Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  Last updated 10/29/11
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- For those expecting to witness Michigan's season come tumbling down before your eyes, you'll have to wait at least another week. Before a chilled homecoming crowd of 112,115, the Wolverines manhandled the Purdue Boilermakers 36-14 Saturday afternoon at Michigan Stadium. Purdue scored on their first and last possession of the game, while Michigan sandwiched 36 points in between. It was perhaps the most complete game the Wolverines have played all season. This victory was important for Michigan on many fronts: They responded with a resounding victory after suffering their first loss of the season. Michigan's defense held Purdue to 89 yards rushing, had four sacks and a safety. A challenged offensive line responded as the Wolverines racked up 339 yards rushing. Fitz Toussaint appears to be a legitimate threat at tailback. But what really came across is Michigan's resolve not to allow one setback ruin their season. "The whole team knew we had to bounce back this weekend," Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson said. "Everybody prepared and everybody was ready. We did what we had to do." Unlike the past couple of years, Michigan's defense didn't wilt after giving up a big play. On third-and-10 from the Michigan 48, the Boilermakers hit a bubble screen pass, which torched the Wolverines for a quick six and a 7-0 lead at the 13:39 mark of the first quarter. "We knew everything was OK," Michigan defensive end Craig Roh said. "They scored a touchdown, we never want that, but we weren't freaking out. We were saying, 'Let's just settle down and play Michigan defense.'" Since his arrival in Ann Arbor, coach Brady Hoke has extolled upon Michigan's tradition, standard, expectations and virtue until he's been blue in the face. Hoke has brought back several catch phrases from the past: Eleven hats to the ball. It's the expectation of the position. When you think Michigan football, it's defense and rushing the ball. This is Michigan. All of that might seem lame, corny and arrogant, but Hoke's playing before a partisan crowd. Michigan's fan base eats up every word he says. As much as Hoke has fired up the Wolverines' fans, it's the players who need to buy in, and that comes down to coaching. "Our mentality is, we want to get better," defensive tackle Mike Martin said. "That's what's it all about. "We're going to keep taking positive steps forward, and from this point on, every single game is a championship game for this program." Each Michigan player sounds like a coach. They're focused, determined and able to channel their emotions toward performance not sulking. Martin was extremely upbeat when talking about how Michigan practiced during their bye week. Without trying to cast stones at anybody, the senior from Redford revealed that Michigan practiced as if it were a game week; the Wolverines were physical, not lackadaisical. When Hoke was asked about his team's resolve he responded, "They're on scholarship to get a great education and to play football, and they're expected to do both." Translation: We have high expectations that will be met. As much as Hoke and his staff have instilled an identity back into the program, it's the team that needs to be recognized. The players have gone to Hades and back several times over the last couple of seasons. They've been treated like a bunch of outsiders. Once adversity hit, they were abandoned and left to fend for themselves. Many wrote them off and were praying for the day when a real Michigan football team would emerge, so this group could be banished to the sidelines forever. Melodramatic, perhaps, but it's true. Since they lost to Michigan State, Michigan has been labeled a team that cannot play against the big boys. They're too one-dimensional, too small and too timid to compete. Granted, Michigan has not performed well after a loss, but how can the Wolverines put past failures to rest if they're constantly being labeled as losers? "What I have to say is, we don't really care about what other people think," Robinson said. "This is about this team team 132." And that is the Michigan difference.
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