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Michigan QB Denard Robinson Will Coast vs. Michigan State's Run Defense

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 13:  Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines runs for a second quarter touchdown while playing the Illinois Fighting Illini at Michigan Stadium on October 13, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IAugust 14, 2016

Based on Michigan State's numbers against the run this season, it would be easy to say the Spartans would pose a challenge for Denard Robinson and Michigan on Saturday.

But the numbers don't tell the whole story.

It's one thing to stop an opposing running back, it's quite another to limit a dual-threat quarterback who can scamper out of the pocket at any moment.

We saw this on full display in Michigan State's 17-16 loss to Ohio State in Week 5. Sophomore Braxton Miller—a comparable dual-threat quarterback to Robinson—went off on the Spartans, rushing for 136 yards.

Michigan State may be ceding just 3.1 yards per carry this season (15th in the nation), but it's a different story when forced to defend a quarterback like Robinson or Miller.

Robinson rushed for a combined 363 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries (10.4 yards per carry) against Purdue and Illinois in the past two weeks.

On top of that, he's been much more careful with the ball, not throwing an interception in his past two contests.

The Spartans have a strong pass defense so they may limit Robinson through the air, but it will be tough for them to limit Robinson on the ground.

Historically, Robinson has struggled when defenses keep him at bay on the ground and force him to throw the pigskin—not the other way around.

Last season, Michigan State stopped Robinson from rushing the ball and went on to win by a two-touchdown advantage. It will be different this time around and Michigan will get revenge in Ann Arbor.

Unfortunately for the Spartans, Braxton Miller will not be the only dual-threat quarterback who tears them up this season.

Expect Robinson to blister his way through Michigan State's defense.


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