Pulled for the final series in the Wolverines’ 29-6 loss at Michigan State Saturday night, Gardner’s status for Saturday’s game at home against Nebraska is clear, even if his body is still cluttered with bruises.
“He’s good,” Brady Hoke said Monday. “He’s fine. I mean, he’s beat up, just like Andrew Luck is today.”
The only difference of course is the junior from Detroit wasn’t able to lead his Wolverines to a fourth quarter comeback victory like Luck did for the Colts Sunday night in Houston.
Gardner was sacked 7-times for a total of 49-yards against the Spartans, routinely being pulled off the ground after plays by an offensive line that failed to provide him with enough time to complete passes downfield.
Despite the physical pounding that left Gardner with a muddy white jersey, he was able to complete 14-of-27 passes for 210-yards with one interception.
“I thought he was a warrior,” Hoke said. “Now, did he do everything perfectly? No.”
Hoke also added, “He’ll probably need yesterday and today (to recover).”
Michigan attacked the Michigan State defense downfield in the passing game on the opening drive but failed to sustain the attack as Gardner continued to be blown up by Spartan defenders.
Redshirt freshman wide receiver Jehu Chesson led all Michigan receivers with three catches for 82-yards including a 58-yarder over the middle that lead to a field goal.
Still, Hoke believes there were opportunities missed because of the constant pressure by the Spartans.
“There were some quick throws in there but more there were plenty of opportunities,” Hoke said. “I guess I wish we would’ve given Devin another half a click to step-up and throw it because there were a lot of opportunities down the field.”
Hoke said, overall, he was pleased with Michigan’s game plan offensively Saturday.