Iowa vs. Michigan: Robinson, Kovacs Lead Seniors on Their Special Day

Joel GreerCorrespondent INovember 17, 2012

Denard Robinson (with ball cradled in left arm)
Denard Robinson (with ball cradled in left arm)Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

A Big House crowd of more than 113,000 gave thanks to the senior class during a rather easy 42-17 win over Iowa.

It was the final home game for Michigan's seniors, who helped end a three-game losing streak to the Hawkeyes.

The victory kept Michigan's slim hopes alive for a berth in the Big Ten title game Dec. 1 in Indianapolis.

To get there, Michigan (8-3, 6-1) must defeat Ohio State (ineligible for postseason play) next week in Columbus while Nebraska (9-2, 6-1) loses at Iowa (4-7, 2-5). 

Michigan put together another solid, if not spectacular, defensive performance. As usual, senior Jordan Kovacs stood out at strong safety, coming away with five tackles and a quarterback sack.  That gives him a career total of 325 tackles, good enough for No. 13 on the all-time Michigan list. "Obviously it was a big win for us, which was exciting, but for it to be the last time in the Big House -- I'm not ready for it to end," Kovacs said at his postgame press conference.

"It's been quite the journey and I'm ready to ride it out. It's not over yet. We still have a couple more." 

Linebacker Kenny Demens, who has improved throughout his senior year, accounted for five tackles against the Hawkeyes. 

Also on defense, Michigan is also going to miss the leadership of strong-side end Craig Roh, cornerback J.T. Floyd and tackle Will Campbell.  

Perhaps the largest cheers were reserved for senior quarterback Denard Robinson. Michigan fans had been concerned that Robinson, who has been battling a nerve injury to his throwing arm, would end his Michigan career without a proper Big House send-off.

But head coach Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator Al Borges devised an attack where substitute quarterback Devin Gardner and Robinson would be in the backfield at the same time.

"I think Al (Borges) and that staff did a great job of incorporating the skill sets that both guys (Robinson and Gardner) have at the same time," Hoke said on the Michigan Sports Network postgame show. Robinson, who has missed the last two games, responded by rushing for 98 yards without throwing a single pass. 

That was left to Devin Gardner, who had his third straight impressive performance. He completed a Heisman-like 18 of 23 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns. Add in his three rushing touchdowns, and we may have a "Devin Touchdown" in the making.

One of Gardner's touchdown passes was a nifty 18-yard throwback screen to Vincent Smith, who was also playing his last game at Michigan Stadium.

Roy Roundtree, who came on the Michigan scene back in 2010 when he caught 77 passes, has been showing some of that talent of late. Against Iowa, he had five receptions, including a 37-yard touchdown toss from Gardner.

On offense, Michigan will also miss left guard Ricky Barnum, center Elliott Mealer, right guard Patrick Omameh and tight end Mike Kwiatkowski.