Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
Early on, there was some promise in Michigan's passing game. Robinson wasn't completing many balls downfield, but he was showing poise behind the offensive line. He looked confident. It was clear he'd worked on not throwing the ball off his back foot, a trait for which he was much maligned last season.
But his throws were always just a bit off.
He had quarterback-turned-receiver Devin Gardner open twice, once down each sideline. But Robinson led him to the wrong side, overthrew him or couldn't loft it in accurately enough.
In all, Robinson had trouble completing a ball downfield. Yes, he was facing a brutally tough secondary, but he continued to underthrow the ball with amazing regularity. He finished 11-for-26 for 200 yards, a score and two interceptions.
The first pick wasn't really his fault, but the second was horrendous. On 3rd-and-9 from Michigan's 2-yard line, I predicted the interception before the play even started (ask my wife). In trying to find a cutting receiver over the middle, Denard was “so anxious to get the ball out of his hands,” said Kirk Herbstreit on ABC, all C.J. Mosley had to do was read his eyes, step to his left and make the play. Six points. Easy peasy.
Even on the big-gainer plays, like the 20-yard completion to Drew Dileo starting off the second half and the 44-yard touchdown pass to Gardner, his throws were off or underthrown.
It seems as if Robinson's success in the passing game will continue to be largely reliant on the big play. That's OK if he's solid in other aspects of the game, but...
Take the 71-yard bomb to Jeremy Gallon and the TD to Gardner out of the equation, and Denard's stats are far less impressive: 9-for-24 for 85 yards.
Not the progress over last season that Michigan fans were hoping for.