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Michigan cruises in Robinson's return

The SportsXchange

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson got significant playing time in his final home game Saturday at Michigan Stadium.

But quarterback Devin Gardner -- Robinson's replacement for a third straight game -- fueled the Wolverines to their third consecutive win.

In a 42-17 win over Iowa, Gardner threw for three touchdowns and scored three more for the Wolverines (8-3, 6-1 Big Ten Conference), who ended Iowa's bowl hopes with the win. Iowa will not play in a postseason bowl for the first time since 2007.

Robinson, who did not play in Michigan's previous two games, rotated between quarterback and tailback for the Wolverines, and the senior finished his final game at Michigan Stadium with 98 yards on 13 carries.

"Thinking about it being my last time at the Big House, it just blew my mind because time went by so fast," said Robinson, who sat out Michigan's previous two wins because of an injury to the ulnar nerve in his right arm.

Robinson, however, would not speculate on his availability for next Saturday's regular-season finale at Ohio State.

"My elbow, it feels pretty good, and I threw the ball in warm-ups," Robinson said. "But we'll see next week."

However, Robinson's role was amplified after No. 21 Michigan lost tailback Fitzgerald Toussaint to injury in the first quarter. Toussaint was taken off the field on a stretcher and on a cart, with his left leg stabilized in an air cast.

Michigan's radio broadcast said in the second quarter that Toussaint had a "lower extremity injury" and ESPN reported that Toussaint had to be hospitalized at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor as a result of the injury.

The injury occurred when Toussaint was pulled down near the Iowa sideline by a pair of defenders.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke said after the win that Toussaint was undergoing surgery but would not elaborate any further on Toussaint's status or the realm of his injury.

"I want to make sure his mother has been contacted," said Hoke, who added that two of Toussaint's brothers attended Saturday's game.

Less than 7 minutes into the game, Thomas Rawls' apparent 3-yard touchdown run was overturned after official review, and a play later, Gardner gave Michigan a 7-0 lead on a 1-yard run with 8:27 left in the first quarter.

But Iowa (4-7, 2-5) used a 14-play, 75-yard drive to tie the game at 7-7 on James Vandenberg's 16-yard touchdown pass to Henry Krieger Coble with 1:44 left -- Coble's first touchdown of the season.

Gardner, who was 18-for-23 passing for 314 yards, connected with Roy Roundtree for a 37-yard pass less than 2 minutes into the second quarter to help the Wolverines to a 14-7 lead.

Mike Meyer cut Michigan's lead to 14-10 with 9:26 left in the half on a 27-yard field goal, but Gardner's 1-yard touchdown run with 5:20 left in the half helped Michigan take a 21-10 lead. With 40 seconds left in the half, Vincent Smith's 18-yard touchdown reception gave Michigan a 28-10 lead over the Hawkeyes.

Gardner scored on a 3-yard touchdown run with 8:41 left in the third to stretch Michigan's lead to 35-10, then connected with freshman tight end Devin Funchess for a 29-yard touchdown 4 minutes later.

Mark Weisman scored the only touchdown in the fourth quarter, a 13-yard pass from Vandenberg, who went 19-for-26 passing for 181 yards.

"There were clearly not a lot of positives on our side of the ball," said Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz, whose team gave up 505 yards of offense through the first three quarters. "We saw good things on special teams and from our offense, at times.

"Defensively, we didn't have answers for their attack. It became apparent pretty quickly."

Notes: In his final home game at Michigan Stadium, Robinson surpassed 1,000 yards rushing for the season. Robinson has 1,044 yards on the season. ... Michigan did not punt during the first half, scoring on all four of its drives. The Wolverines scored on their first six drives before Iowa cornerback Micah Hyde intercepted Gardner at the start of the fourth quarter. ... Michigan is 14-0 at home under second-year coach Brady Hoke. ... Hyde led the Hawkeyes with eight tackles.
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