Michigan Football: Players Who Must Shine vs. Ohio State

Justin WeltonAnalyst IINovember 18, 2012

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 17: Devin Gardner #12 of the Michigan Wolverines leaves the field high giving fans after a 42-17 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes at Michigan Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Denard Robinson started in his final college football home game for Michigan Saturday vs. Iowa, but it wasn't where you would expect.

Robinson started at tailback, opening the door for junior quarterback Devin Gardner. The slight move instantly made Michigan much better in two positions.

With Ohio State on the horizon next weekend, it was a move that will force the Buckeyes to game plan for anything and everything. 

Here are three players who will need to shine bright in Michigan's new offensive look. 


Denard Robinson

The Michigan quarterback, I mean running back, provided some explosive speed and dynamic agility from the running back position on Saturday. He rushed for 98 yards on 13 carries in his final home game as a Wolverine.

Robinson's athleticism has always been his No. 1 attribute. He never quite had what it took to become a quarterback on the Big Ten stage. However, he can be used in several different ways, especially now that he's in the backfield.

Screens to get him in space, swing passes, tosses, halfback passes, reverses—there are now so many options the Wolverines could use on Saturday that it forces Ohio State to game-plan much of their defense around him. 

Whether it's on the ground, in the air or simply attention, Robinson will need to shine bright in one way or another.  


Devin Gardner

Michigan gets better with Devin Gardner under center. He's more of a complete passer, but his mobility is underrated simply because of who he's replacing.

He's not Robinson, but he's no slouch, either. Gardner rushed the ball nine times for 37 yards and three touchdowns, including a 19-yard scamper vs. Iowa.

Gardner also went 18-of-23 for 314 yards with three touchdowns and just one interception. He accounted for every touchdown Michigan had on the day.

While the Wolverines lose dynamic speed at the quarterback position, they clearly get better in two valuable offensive positions. 


Roy Roundtree

Wide receiver Roy Roundtree has struggled in several games this season. Maybe you can put that on the quarterback, but he deserves blame, too.

Against Alabama he posted two receptions for 12 yards. Against Notre Dame he posted three receptions for 30 yards. Against Nebraska he posted one reception for 32 yards.

Michigan didn't win any of those games. 

Roundtree has recorded two receptions or less in eight games this season.

With Saturday being the senior's final taste of one of the better rivalries in sports, it's time for him to show up to the plate and deliver with a senior performance.

With Gardner at the helm in the past two games, Roundtree has recorded two straight games with five receptions and at least 80 yards.

With a much more consistent passing quarterback, Roundtree has taken his game to another level in the past two weeks.

He will need to do the same this Saturday if the Wolverines have any chance of upsetting the Buckeyes.