Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges surely hoped to create a more balanced offensive attack through the Wolverines’ first four games. But ultimately, his best play is still to give the ball to Denard Robinson and let him run.
Robinson ran for 200 yards and three touchdowns, leading Michigan to a 28-7 victory over San Diego State on Saturday.
He was shaky yet again in the passing game, completing 8-of-17 passes for 93 yards and two interceptions. Smith was Michigan’s leading receiver with three receptions for 44 yards. That has to be a concern as the Wolverines go into Big Ten play. But as long as opposing defenses can’t stop Robinson on the ground, it would be silly not to utilize him that way.
One encouraging aspect with the offense is that Michigan generated yardage in the running game with players besides Robinson. Fitzgerald Toussaint ran for 66 yards on 12 carries, while Vincent Smith added 47 yards on nine rushes. Overall, the Wolverines ran for 319 yards on the day.
After taking a 21-0 halftime lead, Michigan looked ready to give the game right back to San Diego State, committing three turnovers. Robinson threw two interceptions, and tailback Stephen Hopkins fumbled.
Adding to the third quarter frustration was a missed 40-yard field goal by Brendan Gibbons. The sophomore is now 1-for-2 this season.
Yet the Aztecs were never able to capitalize on the turnovers. Quarterback Ryan Lindley hit Colin Lockett for a 16-yard touchdown to complete a seven-play drive following Hopkins’ fumble. But overall, Michigan’s defense stood its ground, bending but not breaking.
Considering the Michigan secondary lost cornerbacks Troy Woolfolk and J.T Floyd during the game, the defensive backfield provided decent coverage. Blake Countess and Courtney Avery were picked on constantly, but didn’t give up many big plays.
Lindley threw for 253 yards, but completed less than 50 percent of his passes (23-of-48), missing several throws that could’ve put San Diego State in a better position to score. Ronnie Hillman ran for 109 yards on 21 carries, but also fumbled twice and never made it into the end zone for the Aztecs.
Linebacker Jake Ryan recovered two fumbles on defense for Michigan. Safety Thomas Gordon picked up another. Defensive Craig Roh also had a nice bounce-back game, disrupting the Aztecs’ offense throughout the game. He had two tackles for loss and forced a fumble.
Michigan hosts Minnesota next week to open conference play.