'Surgical' QB Devin Gardner Shines In Michigan's Dominant Win Over Iowa

By Michael Bonner, Reporter

Iowa Hawkeyes defensive lineman Joe Gaglione (99, center) reaches for Michigan Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner (12, right) during the first half of their NCAA college football game at Michigan Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012, in Ann Arbor, Mich. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette-KCRG)

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By Grant Burkhardt

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Before Denard Robinson entered the tunnel to the locker room at Michigan Stadium for the final time Saturday, he embraced his heir to the quarterback throne, Devin Gardner.

“I just told him keep going,” Robinson said. “You know, keep leading, keep playing your game.”

His game mimicked Robinson’s Saturday, and his job maybe Gardner’s too. The former wide receiver might be taking his spot as King of the Big House one year earlier than expected. On senior day, it was the junior who put up the prolific numbers behind center.

The wideout turned quarterback unleashed an aerial assault of 314 yards on the Iowa defense to stampede the Hawkeyes, 42-17. His six total scores even surprised his coach.

“He had six touchdowns,” Michigan Coach Brady Hoke repeated a statistic just given to him. “See, I don’t remember that stuff.”

The 113,016 people in attendance won’t have a problem remembering. Gardner’s three scores through the air acted as a catalyst to an eruption from the small city housed in the stadium. As the 37-, 18-, and 29-yard passes sailed through the air, the voluminous crowd was at first silenced before exploding as the football touched his targets’ hands.

They weren’t just a few gems surrounded by coal, either. Gardner dissected the Iowa defense with surgical precision. He completed 18 passes on 23 attempts for 314 yards, the most by a Wolverine in 17 games. It came in three quarters of work, too.

“It was a great game,” Gardner said. “The line blocked well, we ran the ball well, Denard ran the ball well.”

And therein lies one of the keys to the offensive onslaught.

Robinson returned to the field after spending the last two weeks on the sideline. But he didn’t attempt a pass.

Instead, the Wolverines used him as a wide receiver, a running back, even a second quarterback when they ran an option to Robinson, who then ran the optionand pitched it to Fitzgerald Toussaint.

“It was great for me, that’s just something else that they have to gameplan for,” Gardner said. “So it was great.”

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