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Heisman Watch: Denard Robinson Must Play Game of Life to Beat Alabama

D. Owen YoungContributor IIAugust 31, 2012

For Big Ten fans across America, this weekend is a dream.  

Tonight looks to be a fun contest, as the Michigan State University Spartans host the explosive Boise State University Broncos, a game broadcast on ESPN tonight at 8 p.m. ET.  The game of the week in America, however, will take place tomorrow night between the University of Michigan and the defending national champions, Alabama. 

The game is being played on neutral turf in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.  A huge venue, but a bigger collegiate contest; and players from both universities will be showcased in this clash of titans broadcast on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.

Brady Hoke, University of Michigan's second-year coach, has done one heck of a job with his football team in a little more than a year.  The team had a wonderful season last year. 

Tomorrow, however, this blockbuster of a first game of the season hinges on the most important offensive player Michigan has ever seen.  Ironically, Denard Robinson, aka "Shoelace," was a recruit of deposed former coach, Rich Rodriguez. 

While Hoke may prefer a pocket-passer to Robinson's intuitive, explosive style of play, he's smart enough to know he has too few weapons and the gift of a lifetime in his quarterback.  Like an experienced horseman, he knows when to give his Thoroughbred his head ... and last year he did, a lot!

After a quality 2012 recruiting class, Hoke filled some holes on both sides of the ball.  He is, however, up against the most effective, active college football coach—Nick Saban.  Hoke may have to use freshmen lacking big-game experience, or upperclassmen calm. 

While Alabama also lost starters to graduation and the NFL draft, Saban is the consummate, tough-as-nails coach, and developer of quality defensive talent.  His offense will produce against Michigan and his defense will likely be the best (or worst) defensive test Robinson faces.

For the Wolverines to beat Alabama, their defense must exceed expectations.  More importantly, however, their hopes rest on a handful of offensive talent led by Denard Robinson.  He must play the game of his life for U of M to have any hopes of prevailing against the Tide.

It doesn't get any easier for the Wolverines with a tough schedule this year.  For a successful start to their season, Hoke hopes his horses are ready and Shoelace and colleagues put lots of points on the board.

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