Found October 02, 2013 on Fox Sports North:
MINNEAPOLIS -- The 45-yard pass likely still haunts the dreams of Minnesota's defense. Facing a 3rd-and-17 from the Gophers' 45-yard line in last year's game at TCF Bank Staidum, Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner did everything he could to buy time. He started running in circles, backtracking 10 yards to his own 45-yard line before scrambling to the left. Finally, nearly 10 seconds after the ball was snapped, Gardner fired deep downfield and found a wide-open Drew Dileo in the end zone. The long touchdown pass tied the game at 7-7 midway through the second quarter and served as a demoralizing blow to the Gophers. Minnesota never recovered after that play, as Michigan went on to win 35-13. As the Gophers head to Ann Arbor this Saturday, the defense will once again be keying on Gardner. "He's a special athlete," Gophers coach Jerry Kill said of Gardner. "Last year we played hard and went nose to nose for a while, and then he scrambled around for about 10 minutes and throws a vertical route for a touchdown. He's a guy that you've got to keep contained as much as you can." That's often easier said than done. Including the 45-yard touchdown, Gardner passed for 234 yards and two scores in last year's win over Minnesota. That was his first start of the year, too, as he was filling in for the injured Denard Robinson. The Gophers knew that either of the two quarterbacks would be tough tests, but Gardner's ability to scramble in the pocket to buy time proved too much for Minnesota's defense. "That's definitely hard because sometimes we're in coverage and we have to guard receivers. Then when he comes out and he runs, we're worried about getting him and then we forget about our receiver," said Minnesota safety Cedric Thompson. "That's definitely a struggle but it's something we really have to work on in practice all through this week." The Gophers did sack Gardner three times in that game, but the pressure the defense had on him the rest of the game wasn't enough to contain the dual-threat quarterback. "It's kind of hard to read him -- especially when he's in the pocket -- if he's going to run or pass," said Minnesota defensive tackle Ra'Shede Hageman. "I feel like us not really getting any hits on him or making him uncomfortable, it was kind of easy for him to make plays." Gardner's stats from Michigan's 4-0 start against nonconference opponents certainly don't stand out as overly impressive. In four games, the junior has thrown eight interceptions, including three in a narrow 28-24 win over Akron. Last week against UConn, Gardner was just 11-for-23 for 97 yards, two interceptions and no touchdowns, with his longest pass going for only 17 yards. He hasn't put up the same type of passing stats as he did a year ago during his sophomore season. Still, the Wolverines believe Gardner will snap out of his early-season funk. The Gophers are just hoping it doesn't happen against them. "I think Devin is a guy who has a lot of confidence, and we've got a lot of confidence in him," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said this week on the Big Ten coaches teleconference. "Some of the miscues that we've had, it's been more of making sure our fundamentals are what they need to be on every snap, and that's part of being consistent." Yet while Hoke and Michigan remain confident, the Gophers sound opportunistic. Through five games, Minnesota has intercepted five passes. But the Gophers' defense certainly has noticed some flaws in Gardner's game during their film studies. "I think he panics a lot," Thompson said. "When he scrambles, he kind of just throws the ball. I think that's where a lot of his picks come. But some picks were on tipped balls. Sometimes for a quarterback you get unlucky with tipped balls." Minnesota did intercept Gardner once in last year's matchup. In fact, it was Thompson who stepped in front of a Gardner pass to stall Michigan's first-quarter drive near midfield. Still, it's that 45-yard touchdown to a wide-open receiver that still stings the Gophers one season later. Minnesota has seen first-hand Gardner's ability to scramble and make plays. While he can tuck the ball and run -- he gained 103 yard on the ground against Akron and has already rushed for five touchdowns -- it's what Gardner does with his legs in the pocket before throwing that makes him a dangerous weapon for the Wolverines. "Watching film clips or anything like that, I think some of his plays have come from broken plays, a protection breakdown and he steps up and steps around it," Kill said. "A lot of times, a defensive back will take his eyes off who he's covering and look back in the backfield to chase the quarterback, and then the receiver slips. That's where he gets you. He does that several times. He made a couple great throws against us a year ago right on the money. He just made some plays and he's continued to do that through his career." Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter

Gardner, Michigan get tune-up during bye week

If any undefeated football team ever needed a bye week, it was Michigan. The Wolverines scored 100 points in their first two games, beating Central Michigan and Notre Dame. They then had to make a last-second goal-line stand to beat lowly Akron, and were down 21-7 before coming back to beat a UConn team that lost to Towson of the FCS. After that, Michigan needed a week off to...

