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Robinson paces Michigan's mauling of UMass

The SportsXchange

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan desperately needed a "get-well" performance after being humbled in a season-opening loss to defending national champion Alabama and then struggling to get by Air Force in the second week.

The Wolverines filled that order with a stack of big plays and another highlight-reel afternoon from senior quarterback Denard Robinson as Michigan overwhelmed Massachusetts 63-13 on Saturday.

Robinson, who led Michigan's offense to six touchdowns in the first half alone, accounted for almost 400 yards in three quarters.

He passed for 291 yards and three touchdowns while carrying the ball 10 times for another 106 yards and a fourth touchdown. He completed 16 of 24 passes and had one interception.

"I think he made a lot of good decisions, and a lot of good decisions also in just managing the game for us," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. "I thought he did a nice job for us."

The Wolverines (2-1) needed just five plays to cover 65 yards on the game's opening drive, with Robinson linking up with freshman tight end Devin Funchess on a 26-yard touchdown pass. Brendan Gibbons' kick gave the Wolverines a 7-0 lead just over two minutes into the game.

Michigan, which made no secret of its commitment to use junior running back Fitzgerald Toussaint to take some of the rushing load off Robinson, got an 11-yard scoring run from Toussaint late in the first quarter to push the lead to 14-0.

"The more threats we have as an offense, the more dangerous we can be," Michigan offensive lineman Patrick Omameh said of Toussaint (15 carries, 85 yards) sharing the rushing load. "Everybody knows we have Denard Robinson, but the more pressure we can take off of him, the better off we'll be."

The Minutemen, who had managed just six points in their first two games, put together their best drive of the season as the first quarter ended. They settled for a 25-yard field goal by Brendon Levengood to cap a 13-play, 66-yard march that cut Michigan's lead to 14-3.

Robinson took just two plays to answer, hitting wide receiver Drew Dileo for 66 yards before Vincent Smith carried the ball into the end zone from five yards, stretching Michigan's lead to 21-3.

UMass (0-3) closed to 21-10 with about 10 minutes left in the first half when Christian Birt picked off Robinson and returned it 32 yards for a touchdown. But Michigan quickly added scores on a 42-yard pass from Robinson to Devin Gardner and a 36-yard run by Robinson.

"Every time it looked like we had them they'd just make a big play," UMass coach Charley Molnar said. "It was not a good day. We got beat in all three phases of the game. You name it - they just were better than us in every area."

After a 32-yard Levengood field goal cut the margin to 35-13, Robinson raced his team down the field in the closing moments of the half. And when offensive lineman Taylor Lewan recovered a Robinson fumble and flopped into the end zone, the lead was 42-13 at the break.

Robinson directed two third-quarter scoring drives, hitting Roy Roundtree for an 18-yard touchdown and handing the ball to Smith for a nine-yard score and a 56-13 lead.

Justice Hayes added a fourth-quarter TD on a short run after UMass fumbled away a punt return.

Despite his team rolling up nearly 600 yards of offense and sending eight different players into the end zone, Hoke is still asking for more as a showdown with Notre Dame looms next on the schedule.

"If we want to win a Big Ten championship, we need to improve a lot," Hoke said.

Notes: Michigan QB Denard Robinson moved past Tom Brady on the Wolverines' career passing yardage list. ... UMass starting RB Michael Cox played three seasons at Michigan as an undergrad, but the Dorchester, Mass., native moved closer to home for grad school and was eligible to play right away. ... Former walk-on safety Jordan Kovacs made his 36th start for Michigan. ... Robinson connected with nine receivers. ... The Minutemen, playing their second season in FBS, have been outscored 145-19 in the first three games of the season.
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