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Michigan Football: Injuries to Shoelace, Fitz Cloud Wolverines-Buckeyes Duel

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 17:  Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines looks for running room during a first quarter run while playing the Iowa Hawkeyes at Michigan Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Adam BiggersSenior Analyst IIJanuary 8, 2017

Denard Robinson wasn't supposed to finish his career at the University of Michigan as anything but the starting quarterback. 

The senior speedster who made Wolverines football something to pay attention to despite three years of mediocrity under Rich Rodriguez certainly deserves more than what he's been given the past three weeks from fans.

In the wake of Devin Gardner's stellar and masterful three-game run, Robinson has been passed by, discounted and disrespected by those who once cheered his name.

(See this thread for extreme examples of anti-Robinson chatter)

How easily his electrifying ways have been forgotten by those wearing Gardner blinders. That's not to say Gardner doesn't deserve the praise—he does. But Robinson rocketed his way to stardom upon his first collegiate snap and had droves of fans interested in Velcro.

That has to count for something.

It's possible that Robinson will be healthy enough to start come bowl time, but he won't have the keys to the offense Saturday in Columbus against the unbeaten Ohio State Buckeyes (11-0).

Ulnar nerve damage in his right throwing elbow caused Robinson to step aside, leaving Gardner to take control and continue Michigan's chase of a Big Ten Legends Division championship. 

So far, so good. But the entire situation has been bittersweet.

Making matters worse, this year could have been the year that Robinson really dazzled spectators by knocking off the Buckeyes, who, in a twist of fate, aren't post-season eligible due to sanctions stemming from a memorabilia-for-tattoo scandal.

Not even an appeal to President Barack Obama could change that, much to Buckeyes fans' dismay.

Needless to say, the 2012 Wolverines-Buckeyes slugfest—one of the greatest rivalries in any sport—will be played with Michigan missing other key components, not just Robinson.

Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint won't have a chance to redeem himself to Wolverines fans this season—he'll have to wait until next year. In an unfortunate incident, Toussaint broke his left leg against Iowa, just a week after rushing for a season-high 92 yards against the Northwestern Wildcats.

Thomas Rawls, Justice Hayes and Vincent Smith will have to carry the load against the Buckeyes, who have the Big Ten's third-ranked rush defense (116.8 yards).

Senior tight end Brandon Moore's season has been hampered by a pesky knee injury, and sophomore corner Blake Countess was lost for the season after injuring his knee during Week 1's 41-14 blowout loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide.

It's football. Injuries happen. Teams deal with them.

Luckily for Robinson, his injury wasn't as severe as Countess'. He'll line up Saturday at running back or wide receiver, maybe even as a wildcat quarterback, getting a chance to notch another victory against Ohio State before ending a brilliant stand with the Wolverines.

 

Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81

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