2011 Michigan Wolverines Football

Big Ten football fans

Michigan Wolverins @ Northwestern Wildcats Football Recap

Michigan 42, Northwestern 24



The Northwestern Wildcats’ penchant for blowing double-digit leads is getting old in Evanston, Illinois. The Michigan Wolverines’ ability to play airtight football in the second halves of games is getting to be a welcome sight in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Two Big Ten programs are going in opposite directions, inheriting what seem to be their natural places in the league’s pecking order. Michigan stands for college football tradition and excellence, while Northwestern’s gridiron history is defined by struggles and setbacks. On a crisp October night at Ryan Field, the law of the Big Ten jungle reappeared in full force, with Wolverines dominating the landscape and making all the right adjustments to survive.

Michigan came back from a 10-point halftime deficit to win its first road game of the season Saturday night at Northwestern. Michigan is now 6-0, after stepping away from Ann Arbor for the first time in 2011. Quarterback Denard Robinson was outstanding when he needed to be, putting up 450 total yards.

Robinson threw three first-half interceptions, but as has been the case all season long, he bounced back to throw for 337 yards and run for 113, shrugging off mistakes with a focus and poise that have to thrill both head coach Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator Al Borges. Robinson threw two touchdown passes, both in the first half, and ran for two more. Robinson completed seven of eight pass attempts in the second half, bringing a lethal efficiency to UM’s offensive attack. Junior Hemingway led Michigan receivers with 124 yards on five catches. Roy Roundtree caught three passes for 83 yards. Hemingway had 106 yards in the first half.

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Dan Persa threw for 331 yards for Northwestern, in his second game back from an Achilles tendon injury suffered last season. Jeremy Ebert caught 11 passes for 86 yards for the Wildcats, but that effort lost its value in light of the fact that the Wildcats melted down in the second half yet again. Northwestern led 24-14 at halftime on touchdown runs by Kain Colter, Treyvon Green, and Adonis Smith. After squandering a 28-10 lead against Illinois the week before, NU had a chance to get things right, but another league game instead went oh-so-wrong after halftime, as coach Pat Fitzgerald failed to make the right moves at the intermission.

Michigan scored touchdowns on its first three possessions of the second half. Northwestern turned the ball over twice in the third quarter, allowing the Maize and Blue to make their move. Before that pair of giveaways, the Wildcats had just two turnovers all season.

It was simply a complete train-wreck for the people in purple and another masterstroke for Michigan in the second half of a game: The slow-starting Wolverines held Northwestern scoreless in the second half. Meanwhile, on the other side of the ball, Michigan’s offense was 14-of-17 on third down, making virtually every important play after halftime.

The more things change in the Big Ten, the more they stay the same.


By: Matt Zemek
DFN Sports Senior Staff Writer