Sept. 17, 2011
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Michigan Stadium)
Score: Michigan 31, Eastern Michigan 3
Records: U-M (3-0), Eastern Michigan (2-1)
Next U-M Game: Saturday, Sept. 24 -- vs. San Diego State (Michigan Stadium), Noon
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Junior quarterback Denard Robinson (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach) and junior running back Vincent Smith (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee) each eclipsed 100 yards rushing as the University of Michigan football team ran over Eastern Michigan, 31-3, on Saturday (Sept. 17) at Michigan Stadium. Robinson neared his career high in rushing attempts with 26, amassing 198 yards and a touchdown, while Smith ran the ball nine times for 118 yards.
The Wolverines piled up 376 rushing yards (2 TDs), the most since registering 466 rushing yards against Bowling Green last season. Robinson and Smith became the first Wolverines to both eclipse 100 rushing yards in the same game since Robinson and senior running back Michael Shaw (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison) accomplished the feat last season against Massachusetts. Junior/sophomore tailback Fitzgerald Toussaint (Youngstown, Ohio/Liberty) added 11 carries for 46 yards and punched in a one-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Robinson completed 7-of-18 passes for 95 yards but still managed to throw for two touchdowns, connecting with senior tight end Kevin Koger (Toledo, Ohio/Whitmer) in the second quarter for Michigan's first touchdown and sophomore wide receiver Drew Dileo (Greenwell Springs, La./Parkview Baptist) in the third quarter. Junior/sophomore wideout Jeremy Gallon (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) was Robinson's favorite target, grabbing three passes for a team-high 43 yards.
On defense, junior/sophomore safety Thomas Gordon (Detroit, Mich./Cass Technical) tallied his first career fumble recovery and first career interception while adding six tackles. Both of Gordon's takeaways keyed U-M's first-half defense. In his first career start, junior outside linebacker Brandin Hawthorne (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee) earned his first double-digit tackle performance with a team-high 10 stops, including a tackle-for-loss. Junior Craig Roh (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral) made five tackles, including his first sack of the season, and sophomore Jibreel Black (Cincinnati, Ohio/Wyoming) registered four tackles and his first career forced fumble.
Michigan only tallied 32 total offensive yards in the first quarter while allowing Eastern Michigan to gain 122 yards on the ground. The Eagles moved the ball into red zone on two early drives, but EMU could only put three points on the scoreboard. On the first drive, Eastern Michigan opted to go for the end zone on fourth-and-goal from the one-yard line, but senior/junior safety Jordan Kovacs (Curtice, Ohio/Clay) stuffed the leaping Eagles ball carrier short of the goal line to force a turnover on downs. EMU stalled at the four-yard line on the second drive and kicked a 21-yard field goal for a 3-0 lead to start the second quarter.
The game began to turn in Michigan's favor early in the second quarter when Gordon made a miraculous one-handed interception three yards shy of the Michigan goal line on an EMU trick pass play. The offense proceeded to march 97 yards down the field for a touchdown and Michigan's first lead of the game, 7-3. Robinson rushed on the drive's first four plays for 76 yards, including a season-long 52-yard scamper, and capped the scoring drive by tossing a nine-yard touchdown pass to Koger.
The Maize and Blue tacked on another touchdown with 39 seconds left in the second quarter to take a 14-3 lead heading into halftime. Michigan moved the ball downfield quickly, covering 87 yards in just six plays. All six plays were runs, featuring Robinson and Smith. Both Robinson and Smith registered 38 rushing yards on the drive, with Robinson earning four carries and Smith doing it on one long run up the left sidelines. Robinson finished the drive with an untouched 11-yard touchdown up the middle of the field on a designed quarterback run.
Michigan began to pull away from Eastern Michigan in the second half with long, sustained touchdown drives. Toussaint recorded his third rushing touchdown of the season on U-M's opening drive of the third quarter, diving across the goal line from one yard out to put the Wolverines ahead of the Eagles, 21-3. Dileo added another Michigan touchdown -- the first of his career -- on the ensuing possessing, snagging a Robinson bullet on a fake quarterback draw for a 19-yard score with 1:05 left in the third quarter.
Robinson led the Wolverines on another long scoring drive late in the fourth quarter. The 13-play, 84-yard possession stalled inside EMU's five-yard line when a Robinson third-down pass was a little too high for the outstretched hands of senior/junior tight end Brandon Moore (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison) in the end zone. Michigan settled for its first field goal of the season -- a 21-yarder -- by junior/sophomore placekicker Brendan Gibbons (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman) for the game's final score, 31-3.
Michigan rounds out its non-conference slate next Saturday (Sept. 24) against San Diego State at Michigan Stadium. The Wolverines and the Aztecs will kickoff at noon and be televised on BTN.
Contact: Justin Dickens (734) 763-4423