BY THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Published October 13, 2012
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Two injuries tempered Michigan’s impressive 10-point first quarter.
Most notably, senior quarterback Denard Robinson left the game after a run with 2:15 remaining in the quarter. He ran off the field appearing to hold his right hand or wrist and was examined by trainers on the sideline. Redshirt freshman Russell Bellomy replaced Robinson for the remainder of the drive. Fifth-year senior guard Ricky Barnum also left the game with an injury on the same drive.
Earlier in the quarter, after stopping Illinois after the opening kickoff, Michigan used a 71-yard screen pass to redshirt junior to take a 7-0 lead. Fifth-year senior tight end Mike Kwiatkowski’s crushing downfield block set up Gallon’s touchdown. The pass was Robinson’s 48th career touchdown pass, which ties him for fourth in Michigan history.
After Bellomy entered the game, Michigan kicked a short field goal to go up 10-0 at the half.
Michigan fans can exhale: Robinson appears to be ok.
After one Bellomy-led drive — which ended in a punt after dropped passes by both freshman tight end Devin Funchess and fifth-year senior wide receiver Roy Roundtree — Robinson returned to action and promptly led the Wolverines down the field for a touchdown. He threw just one pass on the scoring drive, perhaps in an effort to protect his injured hand/wrist, and punctuated it by scrambling in for his 4oth career rushing touchdown.
Robinson became the eighth player in NCAA history to record 40 passing touchdowns and 40 rushing touchdowns.
Though Michigan had another chance to score on its last possession of the half, Robinson dropped a snap on 2nd down in Illinois territory, leading to a punt. The Fighting Illini ran the clock out after that, keeping the score 17-0 Michigan at halftime.
Earlier in the quarter, Illinois also lost its starting quarterback when Nathan Scheelhaase was forced to exit after a hard tackle on a long scramble. It appeared to be a head or shoulder injury for Scheelhaase. Reilly O’Toole replaced him for the rest of the quarter but couldn’t engineer any substantive offense.
Barnum also returned to the game for Michigan.
Michigan started with the ball in the second half with a 17-point lead and didn’t waste time adding to it. Aside from one incomplete pass, the Wolverines kept the ball on the ground throughout the drive, with Robinson and redshirt junior running back Fitzgerald Tousaint splitting carries.
On the sixth play, Robinson kept the ball, juked a defender in the middle of the field and cut to the left sideline where there was open space. He took the play 49 yards to the end zone for a Michigan touchdown.
O’Toole took the field again on the next drive and threw a pick to 5th-year senior linebacker Kenny Demens on his first throw of the half.
Robinson was able to convert the turnover to points, thowing the ball to freshman tight end Devin Funchess in the back of the end zone, giving Michigan a 31-0 lead.
A few drives later, Illinois started with the ball on its own four-yard line following a solid Michigan punt. On 3rd-and-4, redshirt sophomore linebacker Jake Ryan got to O’Toole in the pocket and forced a fumble, and the Wolverines recovered.
Two plays later, Toussaint bowled into the end zone from two yards out for Michigan’s third touchdown of the quarter.
Michigan took multiple starters out at the start of the fourth quarter. Robinson was out, replaced by Bellomy, and redshirt junior tackle Taylor Lewan was spelled by redshirt sophomore Joey Burzynski.
On defense, junior safety Marvin Robinson replaced fifth-year senior safety Jordan Kovacs before the start of the quarter.
The fans streamed toward the exit, escaping the rain and a game whose outcome was decided quarters ago. By the middle of the quarter, about 20 percent of the student section remained. Michigan and Illinois exchanged punts for much of the frame, as each team failed to sustain any sort of drive.
With little more than six minutes remaining, Thomas Rawls broke two tackles and galloped to 63-yard touchdown to make the score 45-0.