Denard. Shoelace. D-Rob. Whatever you prefer to call Michigan starting quarterback Denard Robinson, there’s one thing everyone can all agree on: he’s taking the college football world by storm.
After a breakout performance in his first career start against Connecticut, in which he set a school single-game rushing record by a quarterback with 197 yards on the ground, he came back with the same tenacity in Week Two. Facing longtime rival Notre Dame in the hostile environment of South Bend, Indiana, all Robinson did was put the Wolverines on his back and willed them to a 28-24 victory. His 258 yards rushing and 502 total yards earned him National Player of the Week honors for the second consecutive week.
Through two weeks, “Shoelace”, as he is affectionately known in Ann Arbor for his choice not to play football with his shoes untied, is the most talked about player in college football. Not bad for a kid who was thought to be the backup until spring and summer workouts showed otherwise.
As comparisons are continuously thrown out, one seems pretty clear: former West Virginia quarterback Pat White. Robinson and White share a particularly common bond: learning under head coach Rich Rodriguez as dual-threat quarterbacks in his spread offense system.
The similarities don’t stop there, however. As mentioned earlier, Robinson’s first career start was against the Connecticut Huskies. As for White? You guessed it, Connecticut. As a redshirt freshman, Pat White ran for 63 yards and two touchdowns and threw for another in his starting debut. In his second start, White had an impressive showing, gaining 111 yards on just eight rushing attempts, and throwing for 100 yards and a touchdown. In his third game, White displayed perhaps his finest rushing performance of his illustrious career. He toted the pigskin 23 times for a Big East-record 220 yards and two touchdowns.
That’s a pretty stellar way to start off a career. In his first three games at the helm for the Mountaineers, White rushed for 394 yards. Putting it in perspective, Robinson has run for 455 yards as a starting quarterback, in two games. White’s total yards through those three games were 641. Robinson after two starting outings? 855.
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