CHICAGO -- In late June, Michigan starting quarterback Devin Gardner was asked if he thought the Wolverines could beat Ohio State on a syndicated radio show in Michigan. Confidently, he said they could. A response that sent a shock wave throughout college football and the already heated rivalry.
At Big Ten media day on Thursday, Gardner stood by his comments.
“I don’t know what you guys want me to say?” he said. “I mean, do you want to say we are inferior? We’re not going to have an opportunity to win in our own stadium? I don’t feel like it was wrong for me to say at all.”
Gardner’s reiterated that his initial response came after he was asked a question.
“I mean, I never said the word guarantee or promise or anything like that,” he said. “I just shared that I was very confident in my team and we would win, when asked, would we would win? I don’t feel it’s wrong in anyway.
“And, yes, the attention that it got was ridiculous I feel like. But the media was doing their job. They saw an opportunity for a story and they wanted to blow it up as big as they could. And that’s what they did. I mean, I feel if any player at this Big Ten media day or back home at these respected teams doesn’t feel like they will win every game—they probably shouldn’t be on that team. And I wouldn’t want to play against them .”
Michigan leads the all-time series against Ohio State, 58-44-6. However, OSU won last year in Columbus, Ohio, 26-21. Their annual fall matchup is known as “The Game.”
What was Michigan coach Brady Hoke’s initial reaction when told about Gardner’s prediction?
“I stood over and talked with coach Hoke and (offensive coordinator Al) Borges about it,” Gardner said. “They never said anything about it. I’m pretty sure they heard about it. I guess they are happy with it. I don’t feel like I was arrogant in anyway. I just firmly believe we are a good football team, we worked hard and we will reap what we sew.”
Hoke stood behind Gardner’s statement.
“You better expect to win,” Hoke said. “I mean you better expect to win every game. So, you stack and stand behind each other. Believe me I have made some bad decisions and they have always stood behind me.”
Michigan will play host to Ohio State for their 108th meeting all-time on Nov. 30. in Ann Arbor, Mich.