12:00 PM ET, October 1, 2011
Michigan Stadium, Ann Arbor, MI
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Denard Robinson gave his feet a break and put his arm to work.
Robinson threw for two scores as part of an efficient passing game and ran for a touchdown on a season-low six carries Saturday to lead No. 19 Michigan in a 58-0 win over Minnesota.
The speedy quarterback with a shaky arm was 15 of 19 for 169 yards and didn't throw an interception for the first time since the opener.
"We was clicking," Robinson said.
The rest of the Wolverines (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten) were, too, against the overmatched Golden Gophers (1-4, 0-1) in the Leaders Division opener for both teams. The Wolverines kept the Little Brown Jug trophy that the teams have played for since 1909.
Michigan had its most lopsided win since beating Indiana by the same score in 2000.
"They are bigger, stronger and faster than we are right now," said Minnesota coach Jerry Kill, who was on the sideline just days after leaving the team seeking more treatment for seizures he's had the past three weeks. "It's just that simple."
Robinson is simply sensational as a runner, but had been lackluster as a passer this season.
Entering the game, he completed 49 percent of his passes and his six interceptions surpassed the total he had in September and October last year.
On Saturday, Robinson showed poise in the pocket and displayed touch on throws. He matched his season high with 11 completions -- in his first 11 attempts -- and avoided forcing passes into coverage for a change. He read a blitz on his second TD pass and connected on a crisp, 18-yard pass to Kevin Koger to make it 38-0 late in the third quarter.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke, though, said he didn't need to see him excel through the air to have confidence in him as a passer, unlike the QB's critics.
• Minnesota's 58-0 loss was tied for the second-worst shutout loss in school history. In 1991, they also lost 58-0 at Colorado. The worst was a 63-0 loss at Oklahoma in 1986.
• Michigan earned its first shutout since 2007, when the Wolverines blanked Notre Dame 38-0.
• The shutout was Michigan's first in a Big Ten game since blanking Penn State 20-0 in 2001.
--ESPN Stats & Information
"All we hear is that he's not," Hoke said.
The Wolverines were determined to let running backs take the load off of Robinson on the ground and Minnesota was accommodating.
Smith scored on a 3-yard run to start the scoring barrage, threw a 17-yard toss to Drew Dileo on a halfback pass and caught a 28-yard pass for a score to help Michigan take a 38-0 halftime lead. He become the first major college running back to score on the ground, through the air as a passer and a receiver since Clemson's C.J Spiller in 2009.
"I was just put in the right place at the right time," Smith said. "It was fun."
Nobody from Minnesota enjoyed the day at the Big House.
Freshman Max Shortell made his first start in place of MarQueis Gray, who missed the game with an injured toe on his left foot.
"We did everything we could to get MarQueis ready to play, but he just wasn't ready," Kill said. "You can't play on one leg."
Shortell was 11 of 22 for 104 yards, got sacked three times and hit after several more snaps, leading to Minnesota going 0 for 11 on third-down conversions.
"Our defense was on the field almost all of the first half," Shortell said. "So we couldn't run a lot of plays because we didn't have the ball."
The Wolverines got off to their second straight strong start after struggling early in the first three games of the year.
Michigan outgained Minnesota 384-69, averaging nearly 10 yards per play in the first half.
The Gophers got into Wolverines' territory only once before halftime and fumbled on the play.
They stopped Michigan on its first drive of the second half and got to midfield on the punt return, but spoiled the play with a penalty. Minnesota dropped a pass past the 50 on its next possession and had a 96-yard kickoff return wiped out by another flag.
Minnesota didn't take a snap in Michigan territory until there was less than a minute left in the third quarter.
And just when it looked as if the Gophers were going to score late in the fourth, David Cobb fumbled and cornerback Courtney Avery scooped it up and returned it 83 yards for a 58-0 lead.
Michigan won the oldest trophy game in major college football for the fourth straight time since losing at home in 2005. The Gophers' last win over Michigan before that was in 1986.
"This was a first step toward the expectations of what this program is and that's a Big Ten championship," Hoke said.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... The Little Brown Jug was up for grabs for the first time since 2008. Michigan wanted it.
Gameball goes to... Denard Robinson, who passed for two touchdowns and rushed for another.
Stat of the game... Michigan D. The Wolverines posted a shutout for the first time since 2007.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||0-11||6-11|
|4th Down Conversions||0-0||0-0|
|TD||11:25||Vincent Smith 3 Yd Run (Brendan Gibbons Kick)||0||7|
|TD||06:00||Denard Robinson 9 Yd Run (Brendan Gibbons Kick)||0||14|
|TD||14:52||Drew Dileo 17 Yd Pass From Vincent Smith (Brendan Gibbons Kick)||0||21|
|TD||09:38||Vincent Smith 28 Yd Pass From Denard Robinson (Brendan Gibbons Kick)||0||28|
|FG||05:07||Brendan Gibbons 25 Yd||0||31|
|TD||00:45||Kevin Koger 18 Yd Pass From Denard Robinson (Brendan Gibbons Kick)||0||38|
|TD||08:18||Fitzgerald Toussaint 1 Yd Run (Brendan Gibbons Kick)||0||45|
|FG||02:04||Brendan Gibbons 32 Yd||0||48|
|FG||09:17||Brendan Gibbons 38 Yd||0||51|
|TD||04:58||Courtney Avery 83 Yd Fumble Return (Brendan Gibbons Kick)||0||58|
Minnesota's 58-0 loss to Michigan was tied for the 2nd-worst shutout loss in school history. In 1991, they also lost 58-0 at Colorado. The worst was a 63-0 loss at Oklahoma in 1986.
Michigan RB Vincent Smith has a Rush TD, a Receiving TD and a Passing TD -- all in the first half. He is just the 4th Big Ten player since 2000 with a Rush, Receiving, and Passing Touchdown in the same game, and the only one of the four to do so whose primary position wasn't Quarterback.[+]
Pass TD, Rush TD, Rec TD in Same Game
ESPN Stats & Information