He might be wearing a number not generally akin to that of a quarterback, but Michigan Wolverines quarterback Devin Gardner is playing just as impressively wearing no. 98 as he would his trademark no. 12.
En route to a 27-13 halftime lead over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish in one of the final times that these two will meet on the field, Gardner has been more than impressive in his primetime debut for the Wolverines.
So far, the former wide receiver is 13-of-20 for 180 yards and two touchdowns. He’s also run one in himself, in a moment that even had head coach Brady Hoke befuddled on the sidelines, as Gardner checked off the play himself. Hoke would try to call a timeout, although it’s a good thing he didn’t as Gardner ran it right through the center of the ND defense.
Gardner has displayed incredible command of the offense and showed great chemistry with his top receiving target Jeremy Gallon. Gallon currently has five catches for 123 yards and has grabbed both of his QB’s touchdown strikes.
As for the Irish, they haven’t played incredibly terrible, however they have had their issues.
It’s been no secret that I have never been the biggest fan of Tommy Rees at QB for the Irish. Through most of the first half, he was proving me incorrect and beginning to have me think that he had changed his ways. However, on a rollout late in the second quarter, Rees turned into his old self by inexplicably firing a ball directly into the hands of an awaiting Wolverines defender. That turnover would later lead to more points.
We’ll see if the Irish can make the necessary adjustments in the second half. More importantly, it’ll be interesting to see how long the leash is that Brian Kelly has on Tommy Rees.