Found November 09, 2012 on Hokeamaniac.com:
PLAYERS: Denard RobinsonDevin GardnerBrady Hoke
TEAMS:

Entering the 10th game of the 2012 season it appears the Wolverines have a legitimate question mark regarding the quarterback position for the first time in three seasons.  Uncertainty, yes.  Controversy, ABSOLUTELY NOT!!!!  If Denard Robinson is healthy he will, and should, be the starting quarterback against the Northwestern Wildcats.  The problem is that, unlike last week, his health is a known BIG IF, and IF he can’t go, Devin Gardner proved against Minnesota that he is not only a capable backup, but possibly a darn good QB and perhaps the starter after this season. Gardner also has proven that he can be a legitimate WR, and if Robinson returns he will still be on the field but as a pass-catcher.  We won’t find out until game time on Devin Gardner leads the team in TD catches with four. Saturday where #12 will line up, but regardless of where he plays, he will have a chance to be a big factor in the game.  If you guessed that he would be the player featured in this week’s “Friday Focus” then, in the words of the knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade: “…you chose wisely…” Regardless of who lines up where, the Michigan passing game will need to be effective to beat the Wildcats who have a defense that is pretty stingy against the run, but susceptible against the pass.  So whether it be with his arm or with his legs/hands, Gardner will be involved in Al Borges’ air attack on Saturday and could have a big day.  Northwestern’s defensive statistics serves as the fuel to my hypothesis: TOTAL DEFENSE – 393.78 YPG (60th nationally) SCORING DEFENSE – 22.33 PPG (T-35th nationally) RUSHING DEFENSE – 121.3 YPG (24th nationally) PASSING DEFENSE – 272.4 YOG (103rd nationally) It’s obvious where the Wildcats defense has struggled this year.  They give up a ton of yardage through the air and their back four have been susceptible to the big play. With his big 6’4″ and 203 lbs.-frame, speed, and exceptional athletic ability, Gardner could prove to be a nightmare and a mismatch for these shaky defensive backs should he be moved back to WR this week.  He had a fairly smooth transition into the position this season until forced into QB duty last week.  Some could argue that, based on the numbers, he has been Michigan’s best receiver, or at least in the conversation.  These numbers (through eight games while the rest of the group has nine games worth of stats) validate the argument: RECEPTIONS – 16 (3rd on the team) YARDS – 266 (3rd on the team) YPC – 16.6 (3rd on the team) LONG (YARDS) – 44 (4th on the team) TD – 4 (LEADS TEAM) With a group of receivers on the smaller side, Gardner has been THE down-field target for Denard Robinson.  There is no telling what his receiving statistics would be at this Gardner looked very capable of quarterbacking Al Borges’ pro-style offense against the Gophers. point if Robinson had not been injured, but something tells me there is a strong possibility he would be 2nd as opposed to 3rd on a few of those statistical rankings. As pointed out above, he only played eight games out of nine at WR due to the fact that he was moved back to his natural position of QB against Minnesota due to “Shoelace’s” ailing elbow.  After a rough first quarter, he settled into the role quite well and reminded us all that he was a 5-star QB recruit and the top dual-threat QB coming out of Inkster High School.  He played well.  If these numbers against the Gophers are a sign of things to come if called upon this year, and as possibly the starter in 2013, I think the Wolverines are in good hands: ACCURACY – 12/18 (66.66%) YARDS – 234 YPA – 13.0 LONG (YARDS) – 47 TD – 2 RUSH TD -1 INT – 1 Gardner’s numbers were not necessarily scewed by a few big plays.  He moved the offense down the field and led scoring drives of 91, 90, 86, 79, and 50 yards.  It was a performace long-time fans have been longing for since the days of Chad Henne.  One in which he was able to go through his progressions, keep his eyes down field while eluding the pass rush, and was able to deliver an accurate deep ball on multiple occasions.  It’s also the type of offense (pro-style) we will see starting next year and beyond. If Devin Gardner is the starting quarterback on Saturday and can give a performance similar to the one he had the previous week, he should be able to carve up the suspect defensive backs in purple and black.  He proved he has the tools to do just that.  If he is under center, look for him to have a big game. the beauty of Devin Gardner is that he will be on the field one way or another due to his size and athletic ability.  Northwestern is flat out not good against the pass.  Thus, Gardner could, and should, be a nightmare for the Wildcats whether he’s shredding them with his arm or using his athletic prowess to haul in passes.  A big game from #12 either way and it will be tough for Northwestern to score enough points against a nasty Michigan defense to leave “The Big House” victorious. GO  BLUE!! You can follow Adam on Twitter at @adamdibart. And also be sure to click on over to Adam’s blog for all things Detroit sports here at deeboknows.blogspot.com.

THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Game Preview: Michigan Football to host Northwestern

Michigan Football (6-3, 4-1) will host Northwestern (7-2, 3-2) on Saturday at the Big House. Kick off is scheduled for 12:01pm (EST) and the game will be televised on ESPN. In a rare twist in this series Northwestern is the ranked team and the Wolverines come in unranked. This game is huge for both teams. The loser of this contest will see their Legends Division hopes all but extinguished...

