ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Devin Gardner has been sacked 14 times in two weeks, which has resulted in two straight Michigan losses and a combined total of minus-69 yards rushing.
Which has some – including a national columnist – questioning the overall “toughness” of the football team.
And Gardner responded to the media criticism shortly after the Wolverines fell to Nebraska, 17-13, on Saturday.
“Whoever questions our toughness, they shove it,” Gardner said. “I look into those guys eyes in the huddle and they’re tough guys and are going out fighting for me. So I don’t care what any of you or whoever said that, says.”
Michigan (6-3, 2-3 Big Ten) ran for minus-21 yards rushing Saturday, which officially knocked the Wolverines out of the Big Ten Legends Division race.
“There were a lot of tough plays out there,” Gardner said. “sometimes you don’t get them. It’s not happening consistency every play.”
Gardner, who ran for minus-32 yards on 16 carries against the Cornhuskers (7-2, 4-1) defense, says he was healthy enough to play and is dealing with no major injuries after the loss.
“If I am out there, I am fine,” Gardner said. “Everybody is beat up in November. It’s not a guys out there running around fresh, unless they haven’t played hard or given their all for their team.”
While Gardner finished the game with 196 yards passing on 18-of-27 throws with one touchdown, he said his effort still isn’t good enough if the Wolverines want to compete down the stretch.
“I am the quarterback,” Gardner said. “ I am chose to make plays, and I didn’t make enough plays today to help my football team win.”
Michigan will take on Northwestern next Saturday in Evanston, Ill.