|Junior Hemingway is a man who discovered the wheel and built the Eiffel Tower out of metal and brawn.|
Let’s see more of this guy on offense . . . Fitzgerald Toussaint. I know last week’s production (11 carries, 80 yards, 2 touchdowns) probably wouldn’t have been replicated due to the fact that Michigan’s offensive line struggled to get a push. However, Stephen Hopkins got the majority of the carries in Toussaint’s absence, and Hopkins averaged 2.0 yards a carry and fumbled once (his second fumble in 42 career carries). Toussaint was injured and didn’t play at all, but I’m hoping he can return as soon as safely possible.
Let’s see less of this guy on offense . . . Bad Denard Robinson. Robinson looked awful throwing the ball in the first three quarters. He was only 2/9 in the first half and 4/14 by the end of the third quarter. He had some nice drives toward the end of the game and obviously pulled off a huge comeback, but the reason Michigan needed such a huge comeback was his atrocious play in the first half. He missed open receiver after open receiver after open receiver despite minimal pressure.
Let’s see more of this guy on defense . . . Brandin Hawthorne. I’m not sure what happened to Brandon Herron, who was injured and didn’t play after being last week’s MVP. Freshman Desmond Morgan earned the start at weakside linebacker, but didn’t last long. In came Hawthorne, who looks bigger than his listed 214 lbs., and he picked up 6 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, and 1 pass breakup. It’s partly the scheme that allows these WILLs to have good games, but credit goes to Hawthorne and Herron for stepping up when given the opportunity. Unlike some of the other linebackers, Hawthorne had some nicely timed blitzes without giving away his intentions.
Let’s see less of this guy on defense . . . Craig Roh. Yep, I said it. I really like(d) Roh, but I’m not sure what’s going on with him. He hasn’t registered a single tackle yet this year and hasn’t generated any pressure. Jibreel Black (3 tackles) has outplayed him even though Black gets destroyed when teams run right at him. I’ll be rooting for Black to get the start next week against Eastern Michigan. Roh was apparently sick during fall camp and he added almost 20 lbs. in the offseason, so whether it’s illness or an inability to move with the added weight, it’s just not working.
MVP of the Notre Dame game . . . Denard Robinson, with a close second being Junior Hemingway. I really, really, really wanted to pick Hemingway here, but the overall stats for Robinson (338 yards passing, 108 yards rushing, 5 total touchdowns) make it just too overwhelming. He had 4 touchdown passes and picked up the Hopkins fumble before running it in for a score. When it got down to crunch time, Robinson was electric. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, Hemingway turned out several big plays and two of them were on bad throws by Robinson. He’s a jump ball specialist and ended the game with 165 yards and 1 touchdown on 3 receptions.
Play of the game . . . Denard Robinson’s recovery of the Stephen Hopkins fumble. It was the least spectacular of Michigan’s five touchdowns, but with Michigan down 24-7 to begin the fourth quarter, things were looking grim. If Notre Dame had recovered that fumble after Michigan had driven 82 yards, I don’t know if the Wolverines would have recovered mentally. Luckily, Robinson was paying attention and had the quickness and dexterity to pick up the ball on the move. That was the play that set the rally in motion. There were so many big plays that it’s hard to pick just one (Hemingway’s 43-yard TD, Hemingway’s 77-yard catch-and-run on Denard’s excellent throw, Vincent Smith’s 21-yard TD catch-and-run, Jeremy Gallon’s 64-yard catch-and-run, Gallon’s 14-yard TD reception, Roy Roundtree’s 16-yard TD reception, J.T. Floyd’s touchdown-saving interception, etc.), but that was the biggest in my mind.
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