Posted November 13, 2012 on
AP on Fox
Devin Gardner has proved a capable replacement for star quarterback Denard Robinson, helping keep Michigan's Big Ten title hopes alive.
With Robinson's status unclear, the 23rd-ranked Wolverines try to stay in the race by avoiding another upset to Iowa on Saturday in Ann Arbor.
Robinson has missed the past two games with nerve damage in his elbow, and coach Brady Hoke would only say he's "day to day" regarding the senior's availability for this week's game. While Michigan has missed Robinson's dynamic running ability, Gardner has been a more prolific passer with 230-plus yards in back-to-back victories.
Robinson hasn't topped 200 yards passing since a win over Massachusetts on Sept. 15 but has compiled 946 on the ground in his eight games.
Gardner rushed for 47 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries last Saturday against Northwestern and threw for 286 and two TDs, but Michigan barely pulled out a 38-31 home victory. His 53-yard pass to Roy Roundtree set up the tying field goal with 2 seconds left in regulation, and Gardner ran for the go-ahead TD in overtime en route to being named co-Big Ten offensive player of the week.
He's a big reason the Wolverines (7-3, 5-1) are tied atop the Big Ten's Legends Division, though co-leader Nebraska owns the tiebreaker due to its 23-9 win over Michigan on Oct. 27. That means the Wolverines can only reach the Big Ten title game if they win their final two contests while the Cornhuskers lose at least one of theirs.
"I think they know we've got to take care of ourselves," Hoke said. "To achieve greatness, you've got to put yourself in position and take care of your business."
The Michigan defense didn't do that last week as it allowed 431 yards, its most since a loss to then-No. 2 Alabama on Sept. 1. The Wolverines had given up an average of 250.0 yards over the previous seven games.
Iowa (4-6, 2-4) has the conference's second-worst offense, averaging 321.6 yards, and has lost four straight.
However, don't expect Michigan to take this game lightly. The Hawkeyes have taken the last three meetings - a first in this series - and won 24-16 at home last season over the then-No. 13 Wolverines.
"I myself have not beaten Iowa yet and I know just for selfish reasons, it would be a huge motivation for me," senior defensive end Craig Roh said. "I never want to go not beating a team in my career, and that's something that we control."
Robinson had a chance to tie last year's meeting but threw four straight incompletions from Iowa's 3-yard line in the final seconds. Hawkeyes senior James Vandenberg accounted for one of Iowa's three TDs, but the player who had the other two, Marcus Coker, is now at Stony Brook.
"As far as year-to-year and week-to-week, we're not the same team we were a year ago and they're not, either," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said.
Ferentz's team has been competitive lately, losing back-to-back games by three points. The Hawkeyes fell 27-24 to Purdue on a 46-yard field goal as time expired last Saturday, a week after blowing an early 14-point lead in a 24-21 defeat at Indiana.
Vandenberg has three TD passes and four interceptions over his last five games, getting sacked 13 times.
The status of leading rusher Mark Weisman remains unknown because of a leg injury. Weisman, who has 661 yards and eight touchdowns, has missed the past two games.
Michigan leads the series 40-13-4 and holds a 23-6-3 edge at home.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson is still dealing with an right elbow injury that kept him out of the Wolverines' overtime win over Northwestern last Saturday. His availability for the Wolverines' senior day game against Iowa this Saturday is still up in the air. Michigan head football coach isn't ruling out Robinson making at least a brief appearance in the game...
Michigan Football (7-3, 5-1) will host Iowa (4-6, 2-4) on Saturday afternoon at the Big House. Kick off is scheduled for 12:01pm (EST) and the game will be televised on ESPN.
The Hawkeyes have lost their last 4 games and have had a turbulent season that includes 6 games that were decided by 3 points or less (Iowa is 2-4 in those games). They don’t turn the ball over and they will...
Devin Gardner has done a pretty admirable job filling in at quarterback for Denard Robinson the past couple weeks. He led Michigan to a 35-13 drubbing of Minnesota in Minneapolis and then a comeback overtime win against Northwestern at home. There were 112,510 people at Michigan Stadium for last Saturday’s game. It was the most attended football game of the weekend. But according...
Yes, I know I’ve been MIA for a week. I can explain—just first, agree not to judge me. It started off very innocently. I opened up the Little Brown Jug to celebrate last week after the Michigan victory over Minnesota. I just took one swig—I swear. My stomach must have been emptier than I thought—you know gophers aren’t as meaty as they used to be.
The next thing...
Michigan quarterback is still "day-to-day," and could miss Saturday's game against Iowa. (The Detroit Free Press)
No big deal?
Nebraska head football coach Bo Pelini tried to downplay the sideline argument he had with safety Daimion Stafford. (AP/Yahoo! Sports)
Ted Glover compares the job Minnesota...
The topic of Michigan's quarterback situation is a catch-22 for sportswriters and bloggers. If you don't call it a "quarterback controversy", which it isn't, then what do you call it? We desperately want to label things. If you label it as anything else, like a "situation" or an "issue", does that make it less interesting? Because I find...
Somewhere at the bottom of that heap is Devin Gardner.
My 5 takes from last Saturday at the Big House.
Devin continues his success at QB. As was the case last week in Minnesota, Michigan's offense found another gear that had been lacking with Denard at quarterback for most of the season. Michigan's offense in this game felt controlled, in command and...
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Denard Robinson has become the elephant in Brady Hoke's room.
There have been times in Hoke's two seasons at Michigan where he couldn't stop talking about his multi-talented quarterback, but that has changed ever since Robinson left the Nebraska game with a nerve problem in his throwing elbow.
The Wolverines lost that game as backup Russell Bellomy...
They arrived in Ann Arbor four or five years ago, to a program in a state of flux that no incoming class had seen in nearly 40 years. Unlike last year’s graduating class, none came to Michigan under the old regime of Lloyd Carr prior to his retirement. The 18 players that will play their last game in Michigan Stadium on Saturday came to Michigan full of promise with a new coach...
Congratulations to our second two-time winner of the season, bluwolf77. His differential of 93 was by far the best of the week and was the second best all season, behind only last week’s winner, kfarmer16. Bluwolf77, who also won Week 4, was only 17 away from the two teams’ combined rushing yards, 23 away from Devin Gardner’s total yards, six away from Venric Mark’s rushing...
So you're in the college fantasy football playoffs, are ya? Congratulations there, chief. Now the real fun begins. Before we begin our laser-focus on Week 12, here's what we learned from last week's action...1. Denard Robinson owners cannot be pleased by the play of Devin Gardner. Gardner has looking pretty sharp under center for the Wolverines, which makes you wonder...