Instant Analysis: Michigan 45, Nebraska 17 F

November, 19, 2011
11/19/11
3:31
PM ET
Turning point: Michigan gunner Josh Furman blocked a Nebraska punt with 8:32 left in the third quarter -- yet another special teams play by the Wolverines in a game where they had a blocked punt and two recovered fumbles on kickoffs -- but this block led to an eventual 1-yard touchdown run by Fitzgerald Toussaint that gave Michigan a 31-10 lead over the Cornhuskers and blew the game open.

Player of the game: Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson. The junior had his best game of the season -- and possibly his career -- on Saturday. He completed 11 of 18 passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran 23 times for 83 yards and two touchdowns. While the total yardage wasn't there, it rivaled his performance against Notre Dame in 2010, when he ran for 258 yards and had 502 yards of total offense -- the best performance in Wolverines history.

Best call: There were a couple of them for Michigan on Saturday, but the one that stands out is from offensive coordinator Al Borges. On a 3rd-and-goal from the 1-yard line, Robinson play-faked to Toussaint before rolling to his right for an easy 1-yard touchdown to give the Wolverines a 24-10 lead. The play was a great call because Michigan had run out of the same set before in prior games in those goal-line situations, but given the ball to Toussaint or fullback Stephen Hopkins. The Robinson bootleg was a new wrinkle and an easy touchdown.

What it means: This puts Michigan in an interesting position. While it can't pass Michigan State for the Legends Division lead, it could put the Wolverines in prime contention for an at-large BCS bowl berth should they beat rival Ohio State on Saturday. It also gives Michigan its best season since 2007, when the Wolverines went 9-4. Michigan's win also makes its game against Ohio State more interesting than it has been since 2006, when the Buckeyes were No. 1 in the nation and the Wolverines No. 2.

Record performance: This sounds somewhat bizarre, but Robinson threw the 35th touchdown pass of his career Saturday, tying him with Tom Brady for seventh on Michigan's all-time list. Robinson has now passed Brady, Brian Griese and Jim Harbaugh this season. Next up is No. 6, Todd Collins, who had 37 touchdown passes from 1991 to 1994.

Michael Rothstein | email

ESPN Detroit Lions reporter

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