Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson is one of the biggest playmakers in college football. He can tear teams up on the ground and through the air. If Nebraska is to beat Michigan on Saturday, they will have to find a way to limit what Robinson can do. Here are the top five weapons the Blackshirts have at their disposal against the Wolverines.
Lavonte David – Nebraska’s single-season tackles record holder, Lavonte David, poses a direct threat to Robinson. If head coach Bo Pelini decided to commit David to spying Robinson, David could cause some serious damage. By shadowing Robinson, David has the ability to equalize every play Robinson attempts to make with his feet. The Huskers must use David to shut down Robinson.
Alfonzo Dennard – Nebraska’s big time cornerback can have a big time influence on Saturday if he can lock down Robinson’s top-target Junior Hemingway, who leads the Wolverines with 28 catches for 557 yards. Dennard shut down Michigan State’s BJ Cunningham, who has twice as many catches as Hemingway and more than 300 yards more than Hemingway does. The first step in jarring Robinson from his comfort zone will be eliminating his top target. Dennard can do that.
Eric Martin & Cameron Meredith – One of the most critical elements of Saturday’s game will be the pass rush. If the Huskers can contain Robinson and force him to throw from the pocket, the game will be much more manageable for the Blackshirts. The brunt of that work will have to come from speed rush defensive end Eric Martin and all-around talent Cameron Meredith.
Austin Cassidy – The senior safety leads Nebraska in forced turnovers. He has forced a fumble and intercepted 2 passes, one of which went for a 50 yard run back to midfield. Cassidy is a game changer who will make Robinson pay for taking a chance deep. Look for him to keep Robinson honest all game, forcing short passes and scrambles.
Denard Robinson – Great defenses make great quarterbacks to awful things. On Oct. 8, at his home stadium, Robinson threw 3 interceptions in a loss to Michigan State. Two of those interceptions came in the red zone. Another collapse like this is the best-case scenario for the Huskers. If Robinson doesn’t play well, and especially if he throws away points like he did against the Spartans, Nebraska will cruise to victory.
Photo Courtesy Detroit Free Press
By Chris Peters