BY CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Sports Editor
ANN ARBOR – The Michigan Wolverines, coming off of a huge blowout win against the Purdue Boilermakers in West Lafayette, traveled back to Ann Arbor to do the same thing against the Illinois Fighting Illini.
Denard Robinson led the way for the Wolverines in their 45-0 rout of the Illini, in a rainy, windy and cold afternoon in Ann Arbor.
PHOTOS: Michigan vs. Illinois 2012 Game
Before the game, the Athletic Department unretired/honored the number 48, formerly worn by President Gerald Ford, who played from 1932-1934 for the Wolverines. Linebacker Desmond Morgan was awarded to wear the jersey for the rest of his career.
Ford joins Bernie Oosterbaan and Ron Kramer to have their numbers honored by the Michigan Wolverines.
“He definitely deserved it,” said fellow linebacker, Jake Ryan, who wears Oosterbaan’s number 47 now. “It was very easy to choose Desmond, because of his character and his integrity, because of how he comes every day, in our building,” said Head Coach, Brady Hoke on Morgan. “I think in the classroom, in the community, he’s a great kid.”
“That’s the one thing I think we’ve done better as a team, is the preparation in your formation,” said coach Hoke, who was pleased with the way his team played today. There are some things he wants to work on, heading into the Michigan State game.
The offense started in the first half and never stopped. Senior quarterback and captain, Denard Robinson started everything.
The first touchdown of the game came on a 71-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Jeremy Gallon. Off of a turnover, Brendan Gibbons then kicked a 18-yard field goal to end the first quarter up by 10.
The only touchdown of the second quarter came from Robinson, who ran six yards in to go up now 17-0. It was turning into a blowout, and fast.
Once the first half ended, the announced 110,000 plus crowd began leaving the stadium. The weather most likely had something to do with it. With half staying, they witnessed a continued blowout, led by Robinson.
Robinson did get hurt in the first half, laboring his right arm and was out for part of the first and second quarter, but returned and led the Wolverines the rest of the third quarter.
A 49-yard touchdown run by Robinson would start the second half and pretty much deflated any hopes the Illini had of coming back. Freshman tight end Devin Funchess was able to get his name into the game too, after an eight-yard touchdown reception to extend the lead to 31-0. Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint was also looking to get going and he finally did this game, with a two-yard touchdown run.
Once the third quarter ended, much of the first-team offense came off and all the backups started coming in. Justice Hayes came in at running back, Russell Bellomy at quarterback, Thomas Rawls at running back, the list goes on and on. Michigan took charge and Bellomy was able to find some form late in the fourth quarter. He gave Rawls a great handoff, and he ran for 63 yards to a touchdown.
That pretty much put the nail in the coffin for the Illini. Surprisingly, both starting quarterbacks were hurt, but Nate Scheelhaase, the junior starting quarterback for the Illini was out the rest of the game after injuring his shoulder. Backup Reilly O’Toole played the rest of the way, but was never able to get anything going for the offense.
On the bright side of the game (no pun intended), was the Michigan defense. They allowed no points for the first time since they defeated Minnesota last year, 51-0.
“Shutouts are always a great thing for the defense,” said Ryan, who had a total of 11 tackles and one and a half sacks, along with a forced fumble today.
Michigan will look to end Michigan State’s winning streak against them, which is currently at four straight games. Right now, the time is to be determined, but it should be a great matchup. Earlier in the day, the Spartans fell to the Iowa Hawkeyes in double overtime, which should make them even more mean to face the Wolverines in this next game.
Meanwhile, Michigan is focused on just enjoying the win, regrouping, watching game film and preparing for the Spartans like a Championship game. You can catch all of the rivalry action on Saturday. Check your local listings for time and station.
As always, Go Blue!
To read the original article, that appeared in the sixth issue of The Michigan Journal, on Tuesday, October 16, 2012, go to www.michiganjournal.org