When Denard Robinson smiles, chances are, Michigan fans can’t help but smile, too.

But when Robinson smiles the way he did after a 40-34 victory over Ohio State — the Wolverines’ first in seven years against the Buckeyes — well, that’s a smile that Michigan fans have been waiting to see for what felt like an eternity.

“I want to be nowhere else except with these guys,” Robinson said after the game.

Then he paused, and flashed his pearly whites.

“I’m glad I stayed.”

After a season in which fans and critics alike have questioned Robinson’s ability, even going so far as to say sophomore Devin Gardner should start at quarterback over Robinson, it’s safe to say after Saturday’s performance there are few, if any, Michigan fans that aren’t happy Robinson stayed, too.

Robinson did it all against the Buckeyes, racking up 181 yards on 26 carries for two touchdowns, while completing 14-of-17 passes for 167 yards and three more scores.

He climbed the rankings in the record books as well. After his first touchdown pass of the day to fifth-year senior wide receiver Junior Hemingway — Robinson’s 36th of his career — he passed former quarterback Tom Brady on the all-time passing touchdowns list.

When it was all said and done, Robinson was sixth in passing touchdowns and fifth on the all-time rushing touchdowns list, passing former quarterback Rich Leach after his 35th-career score in the second quarter against the Buckeyes.

“(Robinson) did great,” said senior center David Molk. “It’s apparent how he’s matured throughout the season. We were always composed, we were always ready for another drive.

“There was nothing that was going to stop us today.”

And there truly was little that could stop Robinson and the Michigan offense — especially when the Wolverines needed to score to keep momentum in their favor.

After Ohio State began the game with a six-play, 80-yard touchdown drive, there’s Wolverine fans already began to see flashbacks of the previous seven losses.

Michigan had to answer — and it did.

On 2nd-and-4 from the Ohio State 41-yard line, Robinson faked the handoff to sophomore running back Fitzgerald Toussaint. Robinson then took one jab step right, cut back left and was off to the races.

There aren’t many football players in America that will beat Robinson in a foot race. And there certainly were no Buckeyes that could do it.

Robinson took off for the 41-yard touchdown run, evening the score at 7-7.

“You got a guy that fast — he makes plays,” Molk said. “Same with Fitz, those two can hit a hole and they know where to go, and they know how to read a defense.”

On Michigan’s next drive, Robinson showed off his arm — the same arm that critics have said all year isn’t good enough.

On 2nd-and-7 from the Ohio State 26, Robinson dropped back to pass. He looked … and looked … and looked. He could’ve made lunch, tweeted about how good his lunch was (on his defunct Twitter account, even), and called his mother with the amount of time he had.

Finally, Robinson fired a strike across the middle, completing with Hemingway for the 26-yard score.

Earlier in his career, Robinson may have panicked with that much time to throw — or he may have just taken off and ran. But on Saturday, he proved how much he’s matured as a quarterback.

“He’s calm, patient with the ball,” Hemingway said. “He didn’t force anything. If it wasn’t open, he ran it. If it was open, he threw it.”

Robinson showed off his arm again in the third quarter, firing a bullet across the middle to senior receiver Martavious Odoms for the 20-yard score on a critical third down.

But it was Robinson’s easiest pass of the day that was arguably the most important. With Michigan up by just three and in serious need of some breathing room early in the fourth quarter, Robinson found senior tight end Kevin Koger wide open in the endzone off a play-action fake for a four-yard touchdown pass — Robinson’s third of the game.

“It was a great play call,” Koger said. “I was fortunate enough to slip inside the defensive end, and ran into the corner and Denard found me.”

The play gave Michigan a 37-27 lead with 8:32 to play and proved to be the game winner.

But Robinson, never one to take credit for himself, credited the offensive line for his success both in the air and on the ground.

When asked why Michigan was so successful in the rushing game, Robinson didn’t have to say anything. All he did was point to the big man sitting next to him — Molk.

“The big guys up front, they open holes,” he said.

Then he smiled.

And after Saturday, Michigan fans are smiling, too.

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