WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -
Michigan's Denard Robinson made no apologies for his play Saturday.
He didn't have to.
After spending the past two weeks reviewing film and contemplating corrections, the senior quarterback returned to his old, demanding style. He ran 24 times for 235 yards, threw one touchdown pass and no interceptions and, most important, led the Wolverines to a 44-13 rout at Purdue on Saturday afternoon.
"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, wearing a camouflage T-shirt with the words "Road Warriors 133." "That's what I did."
Saturday's celebration stood in stark contrast to the one Michigan fans witnessed after that 13-6 loss at Notre Dame.
Back then, a frustrated, angry Robinson was too busy blaming himself for five first-half turnovers to figure out what went wrong.
Yes, having a bye week before the Wolverines' Big Ten opener made the disgust linger a little longer, but it also gave Robinson some extra time to figure out solutions. By the time he jogged onto the field at West Lafayette, all Robinson wanted to do was atone for his previous mistakes.
Robinson made sure of it with his sharp, efficient play and all those big plays that turned this game into yet another milestone performance.
On Saturday, Robinson 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 place 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 you're playing on the road, controlling the football and running the football has got to be a big part of your mindset," coach Brady Hoke said. "As coaches, we wanted to run the football, wanted to get him established."
The Boilermakers (3-2, 0-1) thought Saturday's game would be a chance to re-emerge as a major player on the national stage.
Michigan never gave them a chance.
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.
That was just the start of Purdue's dismal day.
When Purdue coach Danny Hope decided to go it for on fourth-and-1 from the Michigan 43, Caleb 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.
"We got beat by a good football team that played very well and we're a good football team that didn't play very well," Hope said.
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 wind up costing 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. "I've just got to go out there and have fun with it."
TerBush wound up 16 of 25 for 105 yards with one TD and one interception and, after apparently hitting his hand on a helmet, was relieved by Robert Marve late in the third quarter. Marve, playing through a torn anterior cruciate ligament that he injured Sept. 8, was 5 of 8 for 43 yards with one interception.
But it was Robinson who stole the show.
"I'm sure it was good for (Robinson's) confidence," 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."