Taylor Martinez or Denard Robinson: Who's the Better Big Ten Dual-Threat QB?
Taylor Martinez or Denard Robinson?
Which Big Ten dual-threat quarterback would you like most?
Both of them had their moments last year, as each one was considered a Heisman candidate early in the season.
As the season wore on, Martinez and Robinson both got banged up and had to take a seat during games for some medical attention.
But 2011 is a new year, so let's make a case for both and see which one makes for the best dual-threat quarterback in the Big Ten.
Passing: Taylor Martinez
Taylor Martinez struggled to provide Nebraska with a consistent passing game in 2010, which made the Cornhuskers one-dimensional.
Martinez completed 59.2 percent of his passes for 1,631 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also had seven interceptions.
His best individual performance came against Oklahoma State when Martinez completed 23-of-35 for 323 yards and five touchdowns.
His low point came against a struggling Texas as Martinez completed just 4-of-12 for 63 yards in a 20-13 loss.
Passing: Denard Robinson
Denard Robinson doesn't get his due as a thrower.
The 6'0" quarterback slung the ball around the field last year under Rich Rodriguez.
He completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 2,570 yards and 18 touchdowns. He was also picked off 11 times as Michigan reached its first bowl game in three seasons.
His best individual performance came at Indiana when Robinson completed 10-of-16 for 277 yards and three touchdowns.
His worst game came against Ohio State as he competed just 8-of-18 for 87 yards.
Running: Taylor Martinez
It was Taylor Martinez's ability to break tackles and elude defenders that caught everyone's attention early last season.
He was never more impressive than when he violated Kansas State's defense on a Thursday night ESPN game. Martinez shredded the Wildcats for 241 yards and four touchdowns in a 48-13 win.
Injuries slowed him down in the second half of the season. His worst showing was against Nebraska in the Big 12 Championship game, when the Sooners bottled Martinez up and he rushed for a minus-32 yards.
When healthy his breakaway ability is among the best in the nation.
Running: Denard Robinson
Every time Denard Robinson touches the ball you believe he could turn it up field and score a touchdown. No matter where Michigan is on the field.
Robinson's 87-yard touchdown run against Notre Dame last year is the longest ever at Notre Dame Stadium.
He rushed for 1,702 yards on 256 carries while scoring 14 times. Against the Irish he finished with 258 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries. He also rushed for 129 yards on five carries against Bowling Green.
As good as Martinez is at running the ball, Robinson is the most electrifying in college football.
Decision Making: Taylor Martinez
Taylor Martinez is young and developing as a quarterback.
That explains why his decision-making ability was not a major strength last year. He struggled to read defenses and that created opportunities for sacks and turnovers.
With a year under his belt, Martinez will likely improve a great deal in this area in 2011.
Decision Making: Denard Robinson
Early on, Denard Robinson's decision-making skills were criticized.
But last year he showed a lot of improvement and proved to be more comfortable running the Michigan offense.
Now his ability to adapt to a new offense will test his skills even more.
Leadership: Taylor Martinez
Taylor Martinez is not in the class of say legendary Nebraska quarterback Tommie Frazier, but there's still time.
As a returning quarterback, Martinez is naturally a leader in the locker room and in the huddle.
However, the expectations of Nebraska's fans seem way out of whack when it comes to evaluating Martinez.
Because of his great start, a lot of fans were expecting so much more from Martinez.
What he gave them was one of the best freshman seasons in Big 12 history.
Leadership: Denard Robinson
Through the midway point of 2010, Denard Robinson was the unquestioned leader at Michigan.
Not that he lost any traction with his teammates the second half of the season, but the Wolverines 2-6 finish to the season was at least a chink in his armor of invincibility.
Robinson will prove his leadership skills this fall as he leads Michigan onto the field under a new coach.
Intangibles: Taylor Martinez
Taylor Martinez fended off a serious challenge this spring from Cody Green and he's the clear-cut starter for Nebraska.
Martinez is a tough-nosed performer, but it seems his grit was questioned at times last year by his own coach Bo Pelini. There was even a sideline tirade by Pelini directed at Martinez that almost led to his quarterback quitting.
However, all seems to be cleared up and Martinez and Pelini are on the same page. That is until Pelini decides to go ballistic on his quarterback again.
Intangibles: Denard Robinson
Denard Robinson chose Michigan because he wanted to play for Rich Rodriguez and his spread offense.
The Rodriguez era was a total disaster and now Robinson must adapt to Brady Hoke's pro-style offense. Robinson could have easily transferred to a system that fit him best.
However, he loves being a Michigan Man and he wants to lead the Wolverines back to the top.
The next two years will define Robinson's legacy.
And the Winner Is:
How about this for a twist? Neither one.
Northwestern's Dan Persa may not be able to keep up in the running game, but he was the first team, All-Big Ten quarterback in 2010.
In an odd twist, Robinson is the reigning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, even though he didn't make either of the first two teams.
Of course, Persa must return from a ruptured Achilles he suffered in the 10th game of the season. But if Persa returns to form he is the most dangerous quarterback in the Big Ten.
Persa completed 222-of-302 passes for 2,581 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also rushed for 519 yards and nine touchdowns.
Martinez and Robinson may be more exciting, but Persa is the most consistent performer in the Big Ten.