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Purdue blows chance with 44-13 loss to Michigan

Associated Press Published: October 6, 2012
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — All Purdue wanted was a chance to put itself back on the college football map.

Denard Robinson wouldn't let them Saturday afternoon.

The Michigan quarterback ran 24 times for 235 yards, threw one touchdown pass and continually moved the Wolverines up and down the field as they routed Purdue 44-13.

"It's kind of embarrassing losing like that in Ross-Ade (Stadium), with a lot of people visiting and just getting blown out," quarterback Caleb TerBush said. "It's a pride thing, and we can't let it happen again. We need to work on our execution, that's the biggest thing."

The Boilermakers (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten) have no choice if they intend to jump start their chase for the Leaders Division crown.

And there's plenty to be fixed.

While the defense let Robinson break loose time and again Saturday, the Boilermakers' high-scoring offense struggled, too.

Purdue ran 26 times for just 56 yards. TerBush completed just 16 of 25 passes for 105 yards with one TD and one interception before apparently hitting his hand on a helmet late in the third quarter. He was relieved by Robert Marve, who made his first appearance since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Marve was relieved later by Rob Henry. Marve was 5 of 8 for 43 yards with one interception.

"We didn't perform very well today and Michigan did, but we have to move forward and press onward," Purdue coach Danny Hope said. "We can't hang our heads, we have to regroup."

Two weeks ago, Robinson was the one talking like Hope and TerBush, apologizing for a sub-par performance that led to a 13-6 loss against Notre Dame.

And while having a bye week before the Wolverines' Big Ten opener made the disgust linger a little longer, it also gave Robinson time to work on solutions. By the time he jogged onto the field at West Lafayette, all Robinson wanted to do was atone for previous mistakes.

Did he ever.

Robinson looked sharp and efficient, turning in big plays on another milestone day.

He broke the Big Ten's career record for yards rushing among quarterbacks (3,905), moving past Indiana's Antwaan Randle El (3,895). He moved into fifth on the NCAA's career rushing list for quarterbacks, breaking a tie with Kent State's Josh Cribbs. He passed Todd Collins for fourth on the Wolverines' career list for yards passing (5,873) and moved past Chris Perry and Butch Woolfolk and into fifth on the school's career rushing list.

But it wasn't just the numbers that impressed Michigan (3-2, 1-0 Big Ten).

Three of Robinson's runs went for more than 35 yards, he finished 8 of 15 for 105 yards through the air and for the first time this season was interception-free.

It doesn't get better than that, especially in a venue where Purdue had lost only one time since Oct. 1, 2011.

"When I stepped out there today, I said I want to be accountable. I'm going to do whatever it takes to win for Michigan," Robinson said. "That's what I did."

Michigan never gave Purdue a chance to make the statement they wanted to.

After the Wolverines defense forced a three-and-out on the game's first series, Robinson took the Wolverines on a methodical 17-play drive that burned nearly nine minutes and ended with Fitzgerald Toussaint's 1-yard scoring run to make it 7-0.

Four plays later, Robinson had the ball in his hands again. This time, he opened the series with a 38-yard run to the Purdue 25, and on the second play of the second quarter, Toussaint plunged in from 1 yard out to make it 14-0 — before the Boilermakers even had a first down.

And when Hope decided to go it for on fourth-and-1 from the Michigan 43, TerBush's pass was too high for O.J. Ross to haul in and cornerback Raymon Taylor picked it off and sprinted 63 yards to make it 21-0 less than 18 minutes into the game.

The Boilermakers and their fans were stunned.

Robinson hooked up with Devin Gardner on a 23-yard TD pass before halftime and then made sure his only big mistake — a botched handoff to Gardner that led to TerBush's 4-yard TD pass to Ross just before halftime to make it 28-1 — didn't cost the Wolverines too badly.

He set up one second-half field goal with a 46-yard run and another with a 59-yard run before breaking Randle El's record midway through the fourth quarter on one of the best days of his career.

"That's how I want to play now, just play relaxed and have fun," he said.

Michigan couldn't have asked for anything more from its star player.

"I'm sure it was good for (Robinson's) confidence," coach Brady Hoke said. "It probably is good for all of us to some degree. At the end of the day, I think he looked real comfortable. He was ready to play the game and it showed."

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