Grades: Denard Robinson, Devin Gardner power dynamic Michigan offense to rout
ANN ARBOR -- Devin Gardner or Denard Robinson?
Why not Devin Gardner and Denard Robinson?
Robinson, Michigan's all-time yardage leader, remains hobbled by a damaged nerve in his throwing elbow. That didn't prevent the quarterback from getting in the fold in Saturday's 42-17 win against Iowa.
The move worked to perfection.
Robinson started his final Big House game at tailback, then had stints at quarterback and receiver while Gardner continued his highly successful three-game run as the starting quarterback.
The result: Six consecutive touchdown drives to open the game, each of which covered at least 60 yards.
Gardner accounted for all six touchdowns in a magnificent performance, and Robinson complemented his nicely, giving Michigan's offense another dimension -- and something else for Ohio State to consider.
A look at how some key players graded out in the win:
Devin Gardner: What didn't he do? His first two games were gems, but this one was his best yet despite dealing with the twist of having Denard Robinson moonlighting at quarterback (as well as tailback and receiver). He led Michigan on six consecutive touchdown drives to open the game, accounting for all six scores with three scoring runs and three touchdown passes. He finished 18-of-23 passing for 314 yards, the first time in 17 games Michigan has passed for 300 yards. Gardner is making those around him better, too, especially Roy Roundtree and Jeremy Gallon. Perfect day. A
Denard Robinson: The senior still can't pass -- but that didn't stop him from having a memorable Big House sendoff. Al Borges elected to experiment with him at tailback, receiver and quarterback. He still didn't attempt a pass, but he did just about everything else and it paid major dividends. Robinson finished with 13 rushes for a team-high 98 yards, providing production with Fitz Toussaint sidelined by an injury, and also caught two passes for 24 yards. He provided some fireworks, too, on a Denard-esque 40-yard rush that led to a touchdown. Robinson should be commended for this sendoff -- and, hey, it gives Ohio State something else to think about. A
Jake Ryan: His numbers weren't quite as high as some weeks, but his presence remained imposing as Iowa preferred to go away from him. He had six tackles, including one for loss, and changed a number of plays. A-
Roy Roundtree, Jeremy Gallon: The pair of receivers combined for 31 catches for 493 yards in the first eight games. They have 28 catches for 585 yards in the past three games with Gardner at quarterback, a spectacular rise. Gallon had a career-high 133 yards receiving against Iowa, after posting a season-high seven catches last week against Northwestern. Roundtree had five catches for 83 yards against Iowa, including a touchdown. They're playing their best football of the year, and Gallon the best of his career. A
James Ross: The freshman made his second career start at weak-side linebacker with Desmond Morgan sidelined by an injury. He finished with a team-high 12 tackles, but that was in part due to Iowa targeting the youngster. He was caught soft in coverage several times, leading to a couple big catches by Iowa tight ends. He's talented, he's athletic -- but he's inexperienced. He has to play tighter. B-