3-5 mark in 1999. That season also ended 6-6 overall and was the last time the Buckeyes failed to produce a winning record. The Buckeyes haven't had a losing season since a 4-6-1 mark in John Cooper's first year in 1988.

Michigan trailed 24-23 at the break, but Robinson engineered an 11-play drive on the first series of the second half to put his team back on top. A 26-yard pass to Kevin Koger keyed the series, which nearly ended at the Ohio State 20 when Robinson fumbled. He managed to recover and on 3rd-and-11 found Martavious Odoms for a 20-yard score.

The Buckeyes then drove into Michigan territory before being forced to punt, but got the ball right back when Wolverines punter Will Hagerup mishandled a snap. Ohio State took over on downs at the Michigan 32 and a 23-yard run by Miller soon after set up a first down at the five. Michigan's defense stiffened and forced a 21-yard Drew Basil field goal, which pulled Ohio State within 30-27 with 12:50 remaining.

Michigan answered with a 75-yard touchdown march to open a two-score edge, as Robinson found Koger in the end zone from four yards away on 3rd-and-1 to make it 37-27 with 8 1/2 minutes to play.

It didn't take long for Ohio State to respond, as Miller completed three passes for a total of 72 yards and Boom Herron scored on a four-yard run to again make it a three-point contest with 7:09 left. Herron was limited to 37 yards on 15 carries.

"If you would have told me that," said Hoke of Herron's output, "I probably wouldn't have believed it. But [our guys] did a nice job."

Toussaint and Robinson then ate up more than five minutes on the ensuing series. A 28-yard Robinson pass to Drew Dileo got Michigan to midfield and the ground game took over from there. The Wolverines appeared to score twice, but a Toussaint run was reversed on a video review and a Robinson score was called back by a penalty. Brendan Gibbons then booted a 43-yard field goal to give Michigan a tenuous six-point lead with just 1:59 remaining.

Miller did his best to give the Buckeyes a chance. After missing a wide open DeVier Posey for what would have been a 76-yard touchdown, he ran for seven yards on 4th-and-6, absorbing a driving hit while leaping for the first down, then soon after was picked off on another fourth down to seal the outcome.

"You get knocked down, you have to get back up," Fickell said of the loss. "I learned a lot from it, and we'll get back up, make sure the young guys know that they'll be back here in two years, and don't forget those feelings.

"If you need more emotion than was here today to play, then you're in the wrong place."

Michigan notched its first 10-win season since 2006 and its first-ever eight- win home season.

Ohio State took the opening kickoff and marched 80 yards in just six plays for a touchdown. Miller keyed the set with a third-down completion and ran for 16 yards before finding Corey Brown all alone behind the Michigan secondary for a 54-yard scoring play.

Michigan answered on its second possession when Robinson broke free down the left sideline for a 41-yard touchdown scamper.

Three penalties on the next Ohio State series led to points for Michigan. A holding penalty and a false start pushed the Buckeyes back to their own five and a holding call in the end zone gave the Wolverines a safety for a 9-7 lead. It marked the first lead for Michigan in the series since November 17, 2007, a span of 15 quarters.

Jeremy Gallon returned the ensuing free kick to the Michigan 48 and the Wolverines took advantage of the short field to extend their advantage. After Stephen Hopkins picked up a first down with a three-yard gain on 4th-and-1, Robinson capped the eight-play set with a 26-yard strike to Junior Hemingway for a 16-7 lead.

A 45-yard field goal by Basil pulled the Buckeyes within six early in the second quarter and a Robinson fumble on the next Michigan series led to Miller's 19-yard touchdown run to give Ohio State a 17-16 edge.

The Wolverines responded with an 80-yard drive to move back in front. Toussaint's 46-yard run put Michigan inside the Ohio State 20 and Robinson finished the nine-play series with a six-yard TD run.

Just over three minutes remained until the intermission, but it was more than enough time for the Buckeyes as Miller found a wide open Posey for a 43-yard score to send Ohio State to the break with a 24-23 edge.

Game Notes

Robinson is now sixth in Michigan history with 38 career TD passes, surpassing Tom Brady's 35 and Todd Collins' 37...Robinson and Toussaint both eclipsed 1,000 yards rushing for the season, giving Michigan two players with 1,000 yards in the same year for the first time since Gordon Bell and Rob Lytle in 1975...Ohio State's seven-game winning streak was the second-longest in the history of the series, trailing only the nine-game run by Michigan from 1901-09...The Wolverines lead the all-time series, 58-44-6.