Devin Gardner entered Saturday's game at Minnesota as Michigan's No. 1 wide receiver. But when his team needed him to step in at his old position, he was ready. As a result, Gardner is the Big Ten's Player of the Week for Week 10.
Robinson didn't start at quarterback for the first time since 2009, as an aggravated nerve problem in his throwing elbow kept him sidelined. Gardner, the former backup quarterback who has spent almost the entire season at wide receiver, moved into the top role after practicing more at quarterback during the week. He had a shaky start, throwing a first-quarter interception, but everything changed midway through the second quarter. Gardner brilliantly extended a play, with the help of his offensive line, and then found a wide-open Drew Dileo for a 45-yard touchdown. It capped a 12-play, 91-yard scoring drive that resulted in Michigan's first touchdown since the fourth quarter of an Oct. 13 win against Illinois.
Gardner found his groove on the next series, completing 4 of 6 passes as Michigan drove 90 yards on 13 plays. Michigan recorded two touchdown drives of at least 90 yards for the first time in program history, and did so on consecutive possessions. With Gardner, making his first career start under center, at the helm. That's impressive. Gardner had three completions for 45 or more yards, including two 47-yard passes in the second half that marked his career high.
Despite misfiring on two of his first three passes, Gardner finished the game 12-for-18 for 234 yards and two touchdowns. He got a lot of help from his receivers but spread the ball around decently. Gardner added 10 rushes for 21 yards and a touchdown. His performance bodes well for the future, and it definitely helps Michigan in the present as it remains alive in the Legends division race.