With the regular season winding down, the nation is looking for more candidates to emerge in the Heisman field. With Brandon Weeden self-destructing against Iowa State, the cabinet is pretty bare. However, Denard Robinson might have thrown his hat into the ring today with an impressive game against Nebraska.
Robinson completed 11 out of 18 passes today for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 83 yards and two additional touchdowns.
Nebraska came into the game ranked No. 16 in the nation and fighting for a chance to go to the inaugural Big Ten Championship Game. Robinson has over 2,500 total yards and 27 total touchdowns. He does have 13 interceptions that will keep him out of any serious contention but if he finishes strong and Michigan continues the resurgence he could end up on the final invitation list.
A large part of Heisman consideration comes from team success. The Wolverines were 7-6 last season under former head coach Rich Rodriguez. If the Wolverines win next week against Ohio State they would finish the regular season 10-2.
No player has had to adjust more to the new coaching staff and offensive philosophy than Robinson. However, without Robinson, Michigan would have nowhere near the success that they are enjoying.
More than his statistics, Robinson has emerged into a true team leader. With Robinson on their team, the Wolverines know they have a fighting chance.
Robinson’s star shines the brightest on the national stage. Take for example his game against Notre Dame earlier this season. Robinson led Michigan on one of the most memorable game-winning drives in recent memory. Robinson finished the game with 406 yards and four touchdowns.
The Wolverines only had 48 yards that game that were not contributed in some manner by Robinson.
Realistically it is still a long shot for Robinson to get an invite. However, he at least cracked the door open for a spectacular ending against the Buckeyes.
If I had a vote I would put him on the list because many players would have transferred or pouted about having to make so much change after a successful individual season. However, Robinson kept pushing and working and now his team is on the verge of their first 10-win season since 2006.
Moreover, they had only won 15 games in the last three seasons combined.
Critics could argue that the defense is the difference this season and they would have a valid argument. However, you cannot minimize what it means to have Robinson in the backfield for this team and his leadership in the locker-room.
The Wolverines will be left out of the Big Ten championship game this season. However, would you want to be the coach who had to prepare for Robinson in a bowl game?