Denard Robinson goes down with another injury, but Devin Gardner picks up the save in relief
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- For the fourth time in the last five games, Michigan junior quarterback Denard Robinson left a game due to injury.
Michigan football coach Brady Hoke said Robinson suffered a bruise to his wrist, and said, "he'll be OK" moving forward.
Robinson's injury was nothing new, but his replacement's performance seemed slightly different this time around.
"(Robinson) could've came back in late," Hoke said of his starter, who finished 6-for-10 passing for 92 yards, an interception and who fumbled twice. "But Devin was already doing some pretty good things."
Sophomore quarterback Devin Gardner wasn't spectacular in relief of Robinson, but he got the job done, ultimately closing out the Wolverines' 31-14 win Saturday at Illinois.
Melanie Maxwell | AnnArbor.com
With Michigan leading 14-0 during the team's first possession of the second half, Robinson rolled out and nearly fired an interception on a third-and-long pass, resulting in a punt.
Following the play, he left the field favoring his right arm. Immediately following the punt, Gardner began to take warmup snaps with Michigan senior center David Molk.
Gardner's first possession wasn't great, as Michigan was forced into a three and out and a punt. However, the Wolverines caught a break after an Illinois fumble on the return, setting Gardner and the offense up at the Illini 32.
Michigan didn't exactly excel, but it didn't fall apart either. Gardner completed a 20-yard pass to Junior Hemingway on a third-and-long play, eventually leading to a Brendan Gibbons field goal to make it a 17-0 game.
The Wolverines were hampered by a chop block penalty on Gardner's next possession, resulting in a quick punt.
But following a J.T. Floyd interception minutes later, Gardner made his best throw of the season when he stepped into a 27-yard touchdown strike to Martavious Odoms on third and 15 to essentially put the game out of reach.
Gardner was forced into similar duty a week ago against Iowa, as Robinson was forced to the sideline with an injury to his throwing arm.
The sophomore's response wasn't terrific, though. He went 1-for-1 passing for 2 yards and carried the ball five times for no yards as Michigan fell, 24-16.
This week, Gardner's numbers weren't stellar (2-for-5, 47 yards and a TD), but they were enough.
Was it his best performance of the season? Hoke's not sure.
But was it good enough for Saturday?
"I don't know, I really don't know," Hoke said. "There's so much a quarterback has to do. He threw a great touchdown pass, stood in the pocket, and that was a great play.
"I think he played as well as I've seen him play."