The No. 23 Michigan Wolverines' stirring 12-10 victory over the Michigan State Spartans Saturday left one major goal still unattained by Denard Robinson.
Holder of a slew of Michigan records, the senior quarterback would like nothing more than to win the Big Ten title in this, his final season.
Robinson, who was the Big Ten's MVP as a sophomore, holds the conference record for career rushing yards by a quarterback with 4,187. He's well within sight of Pat White's NCAA record of 4,480.
The win over the Spartans was not exactly a thing of beauty. Robinson's proficient running was hampered as usual by the Spartans. He totaled 92 rushing yards for the night, but 44 of them came on a single play. The same could be said for the tailback attack. Fitzgerald Toussaint rushed for 52 yards, but 38 came on a single try.
Michigan's only real success came through the air as Michigan State's stingy defense held Michigan without a touchdown.
It took a pair of field-goal kickers to account for Michigan's scoring. Brendan Gibbons, who supplied the game-winning kick in January's Sugar Bowl, connected on Saturday's game-winning 38-yarder with nine seconds remaining. Gibbons was also good from 24 and 21 yards, while long-yardage specialist Matt Wile made good from 48 yards out.
Trailing 10-9 after the Spartans were forced to punt for the seventh time, Michigan had the ball for the final time with 1:59 left.
Michigan set up the winning attempt on a 12-yard run by rarely used Vincent Smith and a 20- yard catch by backup receiver Drew Dileo.
The victory, which ended a four-game losing streak to the Spartans, gave Michigan its 900th victory in 133 years of playing college football.
Setting the win over Michigan State aside, Robinson and his teammates have bigger fish to fry. "We have bigger goals and our goal is a Big Ten championship," offensive tackle Taylor Lewan told mgoblue.com, "And that's what we're going to focus on."
After getting past the Spartans (4-4, 1-3), Michigan (5-2, 3-0) can now be regarded as a legitimate Big Ten championship contender.
Except for some tough running by Le'Veon Bell (26 carries, 68 yards), occasional pinpoint passing by Andrew Maxwell (21-of-34, 192 yards) and a clever fake punt, Michigan's defense basically shut down the Spartans.
Michigan's defense, which was exposed by both Alabama and Air Force, has allowed just 49 points in its last five games. The old saying, "defense wins championships," certainly applies to the Wolverines.
Nebraska, Northwestern and Iowa will give Michigan a fight, but it appears that the Wolverines have just faced their toughest opposition in the Legends Division.
With Ohio State and Penn State ineligible for postseason play, Michigan would most likely face Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game Dec. 1 in Indianapolis.