Michigan Football: Keys to Denard Robinson Leading Blue to Big Win over Nebraska

Matthew GuintoContributor IIIOctober 22, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 01:  Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines throws the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Cowboys Stadium on September 1, 2012 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

On the back of a huge win over rivals Michigan State, Denard Robinson and the rest of the Wolverines will still be riding the high all the way into Nebraska this Saturday. But, Nebraska itself will be coming down from a high after putting up 12 points late in the fourth quarter to edge out conference opponents Northwestern.

For the Wolverine QB, there are three key points to making sure his side leaves undefeated in conference play and still in the hunt for the BCS.

First, Robinson must prepare for an old-fashioned gunslinging throwdown. Both teams have been generally high scoring throughout the season. For Nebraska, its 29 points in the win over Northwestern was actually the lowest it's put on the board all season in any game. Likewise, the 12 points against Michigan State was the lowest the Wolverines posted in a win thus far, the second-lowest being 31.

So it is safe to assume they will come out swinging. And for Denard, despite his running prowess, he will have to make his living through the air if he wants to keep pace with Martinez, who threw for 342 yards on 27 of 39 against Northwestern. 

Second, Denard just has to stay alive in the first half. Nebraska has outscored its opponents by a ridiculous 59 points in the first quarter alone this season, 94 to 35. Martinez will score early on—that is just a formality at this point—and the crowd at Memorial Stadium will be in full voice.

But as the game progresses, Nebraska calms down. It has managed 65 points in the second quarter followed by 62 in the third and just 41 in the fourth. If Robinson can just keep his offense afloat in the first quarter, then he can really go to work later on.

Third, if he gets the chance to close the game out, Robinson must make it count. Considering that Martinez did not throw a single interception in the game against Northwestern and has only thrown four all year, I would not expect the Wolverine defense to have quite the game it did against MSU. But, if it is able to come up big, Robinson converting on the following possession will be the difference in closing out the game.

Otherwise, if Denard allows the Huskers to hang around, the Wolverines could fall to the same fate as Northwestern, allowing 12 points late in the fourth quarter and losing their first conference game.