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September 24, 2011Quarterback Denard Robinson ran for three scores in the first half to give No. 22 Michigan a three-touchdown lead and finished with a season-high 200 yards rushing, helping the Wolverines beat San Diego State 28-7.
The Wolverines (4-0) sputtered Saturday on offense after halftime because Robinson struggled again in the passing game, completing just 8 of 17 passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns.
Though the Wolverines forced three turnovers, they turned the ball over four times and were fortunate Ryan Lindley couldn't hit open Aztecs.
After Lindley missed a teammate on fourth down midway through the fourth quarter, Robinson's 30-yard sprint set up Vincent Smith's 7-yard run to give Michigan a 28-7 lead.
San Diego State (3-1) won its first three games for the first time since 1981, then became the first team to not start strong against Michigan and new coach Brady Hoke, who led the Aztecs the previous two years.
Hoke tried to downplay facing his former players during the week.
He didn't, though, treat the postgame like just another one.
Hoke hugged a lot of the Aztecs, including a long embrace with defensive lineman Larry Gibbs.
For the first time since taking over college football's winningest team, Hoke had a lead entering the second quarter.
Michigan started the second quarter leading 14-0 after being outscored by a combined score of 21-0 in the first quarters against Western Michigan, Notre Dame and Eastern Michigan.
Robinson had a lot to do with that, running for 84 yards and two scores, including one from 53 yards.
The Wolverines were stronger on defense than they had been, slowing Ronnie Hillman on the ground and refusing to let Lindley get comfortable in the pocket.
San Diego State avoided a shutout when Lindley made a 16-yard pass to Colin Lockett with 4 seconds left in the third, taking advantage of Michigan's third turnover in the quarter.
The Aztecs, though, failed to maintain momentum on their next drive after getting the ball and settling for their sixth punt after Lockett dropped an over-the-shoulder pass deep in Wolverines territory.
Robinson ran 21 times and reached 200 yards rushing for the third time in his career. He matched his career high with three rushing scores and did it in one half for the first time.
Lindley completed 23 of 48 passes for 253 yards and a TD. Hillman ran for 109 yards on 21 carries.
Michigan's next game, its fifth straight at the Big House, is against Minnesota in the Big Ten opener.