No. 21 Mississippi State Too Much for Wolverines in Gator Bowl

Jan. 1, 2011

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• Audio Quotes: Coach Rodriguez | Senior DT Greg Banks | Junior SR Martavious Odoms

Site: Jacksonville, Fla. (Everbank Field)
Event: Gator Bowl
Score: #21 Mississippi State 52, Michigan 14
Record: U-M (7-6), Mississippi State (9-4)
Attendance: 77,497
Next U-M Game: Season Complete

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The University of Michigan football team was unable to climb out from a first-half deficit at the 2011 Gator Bowl on New Year's Day, falling 52-14 to No. 21 Mississippi State at Everbank Field. The Wolverines were unable to even their all-time bowl record and finish the campaign with a 7-6 record.

Sophomore quarterback Denard Robinson (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach HS) gained 313 yards of total offense. He carried the ball 11 times for 59 yards and completed 27-of-41 passes for 254 yards with two touchdowns and one interception.

Junior wide receiver Darryl Stonum (Stafford, Texas/Dulles HS) and junior/sophomore Roy Roundtree (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison HS) led the receiving effort. Roundtree had a game-high nine catches for 53 yards with one touchdown, while Stonum hauled in seven passes for a team-best 59 yards.

The Wolverines were led defensively by junior/sophomore Kenny Demens (Oak Park, Mich./Detroit Country Day), who had 11 tackles on the day. Junior linebacker J.B. Fitzgerald (Princeton Junction, N.J./West Windsor Plainsboro HS) recorded a game-high two tackles for loss, including his first career sack for a loss of 19 yards.

Michigan took the opening kickoff and marched 78 yards in 10 plays to take a 7-0 lead on a 10-yard pass from Robinson to Roundtree. Robinson had two huge runs during the drive, a run of 24 yards into Bulldogs territory and a 22-yard scamper to the 11-yard line. He completed all three passes for 27 yards on the drive. Sophomore running back Vincent Smith (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee HS) added four carries for nine yards.

Mississippi State answered on its opening possession on a four-yard pass from Chris Relf to receiver Arceto Clark on third-and-goal. After holding the Wolverines on their second possession, the Bulldogs grabbed the lead, 10-7, on a 42-yard field goal by Derek Depasquale with 2:23 remaining in the first quarter. Mississippi State received great field position at U-M's 29-yard line after blocking a punt by freshman Will Hagerup (Milwaukee, Wis./Whitefish Bay HS).

The Wolverines took the ensuing kickoff and regained the lead, 14-10, on a 27-yard touchdown pass to junior Martavious Odoms (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee HS) with 34 second left in the first quarter. The five-play drive covered 72 yards in 100 seconds. Robinson completed all four passes for 72 yards, with each of the four completions coming to a different receiver.

The Bulldogs continued the scoring affair with a two-yard TD run by running back Vick Ballard to grab a 17-10 lead. Nine of their 10 plays on the scoring drive were on the ground, the only pass being a 29-yard toss from Relf to Clark that set up a first-and-goal at U-M's five-yard line. Relf carried for three yards on the very next play and Ballard scored on second down.

Mississippi State received possession in Michigan territory for the second time on the day as Robinson's third-down pass intended for senior/junior wide receiver Junior Hemingway (Conway, S.C./Conway HS) was intercepted on a diving catch by Jonathan Banks. The Bulldogs took over at Michigan's 43-yard line and converted a fourth-down and two third-down plays, including the one-yard scoring run over right end by Relf. The Bulldogs' scoring drive covered 43 yards in 12 plays and increased their lead to 24-14 at 6:35 of the second quarter.

The Wolverines took the ensuing kickoff and moved to the Bulldogs' 31-yard line but were unable to convert a fourth down play relinquishing possession. Robinson tossed a 36-yard pass to junior tight end Kevin Koger (Toledo, Ohio/Whitmer HS) to move the ball to MSU's 42-yard line on the initial play of the series. Robinson added a 10-yard run to gain another first down before the series stalled on four consecutive plays.

Mississippi State took a 31-14 lead with 25 seconds left in the first half as Relf completed a 15-yard touchdown pass to Ricco Sanders. The 11-play, 68-yard drive consumed 3:01.

The defense forced the Bulldogs into their first punt on the opening series of the second half. Hemingway gave U-M excellent field position as he returned the punt 33 yards to the Bulldogs' 23-yard line. Michigan was unable to gain a first down and could not gain any points as redshirt freshman kicker Brendan Gibbons (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman HS) pushed a 35-yard field goal attempt wide left.

Mississippi State increased its lead to 38-14 as Vick Ballard scored on a one-yard run over left tackle on a fourth down play. The 14-play, 80-yard drive covered 5:27, with Ballard carrying six times for 26 yards. Relf completed both passes for 11 and 12 yards and added a two-yard run.

For the third straight series, Michigan moved into scoring position but came up empty as Robinson's fourth-down pass fell incomplete in the right corner of the end zone. The pass intended for Hemingway was batted down by cornerback Johnthan Banks.

Mississippi State increased its lead to 45-14 on a seven-yard touchdown run by Vick Ballard with 10 seconds remaining in the third quarter. It was Ballard's third rushing score of the game. The Bulldogs hit an 81-yard inside screen to LaDarius Perkin to the seven-yard line. Ballard scored on the very next play. Following a turnover on downs, Relf tossed a 31-yard touchdown pass to receiver Michael Carr on a fourth-and-10 play to close the scoring at 52-14.

Contact: David Ablauf (734) 763-4423

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