Nov. 19, 2011
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (Michigan Stadium)
Score: #20 Michigan 45, #17 Nebraska 17
Records: U-M (9-2, 5-2 Big Ten), Nebraska (8-3, 4-3 Big Ten)
Next U-M Game: Saturday, Nov. 26 -- vs. Ohio State (Michigan Stadium), Noon
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The University of Michigan football team (No. 20 AP/No. 18 USA Today Coaches) routed Nebraska (No. 17 AP/No. 16 USA Today Coaches), 45-17, on Saturday (Nov. 19) at Michigan Stadium for the Wolverines' first win against a ranked opponent this season. Michigan heavily outgained (418-260) and out-possessed (41:13-18:39) the Cornhuskers to improve to a perfect 7-0 record at the Big House in 2011.
Michigan rode the legs of junior/sophomore running back Fitzgerald Toussaint (Youngstown, Ohio/Liberty)and junior quarterback Denard Robinson (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach). Toussaint finished with a career-high 29 carries for 138 yards and two touchdowns, while Robinson earned 23 carries for 83 yards and two rushing scores. Toussaint eclipsed 100 rushing yards for the fourth time this season and the second time in as many weeks.
Through the air, Robinson completed 11-of-18 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns. Robinson's passing touchdowns were to junior/sophomore wide receiver Jeremy Gallon (Apopka, Fla./Apopka) and senior wideout Martavious Odoms (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee). Gallon recorded a team-high three catches for 34 yards and Odoms tallied two receptions for a season-best 47 yards.
Nebraska only reached the red zone twice and held possession for only 18:39 as Michigan posted six tackles-for-loss, three sacks, three fumble recoveries and a blocked punt. Senior/junior safety Jordan Kovacs (Curtice, Ohio/Clay) led the team with seven tackles and a TFL, while senior/junior middle linebacker Kenny Demens (Oak Park, Mich./Detroit Country Day) registered five tackles, an assisted sack and a pass breakup. Fifth-year senior defensive lineman Ryan Van Bergen added two TFLs -- bringing his total to seven in the past four games -- and a sack.
After both defenses forced three-and-outs to open the first quarter, Robinson led the Wolverines on an eight-play, 79-yard touchdown drive. Robinson sparked the drive on the first play, sprinting for 16 yards before being tripped up. Then, facing a third-and-eight, Robinson lobbed a 46-yard pass to senior/junior wide receiver Roy Roundtree (Trotwood, Ohio/Trotwood-Madison) down the right sideline inside the Nebraska five-yard line. Robinson capped the scoring drive two plays later with a six-yard pass to a crossing Gallon in the end zone for a 7-0 lead.
Junior/sophomore placekicker Brendan Gibbons (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman) drilled a career-long 42-yard field goal into the wind to add three points to Michigan's lead with 2:03 left in the first quarter. The Cornhuskers recovered quickly, putting 10 points on the scoreboard in a 4:05 span to tie the game with a 54-yard, play-action touchdown pass and a 51-yard field goal.
Michigan retook the lead on the ensuing drive, marching 74 yards in 12 plays in 6:07. Robinson converted two third-and-six situations with an eight-yard completion to fifth-year senior wideout Junior Hemingway (Conway, S.C./Conway) and an eight-yard rush to extend the drive. Facing his third third down of the drive, Robinson ran to the left on a designed keeper and burst through the hole untouched for a 14-yard touchdown, giving the Wolverines a 17-10 lead at halftime.
The Wolverines pulled away in the third quarter, capitalizing on Nebraska special-teams mistakes. On the kickoff to open the second half, senior/junior wide receiver Terrence Robinson (Klein, Texas/Oak) drilled the Nebraska returner, forcing his first career fumble that sophomore cornerback Courtney Avery (Mansfield, Ohio/Lexington) -- who also notched a TFL and pass breakup -- jumped on at the Cornhusker 33-yard line. After a 23-yard throwback screen to Gallon set up Michigan near the goal line, Robinson scored his second rushing touchdown of the day from one-yard out on a play-action rollout to the right pylon.
Nebraska was forced to punt on the next possession, but the punter dropped the snap. By the time he picked the football back up, sophomore/freshman safety Josh Furman (Annapolis, Md./Old Mill Senior) blocked the punt -- Michigan's first since 2009. The Wolverines appeared to have stalled at the Nebraska five-yard line, setting up a short field-goal attempt, but sophomore wideout and holder Drew Dileo (Greenwell Springs, La./Parkview Baptist) took the snap and scurried four yards for a first down. Toussaint bounced to the outside on the next play, scoring on a one-yard touchdown run untouched to give Michigan a 31-10 advantage with 5:03 remaining in the third quarter.
After the Cornhuskers scored on a well-designed, three-yard option play late in the third quarter, the Wolverines added two more touchdowns. Robinson threw a perfect 38-yard touchdown strike to Odoms in the back of the end zone, and Toussaint added his second rushing score of the game on a tackle-breaking, 31-yard run following Nebraska's third fumble with 7:33 left in the fourth quarter for Michigan's final touchdown.
Michigan closes the 2011 regular season at home against arch-rival Ohio State next Saturday (Nov. 26). Kickoff is noon on ESPN or ABC.
Contact: Justin Dickens (734) 763-4423