By RICKY LINDSAY, Staff Writer
When you think of Michigan Football, you think of Denard Robinson. The dread lock bearing quarterback has become a fan favorite around Ann Arbor, where his number 16 jerseys are visible throughout the state on game days.
However, Saturday afternoon featured a different sight at quarterback, as Devin Gardner was set to make his second start behind center, his first at home.
Gardner was spectacular against the Northwestern Wildcats, showing accuracy and leadership right from the start en route to a 16-29 passing day with 286 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He even accounted for a pair of rushing touchdowns, including the game winner in overtime.
Gardner showed poise with 18 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, leading the Wolverines down the field with a 53 yard pass to Roy Roundtree.
However, none of this would’ve happened if Robinson wasn’t sidelined with a nerve injury. Gardner, who started the season as a wide receiver, returned to quarterback the following week after Robinson went down in Nebraska.
Gardner acknowledged this rare opportunity to start at quarterback for the Wolverines, who have been led by Robinson since the 2008 season.
“I knew my time would come eventually, whether it be this year or next year. It just happened to come a little earlier than expected.”
“This means a win and a Big Ten Championship”, said the humble Gardner on what his performance Saturday meant to him.
Even though he’s started the previous two games, Gardner reiterated Saturday that this doesn’t make it his team.
“This is Denard’s team, and it’s always going to be Denard’s team until he’s gone,” said Gardner. “I’ll just do what I have to do to help the team.”
Whether or not Gardner will be the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season, one thing is for sure; he has been humble with every opportunity given to him with the Michigan Wolverines.