Michigan Football: Denard Robinson Will Best Taylor Martinez in Big Ten Battle

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistOctober 26, 2012

ANN ARBOR, MI - OCTOBER 20: Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines runs 44 yards during the the fourth quarter of the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium on October 20, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The Wolverines defeated the Spartans 12-10. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

If you're looking for a game featuring explosive, exciting quarterbacks this weekend, look no further than the battle between Michigan's Denard Robinson and Nebraska's Taylor Martinez on Saturday. 

And don't blink, either, because by the time your eyes refocus on the television, one of them will likely be standing in the end zone. 

But in this battle of athletic, scrambling quarterbacks, it's Robinson who should emerge the victor. 

On one hand, Martinez is probably the more well-rounded of the two quarterbacks, which a quick comparison of their resumes backs up:

Player Pass Yards Pass TD INT PCT Rush Yards Rush TD
Taylor Martinez 1,615 15 4 67.0 403 6
Denard Robinson 1,264 9 9 53.5 900 6

One of the reasons I believe Robinson will outperform Martinez in this contest is that Nebraska's defense is not as strong as its Michigan counterparts. The Nebraska defense gives up 187.9 rushing yards per game and has allowed 11 touchdowns on the season.

And remember that this is a Nebraska defense that allowed Ohio State's Braxton Miller to have a field day rushing the ball, as he finished with 186 yards and a touchdown on just 16 carries when the teams met three weeks ago.

Don't think Robinson hasn't looked at the tape or seen those statistics. He knows he should be able to have a big day running the ball.

And let's be honest here, the man they call "Shoelaces" is due for a clutch performance on the big stage. He came into this season as a Heisman candidate but was totally stymied by the Alabama and Notre Dame defenses.

Robinson needs a marquee performance in 2012. He lost his chance to do it on the national stage, but at least he can do it with the top spot in the Big Ten's Legends division on the line.

Meanwhile, Martinez faces a Michigan defense that does allow 143 rushing yards each game but just 142.3 passing yards per contest (third best in the nation). Plus, Michigan has held its last five opponents to 13 points or less.

Martinez has been the better overall player in 2012; there's no two ways about it. But he's facing a far more difficult task against Jake Ryan and a Michigan defense that has really rounded into form of late.

Look for Robinson to run wild on Saturday night. The Nebraska defense simply isn't consistent or talented enough to keep "Shoelaces" from running them out of their shoes.

And Martinez won't be able to do enough against the Michigan defense to outgun him, either.

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