Found November 16, 2012 on
Fox Sports Detroit:
Ohio State Buckeyes
Iowa State Cyclones
Michigan State Spartans
This was supposed to be the last warmup for Michigan -- an easy game against Iowa before a shot at the three-game package that's now the goal of every Wolverines season: Ohio State, the Big Ten Championship Game and the Rose Bowl.
That all changed when Denard Robinson got hurt against Nebraska and Russell Bellomy imploded. Now, even though the Wolverines are tied for first in the Legends Division, they either need Minnesota or Iowa to pull off a huge upset of the Cornhuskers to give them a shot at Indianapolis and Pasadena. Otherwise, even with wins over the Hawkeyes and Buckeyes, it will probably be yet another New Year's Day in Florida at the Outback Bowl or the Capital One Bowl or the Everglades Alligator Capture Bowl.
Despite the disappointment, Michigan still has to play Iowa this season, and the main focus of the game will be Devin Gardner's continued progress at quarterback. After spending two years as Robinson's backup and most of this season as a wide receiver, Gardner has become the future behind center for the Wolverines. He's won both his starts -- beating Northwestern with a last-second Hail Mary pass and a touchdown run in overtime -- and could have two full seasons left if he's awarded a medical redshirt for his injury-shortened freshman year.
Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes are struggling through a rough season that included early-season losses to Iowa State and Central Michigan. They actually won their first two Big Ten games, including an utterly inexplicable double-OT victory over Michigan State, but have lost four in a row. Things don't look to get much easier, with their final two games being at Michigan and home for the annual Hy-Vee Heroes Game against Nebraska. The Hawkeyes need to win both games to become bowl eligible.
Iowa will also have the extra challenge of facing a Michigan team which they've beaten three straight times. Several Wolverines seniors pointed out this week that they don't intend to graduate without a win over the Hawkeyes.
WHEN IOWA HAS THE BALL
The good news for Michigan is that it won't have to face a running quarterback this week. The Wolverines have struggled against mobile quarterbacks all year, including Northwestern's Kain Colter, but James Vanderberg isn't going to cause any of those problems. In 10 games this year, he's rushed for minus-50 yards, and in his Iowa career, he averages a miniscule 0.2 yards a carry.
Iowa's running game is a mess anyway, with walk-on fullback Mark Weisman forced to carry the load after a number of injuries. Weisman, though, sustained a leg injury in the win over Michigan State, and the Hawkeyes have been scrambling to find yet another replacement. The current starter is Damon Bullock, who gained only 43 yards on 22 carries last week against Purdue.
That means that most of Iowa's offense will have to come via Vanderberg's arm. Last season, he threw 25 touchdown passes and was one of the key factors in the win over Michigan. He started this year on the same award shortlists as Robinson but has had an atrocious season. In 10 games, he's thrown only five touchdown passes and has been intercepted six times. Senior Keenan Davis leads Iowa with just 560 receiving yards, and sophomore Kevonte Martin-Manley is the only player to have caught two touchdown passes.
WHEN MICHIGAN HAS THE BALL
Iowa's best defensive player, linebacker Anthony Hitchens, leads the Big Ten in tackles. He was benched last week against Purdue for poor tackling. It's been that kind of season for the Hawkeyes.
So, like he did against Minnesota and Northwestern, Gardner will be facing an average Big Ten defense at best on Saturday. They've shown more and more weakness against the pass in recent weeks -- something Gardner is more capable of taking advantage of than Robinson -- and might be thinking more about Thanksgiving and Christmas than Michigan and Nebraska.
Gardner has the chance to have a big day against Iowa, as do receivers like Roy Roundtree and Devin Funchess. But Michigan also needs to find a way to get Fitzgerald Toussaint some consistent yardage. Toussaint is starting to hit some big runs, something he didn't do early in the year, but he's still a hit-or-miss proposition thanks to the struggles on the offensive line. Finding a combination that works against Iowa would be a big help going into Columbus next weekend.
The Hawkeyes are struggling down the stretch of a tough season, and the Wolverines are anxious to end their three-game losing streak to Iowa. This could get ugly. Michigan wins 42-17.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Michigan beat Iowa 42-17 and Denard Robinson, in his last game in Michigan Stadium saw snaps at quarterback, running back, and receiver. He started the game at running back in his first game since his injury suffered at Nebraska and amassed 122 total yards (98 rushing, 24 receiving). He spoke to the media afterwards and got a little bit choked up at times.
Denard speaks to the media...
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson is still dealing with an right elbow injury that kept him out of the Wolverines' overtime win over Northwestern last Saturday. His availability for the Wolverines' senior day game against Iowa this Saturday is still up in the air. Michigan head football coach isn't ruling out Robinson making at least a brief appearance in the game...
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Denard Robinson was back in the starting lineup for Michigan on Saturday -- at tailback.
Robinson missed Michigan's last two games because of an elbow injury, and Wolverines coach Brady Hoke was coy as to his availability for Senior Day this week against Iowa.
Robinson received a standing ovation when he was introduced in pregame ceremonies, then drew another...
Michigan has put Denard Robinson back in the starting lineup.
The senior lined up at running back in his final home game and gained 3 yard on a toss sweep the first time the 23rd-ranked Wolverines were on offense Saturday against Iowa.
Devin Gardner made his third straight start at quarterback in place of Robinson, who has been out with nerve damage in his right elbow.
The Hawkeyes are playing vanilla football and Michigan has found a way to deal with the injury of Denard Robinson and still get it done. This game seems pretty cut and dry on paper but here are three bold predictions for this game that might surprise you!Michigan loses this game if Robinson playsAll you have to do is look at the 2010 Hawkeyes win over Michigan and know that Iowa...
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Devin Gardner is still the quarterback at Michigan at least most of the time.
Gardner was the star of Michigan's 42-17 victory over Iowa, running for three touchdowns and throwing for three more, but Denard Robinson's new role might have been the bigger story.
In a scheme drawn up by offensive coordinator Al Borges, Robinson returned from injury to...
1: a person older than another
2 a:a person with higher standing or rank
b: a student in the year preceding graduation from a school of secondary or higher level
This definition can be applied to the following men for Team 133: Vincent Smith, Brandin Hawthorne, J.T. Floyd, Jack Kennedy, Steve Wilson, Roy Roundtree, Floyd Simmons, Kenny Demens, Paul Gyarmati,...
Michigan scored touchdowns on its first six drives and Devin Gardner had a career day as Michigan routed an Iowa team that had beaten it the past three seasons. Denard Robinson played his last game ever in the Big House, and boy was it a good one.
Michigan 42 – Iowa 17
Net Rushing Yards...
GoBlueWolverine's Tom Beaver and Kyle Bogenschutz as well as former Michigan football player Stan Edwards discuss the Wolverine's 42-17 win over Iowa including thoughts on the use of Denard Robinson, the play of Devin Gardner and look ahead to the season ending match-up at Ohio State.
Michigan's football program has 23 seniors who will go out as winners, a far cry from their first season.
''I wish I had been under this coaching staff for four years,'' Wolverines defensive tackle Will Campbell said.
Campbell came to campus during the Rich Rodriguez era and is finishing up under Brady Hoke. He and the other fourth-year players were one game...
They arrived in Ann Arbor four or five years ago, to a program in a state of flux that no incoming class had seen in nearly 40 years. Unlike last year’s graduating class, none came to Michigan under the old regime of Lloyd Carr prior to his retirement. The 18 players that will play their last game in Michigan Stadium on Saturday came to Michigan full of promise with a new coach...