If you watched the game Saturday night between Michigan and Notre Dame, you would have seen how ugly football can be when it’s played badly.
Saturday’s 13-6 win by the Fighting Irish over the Wolverines was anything but a thing of beauty. Turnovers – eight in all, six by Michigan – were the undoing of the entire game.
The Wolverines themselves were guilty of six turnovers, and one Wolverine in particular – quarterback Denard Robinson – was guilty of five of those, and on consecutive series, no less.
Robinson was asked what happened that he threw four straight interceptions and fumbled the ball on Michigan’s first series of the second half.
“I wasn’t accountable,” he said. “You can bet that I will be accountable from now on.”
I can understand why he wasn’t accountable. Robinson must be the only quarterback in the country who can hand the ball to the other team five straight times and still keep his job. Heck, even Notre Dame removed starting quarterback Everett Golson after two turnovers on as many possessions.
And I don’t want to hear “they were still in the game.” The Wolverines were but Robinson wasn’t.
That accountability must start with head coach Brady Hoke. Hoke needs to know when it’s time to pull the plug on Robinson, no matter how athletically freakish he is.
I was screaming at my TV after the third interception for Hoke to bench Robinson in favor of the backup quarterback. Robinson was killing the Wolverines with bad decision-making and even worse throwing in the first half, and he needed to be sat down to either get his head clear or get the offense’s attention.
But Hoke continued to let Robinson play, thinking that somehow the quarterback would turn things around.
An interception, a halftime and a fumble did nothing to show Robinson was still ready to play.
Credit Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly. The former Grand Valley State, Central Michigan and University of Cincinnati head man knew to bring lots of pressure to force Robinson into some tough situations, and it worked.
But we’ve all seen the definition of insanity. For those of you who have missed it, insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.
For Robinson to continue to play was Exhibit A of insanity. And he didn’t have to look over his shoulder to see if the backup was warming up, and that was Hoke’s fault.
The Michigan defense did its part. They held the Irish to just 13 points, and normally that’s enough to win ball games.
But with the offense sputtering, nothing changed, including the score.
Hopefully next time there will be some accountability, and someone will get the message that playing like that is not going to be acceptable.
Hopefully Hoke will get that message first, and Robinson will get that message next.