Michigan holds on as Denard Robinson accounts for 345 yards, 3 TDs
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Denard Robinson led Michigan to touchdowns on five straight drives from late in the second quarter to early in the fourth.
The 20th-ranked Wolverines almost needed every point.
Robinson accounted for 345 yards and three TDs, helping Michigan overcome its poor defense in a 42-37 win over second-tier Massachusetts on Saturday.
Rich Rodriguez insisted he wasn't troubled by how badly his team played when UMass had the ball.
"We have some warts that are still out there," Rodriguez said. "Let's not pretend that we're the 1985 Chicago Bears."
The Wolverines needed to another great performance by Robinson to avoid a setback that would've stunted their momentum after opening with wins against Connecticut and at Notre Dame that earned them a place in The Associated Press Top 25.
Robinson did his part again, having the 10th-best day offensively in school history.
He was 10 of 14 for 241 yards passing, connected with Darryl Stonum for TDs 45 seconds apart late in the first half and had an interception. He ran 17 times for 104 yards and a score that put Michigan ahead 35-17 midway through the third quarter.
"They didn't really contain me," Robinson said.
Relatively speaking, they did.
Robinson set a Michigan mark with 502 yards against the Fighting Irish, breaking his record of 383 yards from the season-opening victory over the Huskies.
"That kid is unbelievable," UMass coach Kevin Morris said.
The Minutemen forced Robinson to hand off more than he had in the first two games, helping Michael Shaw have career highs with 126 yards rushing and three scores.
Michigan's defense, though, almost undermined its potent offense.
The Minutemen (2-1) scored to get within five points with 2:05 left, but their onside kick went out of bounds and Michigan ran out the clock to avert another embarrassing upset by a Football Championship Subdivision team.
UMass led by 10 late in the first half and rallied from an 18-point deficit to have a chance to stun college football's winningest team just as Appalachian State did three years ago.
"It's still a loss," Morris said. "I'm proud that we didn't pack our bags when we were down 35-17, but we always want to win -- even against a great team like Michigan."
Kyle Havens was 22 of 29 for 222 yards -- often throwing to wide-open teammates -- had two TDs, an interception and Jonathan Hernandez ran for 114 yards and two scores for UMass.
Michigan's kicking game was as shaky as its defense.
Seth Broekhuizen, who beat out Brendan Gibbons during a wide-open competition to kick field goals, missed a 38-yard kick that could've made it 10-all in the second quarter. Rodriguez joked that he'll schedule another tryout for the student body if there's anyone on campus who can kick field goals.
Michigan had a punt blocked late in the game, giving UMass comeback hopes, and the Wolverines struggled to soundly return punts.
"Special teams were awful," Rodriguez said.
As discouraged as Rodriguez was with his team on defense and special teams, he was impressed enough with the Minutemen to visit their locker room after the game.
"I don't do that very often," he said.
The Wolverines were effective enough on offense to avoid joining their 2007 team that lost to Appalachian State and this year's Virginia Tech team that was beaten by James Madison earlier in the month as ranked teams to lose to lower-tier foes.
They can thank Robinson, again, and Shaw -- who took advantage of defenders focusing on the speedy QB.
"I guess UMass got the memo," Shaw said. "They started to hone in on his speed and a lot of things opened up for me."
Robinson threw an interception on his first throw -- the first turnover for Michigan this season -- but bounced back with a series of throws and runs that will add to his highlight reel.
"He knew right away that he made a misread and a misthrow," Rodriguez said. "He's not one to ever get down on himself."
Robinson responded on the next drive, converting a third-and-11 with a 43-yard pass to Kelvin Grady to set up Shaw's first TD. After UMass took a 17-7 lead with 1:17 left, Robinson threw a short slant that Stonum turned into a 66-yard touchdown and a 9-yard pass to Stonum to put Michigan ahead 21-17 just before halftime.
Robinson was asked to run less often than he was the first two games -- when he averaged 28 1/2 carries -- thought he had to play the entire game because Michigan's defense couldn't put UMass away.
"I'm all in for Michigan," Robinson said. "Whatever it takes to win."
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