Michigan Football: 3 Things to Expect from Denard Robinson vs. Notre Dame
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson has owned the Irish since taking the reins in Ann Arbor two seasons ago.
"Shoelace" is 2-0 as a starter against Notre Dame, leaving the Irish defense in the dust and crushing the spirits of "Shamrock" fans with his late-game heroics.
Last year, Robinson combined for more than 450 yards and five touchdowns in the Wolverines' 35-31 dramatic victory against the Irish. However, this season the Notre Dame defense is as strong as its been in years—ranking eighth in the nation with 10 points allowed per game.
Michigan is looking for their fourth straight win against their rivals from South Bend.
Here are three things to expect from Robinson this Saturday.
100 Yards Rushing
Robinson has shredded the turf with his efforts on the ground against the Irish in previous match-ups.
The dual-threat quarterback has given Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly pounding headaches with his 368 rushing yards and three touchdowns the last two games. Robinson exploded for 258 rushing yards at Notre Dame Stadium as a sophomore—including an 87-yard scamper that set a stadium record.
Irish linebacker Manti Te'o and the rest of the Notre Dame defense will do their best to make sure that never happens again on their home field. The Irish defensive unit has been stout against the run this season, allowing only 50 yards on the ground against Michigan State last week.
Nevertheless, whether any defense, not named Alabama, can contain the elusiveness and blazing speed of Robinson has yet to be seen.
Notre Dame hopes that the third time facing Robinson will be a charm, as they attempt to keep him under the century mark. History, however, says they will not.
Despite all of the great things Robinson has done for the "Maize and Blue" during his career, one knock has been his persistent problems with turnovers.
Just as Robinson won the game against Notre Dame last season with his five scores, he nearly let it slip away by throwing three interceptions.
Michigan has learned to live through their beloved quarterback's ups and downs, but Robinson must take better care of the ball for the Wolverines to have the type of season they are hoping for in 2012.
"Shoelace" threw two picks in a disappointing outing against Alabama in Week 1—as he has thrown a head-shaking 13 interceptions in his last 11 contests.
Expect Robinson to have at least one giveaway against the talented Irish defense. The timing of it, and its frequency, will likely determine who wins the game on Saturday.
Saving the Best for Last
Call it the "Tim Tebow Factor," or whatever you'd like, but for some reason Robinson plays his best football against Notre Dame in the fourth quarter.
Entering the final quarter down 24-7 last season, Robinson rallied the Wolverines to victory with four touchdowns—including the game-winning touchdown pass to Roy Roundtree with just two seconds left on the clock.
The Irish saw Robinson steal a victory from them in 2010 as well, as he ran in the go-ahead score with 24 seconds left to play.
Whether it's because the defense is sucking wind or Robinson has a flare for the dramatic, something changes for the Michigan quarterback when these teams enter the game's final hour.
Expect more of the same this Saturday, as Robinson would like to leave his rivals with a lasting impression.
One more game-winning drive from the senior quarterback and Robinson will be in the Irish's nightmares forever.
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