No Robinson, no problem for Michigan

Wolverines top host Gophers 35-13
No Robinson, no problem for Michigan

Wide receiver Devin Gardner, filling in for injured star Denard Robinson at quarterback, threw two touchdown passes and ran for another to lead the visiting Wolverines to their fifth straight victory over the Golden Gophers.

Robinson, who left last week’s 23-9 loss at Nebraska in the second quarter with an arm injury, was in uniform but never left the sideline as Michigan (6-3, 4-1 Big Ten) kept its conference title hopes alive and retained the Little Brown Jug trophy. Gardner finished 12-for-18 for 234 yards with an interception.

Freshman quarterback Philip Nelson was 13-for-29 for 142 yards and a touchdown in his third career start for Minnesota (5-4, 1-4), which has lost 21 of the last 22 meetings, 37 of 40 and 15 straight to the Wolverines at home. The Golden Gophers were without leading receiver A.J. Barker, out with an ankle injury.

Minnesota scored first as Nelson connected with John Rabe for a 10-yard touchdown pass on the first play of the second quarter. Michigan answered on the next drive when Gardner eluded a sack and scrambled for several seconds before launching a 45-yard touchdown strike to a wide-open Drew Dileo.

The Wolverines took the lead for good 14-7 with 45 seconds left in the first half after Thomas Rawls capped a 13-play, 90-yard drive with a 2-yard run. They made it 21-7 with 5:05 left in the third quarter when Jeremy Gallon went up high to make a 10-yard catch in the back corner of the end zone. Gardner’s 2-yard score with 9:31 left stretched the lead to 28-10.

GAME NOTEBOOK: Michigan’s Fitzgerald Toussaint added a 41-yard touchdown run with 3:05 left. … Michigan has not allowed a point in the first quarter since a field goal against Air Force on Sept. 8 – its second game of the season. … Minnesota turned the ball over on downs trailing 14-7 with 8:18 left in the third quarter after holder Christian Eldred’s pass to Nelson came up 11 yards short on a fake field goal attempt at the Wolverines’ 20-yard line.