Scores

Final

(12) Michigan 42

(6-0, 2-0 Big Ten)

Northwestern 24

(2-3, 0-2 Big Ten)

Coverage: BTN

7:00 PM ET, October 8, 2011

Ryan Field, Evanston, IL

1 2 3 4 T
#12MICH 7 7 14 1442
NW 14 10 0 024

Top Performers

Passing: D. Robinson (NOR) - 337 YDS, 2 TD, 3 INT

Rushing: D. Robinson (NOR) - 25 CAR, 117 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: J. Hemingway (MICH) - 5 REC, 124 YDS

Michigan erases 10-point halftime deficit to beat Northwestern

Associated Press

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Denard Robinson threw three interceptions in the first half, each more ugly than the one before it.

In the second half, the Michigan quarterback was nearly flawless, and he kept No. 12 Michigan's record perfect, too, leading the Wolverines a 42-24 win over Northwestern on Saturday night.

Robinson threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more, helping Michigan come back from a 10-point halftime deficit.

"My teammates kept pushing me and telling me to calm down and just do what you can do," Robinson said. "Some throws I could have easily put it on the guy. And I overthrew it. There's some things I've learned from it."

Robinson threw for 337 yards and ran for 113 as Michigan (6-0, 2-0) scored on its first three possessions of the second half. The Wolverines trailed 24-14 after a first half in which Robinson threw three interceptions.

Michigan's Junior Hemingway caught five passes for 123 yards and Roy Roundtree added five grabs for 83 yards. Both receivers set up touchdowns with big gains by outleaping the Northwestern secondary on what Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald called "fifty-fifty balls."

Dan Persa threw for 315 yards for Northwestern (2-3, 0-2) which blew a double-digit lead for the second straight week. Jeremy Ebert caught 11 passes for 87 yards for the Wildcats.

But Northwestern was outscored 28-0 in the second half. So what happened?

"Young man named Denard Robinson," Fitzgerald said. "He's pretty good. Probably better than we've seen in a while."

After shutting out Northwestern in the second half, Michigan has allowed just 21 second-half points in six games and has forced nine second-half turnovers.

Michigan has won nine of the last 11 meetings between the schools, though they hadn't met since Northwestern's win at Michigan Stadium in 2008.

With Michigan trailing by 10 points, Robinson came out firing in the second half. He connected with Roundtree on a 57-yard bomb to set up Robinson's two-yard touchdown scamper. After a stop, Robinson led an 80-yard drive, accounting for 68 yards himself, and Devin Gardner scored on a one-yard run to put Michigan up 28-24.

Michigan's Brandin Hawthorne then picked off Persa's tipped pass, setting up Michael Shaw's three-yard touchdown run. Northwestern had the ball for just 2 minutes, 32 seconds during the third quarter.

"We possessed the ball better, so our defense was off the field," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. "We play good defense when we're off the field."

Ebert fumbled after a short reception from Persa, giving Northwestern two straight turnovers after turning the ball over just two times total in their first four games. After shutting out Northwestern in the second half, Michigan has allowed just 21 second-half points in six games and has forced nine second-half turnovers.

After winning their first five games at home, the Wolverines were playing their first road game of the season, though the Northwestern purple in the crowd at Ryan Field had a liberal sprinkling of Michigan maize that gave the game a Big House-like feel.

The Wolverines started fast. Robinson hit Hemingway on a key third-down pass for 48 yards. The senior outleapt safety Ibraheim Campbell to make a tumbling catch, and Robinson found Steve Watson from nine yards out for the game's first score.

Persa led three long Northwestern scoring drives in the first half. Northwestern's 14 first-quarter points were more than Michigan allowed in its three previous games combined. The Wolverines entered the game allowing just 10.2 points per game, second in the nation and down from 35.2 last season.

"It's frustrating," Persa said. "But we have no one else to blame but ourselves. We have to look inside ourselves to see what we need to do to pull it out."

Meanwhile, Robinson's erratic throws kept Michigan off the scoreboard. Robinson entered the game with a Big Ten-high six interceptions and he threw three more -- all on overthrows -- in the first half.

"We had three picks, probably should have had five," Fitzgerald said.

Campbell had two of the interceptions, his second coming on the first play of the second quarter after Michigan reached Northwestern's 16-yard line. It was the second time all season that Michigan didn't score inside the 20 -- the first was a kneel-down to end last week's 58-0 win over Minnesota.

But after halftime, it was all Robinson and Michigan, which converted 14 for 17 on third-down conversions in the game.

"The players and coaches all looked at each other and we know we hold each other accountable," Robinson said. "I thought I did alright in the second half. I stepped into my throws like I was supposed to."

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Team Stat Comparison

 
MICH
NW
1st Downs2326
Total Yards541438
Passing362331
Rushing179107
Penalties5-655-51
3rd Down Conversions14-174-11
4th Down Conversions1-10-2
Turnovers32
Possession37:5722:03

Passing Leaders

MichiganC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Robinson17/2633713.023
NorthwesternC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Persa32/443317.501

Rushing Leaders

MichiganCARYDSAVGTDLG
Robinson251174.7225
Toussaint14251.807
NorthwesternCARYDSAVGTDLG
Schmidt5316.2011
Smith6284.7123

Receiving Leaders

MichiganRECYDSAVGTDLG
Hemingway512424.8048
Roundtree38327.7057
NorthwesternRECYDSAVGTDLG
Ebert11867.8015
Dunsmore77310.4026

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERMICHNW
TD10:55Steve Watson 9 Yd Pass From Denard Robinson (Brendan Gibbons Kick) 70
TD08:50Kain Colter 15 Yd Run (Jeff Budzien Kick) 77
TD04:10Treyvon Green 7 Yd Run (Jeff Budzien Kick) 714
SECOND QUARTERMICHNW
TD04:13Jeremy Gallon 25 Yd Pass From Denard Robinson (Brendan Gibbons Kick) 1414
TD02:21Adonis Smith 2 Yd Run (Jeff Budzien Kick) 1421
FG00:00Jeff Budzien 20 Yd 1424
THIRD QUARTERMICHNW
TD10:52Denard Robinson 2 Yd Run (Brendan Gibbons Kick) 2124
TD02:58Devin Gardner 1 Yd Run (Brendan Gibbons Kick) 2824
FOURTH QUARTERMICHNW
TD14:55Michael Shaw 2 Yd Run (Brendan Gibbons Kick) 3524
TD02:19Denard Robinson 5 Yd Run (Brendan Gibbons Kick) 4224