Michigan Wolverines: Matt Barkley

Denard Robinson continues to pile up big numbers

September, 13, 2012
9/13/12
1:37
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1. Matt Barkley has thrown 119 consecutive passes against five or more pass-rushers without an interception -- a streak that dates to Sept. 24 of last season. During that time, Barkley has thrown 18 touchdowns when opponents blitz, including four games with at least three touchdown passes. The first of those four games was against Stanford last year in Week 7, Barkley's second career three-touchdown game against the Cardinal blitz. Overall, Barkley has thrown 37 touchdowns and three interceptions against blitzes since the start of his sophomore season.

2. UL Monroe faces Auburn on Saturday after pulling off a stunning upset of Arkansas last week. In the process, the Warhawks can achieve something that hasn't been done in 24 years. The last team not currently in a BCS-AQ conference to beat SEC opponents in consecutive games was Tulane in 1988. In 1988, the Green Wave beat Ole Miss on Nov. 5 and then knocked off Mississippi State. Memphis pulled off a similar feat just a few weeks earlier in 1988, beating Mississippi State and Florida in consecutive games.

3. Alabama begins its SEC slate this week at Arkansas. On the field, Alabama has won 20 straight SEC openers, with its last loss coming in 1991 to Florida. (Note: Some of those games have since been vacated or forfeited.) How impressive is that? Not only is it the longest current win streak in conference openers, but it beats the next highest by eight. Boise State has won 12 straight conference openers dating to 2000, accomplishing that in three different conferences. The Broncos open their 2012 conference schedule on Sept. 29 at New Mexico.

4. Last week against Air Force, Denard Robinson had more total yards (426) than the entire Michigan team (422). One big reason for this was Robinson’s 218 rushing yards. The remainder of the team had minus-4. While this seems like it would be a rarity, it isn’t. In fact, he wasn’t even the only player to accomplish this last week (Temple’s Chris Coyer). Since 2004, it’s happened 25 times, and the only player to do it twice over that stretch? Indiana’s Kellen Lewis in 2007.

5. Michigan State soared into the AP Top 10 this week, and that could be bad news for its opponent this week. Notre Dame has lost nine straight games against AP Top 10 teams by an average of more than 15 points per game. The last time the Fighting Irish beat a team in the top 10 was 2005, when they knocked off No. 3 Michigan. The nine-game losing streak is the longest in Notre Dame history. The previous longest was seven games spanning 1984-86.

Designed running plays get Robinson loose

September, 11, 2012
9/11/12
4:44
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In order to win a Heisman Trophy, candidates must find a way to separate themselves from the competition. One amazing performance can vault a player into the national spotlight, and one bad game can end a player’s Heisman aspirations.

In Week 2, there were several outstanding performances by potential Heisman Trophy candidates, led once again by USC’s senior quarterback.

Matt Barkley had 187 yards passing and threw a school-record six touchdowns in USC’s 42-29 victory over Syracuse.

Barkley became the first FBS quarterback in the last 12 seasons to throw at least six touchdown passes with less than 200 yards passing in a game. Barkley has 20 touchdown passes in his last four games, six more than any other player in FBS during that span. He kept his passes short in a stormy MetLife Stadium, averaging a career-low 3.7 air yards per attempt. USC’s receivers turned these short passes into big gains with 137 yards coming after the catch -- the 10th straight game that the Trojans gained 100 yards after the catch.

With his play the first two weeks of this season, UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin has vaulted himself into the Heisman discussion.

Franklin had 217 rushing yards on 26 attempts in the Bruins’ 36-30 upset of Nebraska. It was his second consecutive 200-yard rushing game and third of his career. Franklin’s 215.5 rushing yards per game leads FBS this season. In fact, he’s averaging more than 90 teams. Franklin leads FBS with six runs that gained 20 yards or more, and is one of two players with two touchdown runs of at least 60 yards.

Ohio State’s Braxton Miller accounted for a career-high four touchdowns (three rushing, one passing) and 296 yards in Ohio State’s 31-16 win against UCF. Miller gained 141 yards on the ground, his second-straight 100-yard game and seventh of his career. Only Terrelle Pryor has more 100-yard games rushing than Miller among Ohio State quarterbacks. Miller gained a career-high 106 rushing yards inside the tackles, including two touchdowns. After averaging 4.6 yards per rush between the tackles last season, Miller is averaging 7.2 yards in 2012.

After being kept in check by Alabama, Denard Robinson was back to making plays with his arm and his legs.

In Michigan’s 31-25 win over Air Force, he completed 14-of-25 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, he had 20 carries for 218 yards and two more touchdowns. It was his third career game with at least 200 rushing yards and at least 200 passing yards, the most among all FBS players since 2000. Robinson gained 211 of his 218 rushing yards on 19 designed-running plays. During Michigan’s Week 1 loss to Alabama, the Wolverines called only six designed-running plays for Robinson, who gained 25 yards.

WolverineNation Roundtable 

August, 23, 2012
8/23/12
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Denard RobinsonDerick E. Hingle/US PresswireDoes Denard Robinson have a Heisman run in him? Our writers discuss.
Every Thursday, Tom, Mike and Chantel will discuss three issues in and around Michigan sports. This week, they consider a Heisman run for a certain quarterback and the potential of some 2013 commits.

1. Quarterback Denard Robinson seems to be on pretty much every preseason award list, but most pale in comparison to the talk of whether Robinson can win the Heisman. Do you think he wins it this season? If not, will he be a finalist?

Michael Rothstein: No and no. Nothing against Robinson, but there are a multitude of reasons he won't be holding the trophy he was captured emulating during a play against Notre Dame two seasons ago. Part of it has to do with what he has already accomplished. Heisman voters -- and I used to be one -- are an interesting bunch, and Robinson would likely have to top his accomplishments of the last two seasons to win the award. Plus, the Heisman often goes to a player -- Robert Griffin III was an exception -- on a team at least in a BCS bowl if not the national championship game. In other words, his team needs to win. Big. And I don't know if Michigan does that this season. It's not impossible for him to become a finalist or even win the Heisman, but he'd likely have to break Pat White's rushing record and lead Michigan to at least 10 wins and a Big Ten championship game appearance for him to reach New York.
Junior Denard Robinson was named as one of the semifinalists for the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback Award. Robinson joins seniors Russell Wilson of Wisconsin and Kirk Cousins of Michigan State as Big Ten quarterbacks on the list.

A news release from the University of Michigan states that, “The O'Brien is presented annually to the nation's best college quarterback and is the oldest and most prestigious national quarterback award. It honors candidates who exemplify Davey O'Brien's enduring character while exhibiting teamwork, sportsmanship and leadership in both academics and athletics.”

The list will be narrowed from 16 to three on Nov. 21, and the winner will be announced on Dec. 8.

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