Michigan Football vs Minnesota staff predictions

Michigan Football (4-0) will host Minnesota (4-1) on Saturday at the Big House. Kick off is scheduled for 3:30 and the game will be televised on ABC. For a complete game preview go here: Michigan vs Minnesota Here are the staff picks for the game Tyler Brochhagen Coming off the bye week the Wolverines have had a chance to regroup, refocus, and rest up. While I think this Minnesota...

Unit by unit analysis: Michigan football vs Minnesota

The University of Michigan football team (4-0) plays host to the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-1) this Saturday. This game opens up Big Ten play for the Wolverines, while Minnesota lost to Iowa last week in their conference opener. Let’s take a closer look at how the individual units of each team compare to each other. Quarterback For Michigan, Devin Gardner will be...

Commentary: Wolverine Devin Gardner’s Time is Now!

Christmas came early in 2013 for my family, well at least for me that is. You see, on March 5th when I heard the news that a fifth year of eligibility had been granted to Devin Gardner, I thanked good Ole’ Saint Nick for the number 12 jersey he brought to me wrapped in Maize and Blue paper (granted now I need a number 98 one too but I digress). For three years I had grown frustrated...

My Michigan Thoughts in a Thirds Perspective

As the Michigan Wolverines leave their bye week behind them as they enter Big Ten play, and as a third of their season is now over (really?), there are still a lot of questions to be answered. The promising start to the season was quickly followed by two lackluster performances in which Michigan was a heavy favorite in both. What does this say about the Michigan Wolverines up to...

Big Ten Play Arrives! Minnesota at Michigan

This Saturday finally marks the opening of Big Ten competition with the Minnesota Golden Gophers traveling to the Big House to face the Michigan Wolverines. It has been quite the emotional roller coaster for the Maize and Blue faithful as expectations have been jolted a bit by the nail-biting results of the last two games against what most would agree as far less talent. Nonetheless...

Hoke: Bryant At LG, Glasgow To Center

Michigan coach Brady Hoke announced a couple potential changes along the Wolverines offensive line for Saturday’s home contest against Minnesota. Hoke addresses the competition on the interior and more (VIDEO included).

Tyler Mason's Oct. 2 Gophers mailbag

After a 4-0 start to the season, Minnesota suffered its first loss of the season last Saturday against rival Iowa. The Gophers were outplayed in nearly every facet of the game and now must regroup as they head to Ann Arbor, Mich., to take on the Wolverines in another trophy game. I took time to answer your questions in advance of Saturday's game at the Big House. Thanks to everyone...

Gophers notebook: Beating Michigan would be 'defining moment'

MINNEAPOLIS -- Three days after losing to rival Iowa on homecoming, the Gophers football team was still feeling the sting of the loss. At the same time, Minnesota knows it has a chance to rebound with a signature win this Saturday. That won't come easy, however, as the Gophers travel to the Big House in Ann Arbor, Mich., to take on the Michigan Wolverines. Michigan is ranked...

Jon Horford finally healthy, impressed with freshmen

It’s no secret that Michigan redshirt junior Jon Horford has been battling injuries throughout his career as a Wolverine. Last season Horford dislocated his knee cap twice, in the preseason and again in December. As a sophomore, he suffered a stress fracture in his foot and Michigan coaches decided to shut him down for that whole season. The setbacks have been frustrating for the...

Michigan Basketball recruiting: Kameron Chatman goes blue

Kameron Chatman (Photo credit: 247 Sports) Michigan Basketball landed a big commitment on Tuesday night when 4-star forward Kameron Chatman (Portland, Oregon) pledged to join the Wolverines 2014 recruiting class. The 6-foot-7, 200 pound Chatman choose Michigan over his other final choices; Arizona, Oregon and USC. He is ranked the #29 overall player in the 2014 class by

Kameron Chatman Commits To Michigan!

John Beilein and Michigan picked up a commitment from 2014 wing Kameron Chatman late Tuesday night. Chatman is the No. 23 overall player in the 2014 class. More to come.
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
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.