Published September 24, 2011
| Sports Network
The junior quarterback made sure his new coach's former team wouldn't spoil Michigan's perfect start. Robinson ran for 200 yards and three touchdowns to power the 22nd-ranked Wolverines to a 28-7 victory over the Aztecs at Michigan Stadium.
Hoke led San Diego State to a record of 13-12 in his two years at the helm and was the Mountain West's top coach last year when the Aztecs were 9-4 and went to their first bowl game in 12 years. The former Michigan assistant was called back to Ann Arbor in January and is trying to turn around a Wolverine program that was 15-22 in three mostly dreadful seasons under Rich Rodriguez.
Rocky Long, meanwhile, has taken what Hoke started and had San Diego State unbeaten after three games for the first time since 1981, but the Aztecs (3-1) hurt themselves with key turnovers and had no answer for Robinson in the Big House.
"Brady and I are good friends," Long said about the matchup. "Brady will win a national championship here. I don't know how soon it will be, but he'll win a national championship."
Robinson had 139 yards on 11 carries with three scores in a dominating first half for the Wolverines (4-0), who racked up a total of 320 rushing yards. Robinson didn't do much in the passing game, completing 8-of-17 for 93 yards with a pair of interceptions that contributed to Michigan's meager second-half showing.
Michigan employed a bend but don't break defense, as San Diego State crossed midfield 11 times and totaled 376 yards, but the Aztecs had three fumbles in Wolverines territory. Ryan Lindley threw for 253 yards with a touchdown, while Ronnie Hillman ran for 109 yards but fumbled it away twice in defeat.
The Wolverines have won their first four games for the third straight season and also have 12 consecutive regular-season non-conference victories. However, the important games begin next week with the Big Ten opener at home against Minnesota.
"It's what you play for: the Big Ten championship," said Hoke. "And Minnesota coming in here is game one. We've got to have a great week of preparation and work together and getting to know our opponent."
Michigan hadn't scored in the first quarter this season, but put up 14 points in the first 8 1/2 minutes of Saturday's contest.
The Wolverines took their first offensive series 61 yards in six plays for a quick 7-0 lead. Robinson keyed it with a 19-yard run on third down and Vincent Smith's 32-yard jaunt set up the quarterback for a five-yard score.
San Diego State followed with a drive across midfield, but Hillman fumbled after an eight-yard gain and the Wolverines took over on their 39. Robinson needed just three plays to put his team in the end zone again, calling his own number on 3rd-and-2 and finding a huge hole on the right side of the line for a 53-yard sprint to make it 14-0.
"That's one thing coach was preaching all week," Robinson said about getting a fast start. "All the seniors wanted us to go fast. Tuesday in practice, we all came out and were ready to go."
The Aztecs then turned it over on downs at the Michigan 29 when a Lindley pass fell incomplete, but the Wolverines stopped themselves on the ensuing series when Smith fumbled inside the Aztec 30.
Robinson again broke loose in the final minutes of the half. After converting 4th-and-2 with a seven-yard gain, the shifty signal-caller followed with a 34- yard jaunt to the San Diego State 11. Three plays later, he scored from the one to make it 21-0 just 31 seconds before the break.
"The kids went out and executed, and I think the first half of the football game probably was our best total team half of football that we've played all year," Hoke remarked about the first 30 minutes.
Robinson came out of the intermission and threw interceptions on Michigan's first two possessions. Neither hurt the Wolverines, as they forced a punt after the first pick and Hillman fumbled for the Aztecs inside the Michigan 10-yard line after the second.
Brendan Gibbons missed a 40-yard field goal attempt on Michigan's next series and the Wolverines turned it over for a third time later in the third quarter when Stephen Hopkins fumbled at his own 38-yard line.
San Diego State finally cashed in a turnover when Lindley hit Colin Lockett for a 16-yard touchdown in the closing seconds of third to make it 21-7. The Aztecs twice crossed midfield early in the fourth quarter, but couldn't get past the Michigan 40. The second series ended when Lindley missed a wide open Gavin Escobar on a fourth-down pass that would have given the Aztecs a first down.
The Wolverines followed with a 57-yard drive, all on the ground, to extend their lead. Robinson started it with a 30-yard burst and Smith capped the quick four-play set with a seven-yard touchdown run for a 28-7 cushion with 6 1/2 minutes to play.
Lindley twice had the Aztecs inside the Michigan 20 late in the game, but fumbled to stop one drive and threw incomplete on fourth down to end the other.
Robinson notched his third career 200-yard rushing game...Michigan last lost a regular-season non-conference game in 2008, a 13-10 setback to Toledo...The Wolverines notched a 24-21 win in the lone previous meeting with San Diego State back in 2004...San Diego State is off next week and begins Mountain West play on October 8 at home against nationally-ranked TCU.