ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Denard Robinson was all business before taking an early seat against Massachusetts and looking ahead to Notre Dame next week.
The Michigan quarterback put up 397 yards of total offense and accounted for four touchdowns in limited duty as No. 17 Michigan routed Massachusetts 63-13 Saturday.
Robinson, who came out of the game with Michigan (2-1) leading 56-13 late in the third quarter, rushed for 106 yards and a touchdown and completed 16-of-24 passes for 291 yards and three scores.
“We needed to get a good win before Notre Dame next week,” Robinson said. “We knew we needed to get better before that game.”
Michigan led 42-13 at halftime, but Robinson stayed in to lead two more drives. Both resulted in touchdowns, at which point Robinson got the afternoon off to watch Russell Bellomy finish the game.
“We’re trying to develop a championship mentality with this team, and a lot of that comes from your offense,” Hoke said. “We wanted to keep them on the field together as a unit and let them finish things off.”
Tailback Fitzgerald Toussaint, who missed Michigan’s opener due to suspension and then carried for just seven yards against Air Force, had 85 yards and a touchdown against the Minutemen. That wasn’t enough for Hoke, though.
“There were a few plays where I wanted him to put his foot into the ground and make more vertical plays,” he said. “But it is hard for your running backs to be playmakers when you don’t block for them. We’re still not moving the offensive line the way we need to do.”
Former Wolverine Michael Cox, now a grad student at UMass, led the Minutemen (0-3) with 76 yards rushing, but Michigan finished the game with a 585-259 edge in yardage.
“It was weird being on that side of the field and going to the visitor’s locker room,” Cox said. “But it meant a lot to come back here and see so many good friends.”
It was a much different outcome than two years ago, when UMass, then still a FCS member, took Rich Rodriguez’s Michigan to the wire before losing 42-37. The Minutemen are now in their first season as an FBS member, and have been outscored by an average of 48-6 in their three losses.
“It was a sloppy day for us in just about every area,” Minutemen coach Charley Molnar said. “Just about everything that could go wrong did go wrong.”
This time, the Wolverines scored early and often, starting with Robinson’s 26-yard TD pass to freshman tight end Devin Funchess on the game’s opening drive. After a punt on the second drive — Michigan’s only punt before Robinson left the game — Toussaint sprinted around left end on an 11-yard score to make it 14-0.
The Minutemen put together a nice drive that spanned the first and second quarters, but stalled inside the 10 and had to settle for a 25-yard field goal. On the next play from scrimmage, Robinson hit Drew Dileo for a 66-yard pass, setting up Vincent Smith’s five-yard run.
Things didn’t go as well for Robinson on the next offensive drive, as UMass pulled within 21-10 on Christian Birt’s 32-yard interception return. The Minutemen, who added a field goal late in the half, had only scored six points in their first nine quarters before getting 13 in the second against the Wolverines.
That was UMass’s last hurrah, though. Robinson hit former quarterback Devin Gardner for a 42-yard touchdown pass, ran for a 36-yard score, then set up another touchdown with a 49-yard rush to the Minutemen 2. That gave the Wolverines a 42-13 lead at the half.
Robinson played Michigan’s two drives of the second half, both leading to touchdowns. Michigan scored eight touchdowns in his 10 drives, including the last five in a row. Still, like his coach, he wasn’t satisfied.
“I left a couple throws out on the field, and there was the Pick-6,” he said. “I read that play perfectly, but I made a terrible throw.”
Robinson then spent the rest of the afternoon watching from the sidelines as Russell Bellomy ran the offense in the fourth quarter.
“I thought Russ was pretty good,” Robinson said. “He was calm and confident out there, which showed a lot. He’s going to be a very good player here.”
Robinson led Michigan to touchdowns on the first two drives of the second half then spent the rest of the afternoon watching from the sidelines.