For the past two seasons, the heart, soul and productivity of the Michigan offense rested with one man: Denard Robinson.
How Robinson played essentially determined whether the Wolverines would win or lose, would have success or need their defense to play better than they were capable of at points to win games. And now, entering his final season as Michigan's quarterback, Robinson is the athlete expected to have the biggest season on the Michigan campus in 2012.
Part of it goes to the development he displayed over the final two games of the regular season, when he went 25 of 35 for 347 yards, five touchdowns and one interception while also rushing for 281 yards and four touchdowns.
A repeat performance in the Allstate Sugar Bowl on Tuesday and he will be a frontrunner for a lot of national awards come September.
"He’s catching on. He’s doing what pretty much every quarterback I’ve had in the first year has done, which is he started slow and I’ve said this before, our passing game is so different and there’s going to be pains, because there always is," Michigan offensive coordinator Al Borges said. "But he’s starting to absorb the concepts and understand what we want and it is showing up in the end."
Here's a look at how Borges' quarterbacks at various stops fared going from the first to second year under his tutelage.
Cade McNown at UCLA:
1996: 176 of 336, 2,424 yards passing, 12 touchdowns
1997: 189 of 312, 3,116 yards, 24 touchdowns
Brandon Cox at Auburn (2nd and 3rd Borges years):
2005: 177-306-8-2,324 15 touchdowns
2006: 163-271-9-2,198, 14 touchdowns
Ryan Lindley at San Diego State:
2009: 239-437-16-3,054, 23 touchdowns
2010: 243-421-14-3,830, 28 touchdowns
Robinson at Michigan
2011: 133-237-14-2,056, 18 touchdowns