ANN ARBOR—In need of a positive bounce back performance out of junior quarterback Devin Gardner, Michigan Stadium was the site of a record setting, offensive explosion for the Wolverines in a 63-47 win over Indiana.
Gardner accounted for a school record 584-yards of total offense, passing the 502-yards set by former Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson in 2010. But Gardner wasn’t done there, also rewriting the record books as the lone quarterback in Wolverines’ history to record over 500-yards through the air (503) as he passed former signal caller John Navarre’s mark of 389-yards passing set back in 2003.
And yet, perhaps the most important part of Gardner’s sensational performance was what he didn’t do, throwing zero interceptions as he completed 21-of-29 attempts with two passing touchdowns.
Gardner’s lone turnover didn’t come until the fourth quarter, inside the Indiana five-yard line on a fumbled snap.
“I feel like the offensive line protected so well and gave me such an opportunity to hit those guys,” Gardner said afterword.
“They did a good job of getting open, that kind of makes my job easy. All I’ve got to do is hit them.”
Gardner’s favorite target was senior wide out Jeremy Gallon, also setting records including the Michigan school record for receiving yards in a game and a Big Ten conference record for the same category. Gallon finished the night catching 14 passes for 369-yards and two touchdowns.
Adding 81-yards and three touchdowns on the ground, Gardner appeared comfortable in the pocket and with his decision making in scrambling situations, showing nice resolve coming off a defeat at Penn State.
“I just feel like we did a good job of rebounding,” Gardner said. “It just shows the senior leadership and the leadership on the team that after such a tough loss last week that we could come out and perform and fight like we did and finish the game.”
The final score didn’t come without a few hiccups by the Michigan defense but time and time again Gardner took the Wolverines down the field to put points on the board.
“We were pretty much in sync (offensively),” Hoke said. “I thought Devin did a nice job, found the guys who were open, ran the ball better, which you look at the film and we’ll see why we ran it better.
Hoke later added, “The offense kept moving and kept bailing us out defensively.”
Michigan spent a significant amount of time in the shotgun Saturday, finding a good deal of success rushing the football on read option looks.
Giving up 47-points will never make head coach Brady Hoke happy and something will have to change heading into the Wolverines match-up at Michigan State on Nov. 2, while one thing, could remain the same.
“I’d like to see the same offense show up,” Hoke said. “Maybe a different defense.