Michigan Football: Why Devin Gardner Must Start over Denard Robinson vs Wildcats

Rick WeinerFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2012

CHAMPAIGN, IL - NOVEMBER 12: Devin Gardner #7 of the Michigan Wolverines throws a touchdown pass against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium on November 12, 2011 in Champaign, Illinois. Michigan defeated Illinois 31-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Devin Gardner had himself a pretty good day last Saturday against the Minnesota Gophers, wouldn't you say?

Devin Gardner: 12/18, 234 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT // 10 attempts, 21 yards, 1 TD

— Michigan Football (@umichfootball) November 3, 2012

For those keeping track at home, incumbent QB Denard Robinson eclipsed 234 yards passing once this season, in a 63-13 rout of UMass that saw him throw for 291 yards and three touchdowns.

Robinson missed last week's game due to a nerve problem in his right elbow, an injury that he is still recovering from, according to Mark Snyder of the Detroit Free Press.

Snyder also notes that Wolverines coach Brady Hoke was non-committal on WXYT-FM's "Stoney and Bill" show as to who would start under center on Saturday afternoon when Michigan hosts No. 24 Northwestern in Ann Arbor:

“We’ve got a plan in place and have been running that plan throughout this week, and we’ll find out. I don’t know (who will start). If I knew, I’d tell you. (The plan is) to go out and win a football game."

The reason is going to drive the Denard Robinson apologists crazy, because this is the same excuse they use to justify why D-Rob belongs under center each-and-every week.

Devin Gardner gives the Wolverines the best chance to win against Northwestern.

The Wildcats allow just over 121 rushing yards per game, 23rd in the nation.

They allow more than 272 yards through the air, a number that puts them 107th against the pass.

Nobody can argue that Robinson is a better passer than Gardner, and the Wolverines need to be able to stretch the field against Northwestern to open up some running room.

The fact that Robinson's not healthy makes the decision all the easier for Hoke. Let Robinson continue to heal, as he's going to play an integral part in the Wolverines' success for the rest of the season.

But this week, against a Northwestern squad that Michigan needs to beat to stay in contention for the Legends Division crown in the Big Ten, Gardner is the answer.