Michigan Football news, stats and stars from Northwestern win

Michigan Football improved to 7-3 (5-1) with a dramatic 38-31 victory in OT on Saturday afternoon against Northwestern. Brady Hoke asked the first question at his post game presser.  “How many of you (reporters) had your stories written before the finish?”  Most of the room raised their hands.  For Hoke, these last second wins are now officially old hat.  Walking back to...

Fitzgerald holds Hoke in high regard

In just his first season, Brady Hoke turned a beleaguered Michigan program into a Sugar Bowl squad. The early success stemmed from key schematic adjustments which transformed the dynamic Denard Robinson and a spread-based attack. Hoke has proved doubters wrong and earned the respect of Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald, among others.

Brady Hoke mum on QB Situation (with Video)

Michigan Head Coach Brady Hoke wouldn’t tip his hand as to who might get the start at quarterback Saturday against Northwestern. Whats the best-case scenario for the Wolverines?

D struggles, finishes strong (w/ Hoke video)

Giving up 31 points in one game isn’t something that pleases Brady Hoke and the Michigan coaching staff. Northwestern was able to attack the Wolverines on the perimeter. But a great defensive call late solidified the 38-31 overtime win.

Michigan 38, Northwestern 31 (OT): Devin Gardner shows he has some tricks up his sleeve

Devin Garner pulled out a coupe of tricks against Northwestern and not a second too late. Michigan remains in the hunt for an appearance in the Big Ten championship game appearance, thanks to a wild 38-31 overtime victory over Northwestern in Michigan Stadium this afternoon. Gardner's overtime run for a touchdown to the right side of the field gave the Wolverines a victory that...

Video: Amazing, juggling catch helps Michigan pull off victory

Check out the video. Michigan needed a miracle against Northwestern and they got it. Michigan Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner hit wide receiver Roy Roundtree who juggled and caught a 53-yard pass with just eight seconds left in the game

Comeback! Michigan 38, NW 31 in OT

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Devin Gardner ran for a 1-yard touchdown in overtime and Michigan's defense responded with a stop, giving the Wolverines a wild 38-31 win over Northwestern on Saturday.

Michigan holds off Northwestern in OT

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) -- Devin Gardner ran for a 1-yard touchdown in overtime and Michigan's defense responded with a stop, giving the Wolverines a wild 38-31 win over Northwestern on Saturday. Trevor Siemian threw a 15-yard pass to Tony Jones with 3:59 left to give the Wildcats a 31-28 lead and Gardner threw an interception on the next snap. Northwestern couldn't pick...

Michigan comes back for OT win

Devin Gardner ran for a 1-yard touchdown in overtime and Michigan's defense responded with a stop, giving the Wolverines a wild 38-31 win over Northwestern on Saturday. Trevor Siemian threw a 15-yard pass to Tony Jones with 3:59 left in regulation to give the Wildcats a 31-28 lead and Gardner threw an interception on the next snap. Northwestern couldn't pick up enough first...

Sam-n-Kyle NW Preview, Part 1 (video)

In Part One of GoBlueWolverine's weekly football preview, Sam Webb and Kyle Bogenschutz look back at Michigan's 35-13 win over Minnesota -- starting with the performance and presence of junior quarterback Devin Gardner who established himself as the Wolverines future signal caller.

Michigan sent the game into overtime with the craziest catch possible

The Michigan Wolverines took on the Northwestern Wildcats today and regulation ended in a very strange way. Michigan's new quarterback threw up a pass that was tipped by a Northwestern defensive back to Michigan wide receiver Roundtree. He made an amazing cause which allowed their field goal kicker, Gibbons to tie up the game. I bet Michigan is really missing Denard Robinson...

M&GB Pick’em: Northwestern staff predictions

Last week, none of us expected Denard to miss the entire game, but regardless it went about as expected. Katie picked up her first win of the season, nearly getting the score exactly right. Her 38-13 prediction was just three off of the 35-13 result. The rest of us were all close as well. This week, Michigan returns home to face Northwestern. Denard’s status is up in the air once...

Michigan 38 – Northwestern 31 (OT): Roundtree’s heroics propel UM

On a day when a trio of tackles were honored as legends, it was a receiver that made the biggest play. Roy Roundtree has become a big play legend in his own right while donning Desmond Howard’s legends jersey and has now been on the receiving end of two of the most improbable comebacks in Michigan history. Michigan 38 – Northwestern 31 (OT) Final Stats 38 Final Score...

Michigan vs Northwestern game preview

Three games remain in the regular season and Michigan must win all of them to stay in the Big Ten title hunt. And just like last week, the Wolverines might have to do it without Denard Robinson. All week, Brady Hoke has been coy about Denard’s status. When asked about Denard’s status on Thursday morning, Hoke said, “We’ve got a plan in place and we’ve been running through...
Wolverines News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.