ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) For just a few moments, Michigan’s season seemed in serious trouble – Denard Robinson was hurt.
The star quarterback turned out to be fine, and so was Michigan without him, rolling to an easy 65-21 win over Bowling Green that only got better when Robinson said afterward that the team medical staff told him he would be OK.
“They said I’m good,” Robinson said.
Robinson followed up his first three spectacular games by completing all four of his passes for 60 yards and running five times for 129 yards and two TDs. He went down and stayed on the turf near the sideline after a 47-yard run on the first play of Michigan’s third drive.
“I wish he would’ve stepped out before he got hit,” coach Rich Rodriguez said.
Toward the end of the game, Robinson was healthy enough to do a jump-and-bump celebration with freshman Devin Gardner after he ran for the final score.
“Denard seems to be fine, talking to him and the trainers,” Rodriguez said. “He tweaked his knee a little bit. If he had to come back in, he could’ve. He’ll get some treatment and get ready to go. We’ll be fine for next week. He should be OK.”
Michigan (4-0) opens the Big Ten season Saturday at Indiana.
Backup Tate Forcier, who started last season ahead of Robinson, limped off the field in the fourth quarter. He injured his left knee against the Falcons on the opening drive of the second half and later aggravated it.
“I didn’t need the doctors to look at it,” Forcier said. “I’m OK.”
The Wolverines were much more impressive than they were the previous week, barely beating second-tier Massachusetts, with 466 yards rushing – the most they’ve had since 1992 against Iowa – 721 yards of offense and an improved effort on defense.
Michigan had more sacks (three) and half as many interceptions (two) than it did in the first three games.
“It was pretty obvious we were the glaring weakness last week,” defensive end Ryan Van Bergen said. “That’s not something we want to be.”
The Wolverines, though, didn’t dominate the Falcons from start to finish.
Bowling Green (1-3) gave up the first 21 points of the game in the first quarter, then got to within a touchdown with 5:07 left in the first half.
“If we tackle better, it’s maybe 14-14 at the half and we start the second half with the ball,” Falcons coach Dave Clawson said.
Forcier led the Wolverines to a score 42 seconds before halftime – giving them a 28-14 lead – and helped turn the game into a rout by setting a school completions record by connecting on all 12 of his passes for 110 yards and a TD.
“A lot of people were saying I’m not staying here, but I’m still here,” Forcier said. “I’m not going to leave – not a chance. I love Coach Rod, I love these fans, I love Michigan football.”
Gardner, who was given the first chance to replace Robinson, was 7 for 10 for 85 yards and a score and ran for another TD after Forcier was hurt. Roy Roundtree had nine receptions for 118 yards.
The three QBs led Michigan to its highest-scoring game since a 69-13 win over Illinois in 1986.
“Against Bowling Green, all three quarterbacks were very efficient,” Rodriguez said. “Tate has showed he can play. We wouldn’t be playing Devin if we didn’t think he was ready. Is he as ready as Denard as Tate? Maybe not yet because he’s just a first-year player.”
Bowling Green QB Aaron Pankratz made his first start, playing for the injured Matt Schilz, and was 17 of 28 for 231 yards with a TD and an interception.
“We were limited in what we could do,” Clawson said. “It was the wrong week to have to simplify things.”
Falcons wide receiver Jordan Hopgood ran for two scores off direct snaps on fourth-down plays, but that wasn’t enough to make his coach happy.
“I’m very disappointed that we did not present ourselves better,” Clawson said. “I don’t think that’s a game we should be losing by 44 points.”
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