Michigan Football: Denard Robinson's Heisman Hopes Could Hinge on Alabama Opener
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Denard Robinson's performance in the Sugar Bowl victory over Virginia Tech did little for his legacy.
The Michigan quarterback rushed 13 times for a net 13 yards. His passing numbers were equally indifferent. He completed nine of 21 passes for 117 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Granted, the Wolverine offense struggled throughout the evening with Virginia Tech's always tough defense.
But, Robinson's statistics dipped from the 2010 season where he was the Big Ten's offensive player of the year and finished sixth in the balloting for the Heisman Trophy.
Last season, Michigan began transitioning from the read-option offense to a more traditional pro-style attack. “Shoelace” continued to be an outstanding option runner, but his 15 total interceptions turned off the Heisman voters.
With Michigan expecting another banner season and Robinson correcting his passing flaws this spring, the senior signal-caller is back in the Heisman race for 2012.
The early Las Vegas odds have Robinson tied with Wisconsin running back Montee Ball at 5-1, just behind quarterback (7-2) Matt Barkley of Southern Cal.
A pair of quarterbacks round out the top five, reports betvega.com. Oklahoma's Landry Jones checks in at 13-2, while West Virginia's Geno Smith is 7-1.
Robinson, however, couldn't ask for a bigger stage to begin his 2012 campaign. Michigan faces defending national champion Alabama Sept. 1, in what could quickly define the Wolverines' place among the elite of college football.
Who's your 2012 Heisman winner?
Going into his senior season, Robinson is already eighth on Michigan's all-time rushing list with 3,229 yards. A realistic 1000-yard season would land Robinson in fourth place, behind career leader Michael Hart (5,040), Anthony Thomas (4,472) and Jamie Morris (4,393).
On the passing ledger, Robinson begins 2012 with 4,931 yards, good enough for seventh, barely behind New England Patriot Tom Brady.
Robinson has no chance of catching career leader Chad Henne (9,715) or John Navarre, but barring injury, he'll finish his career third all-time, not bad for a dual-threat quarterback.
In comparison, Barkley completed 308 of 446 passes for 3528 yards, 39 touchdowns and only seven interceptions last season.
Ball led the nation in rushing with 1,923 yards, for a per-carry average of 6.3.
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