Michigan Football: Denard Robinson Passes the Torch to Devin Gardner

T.J. McaloonContributorNovember 17, 2012

ANN ARBOR, MI - NOVEMBER 17: Devin Gardner #12 of the Michigan Wolverines leaves the field high giving fans after a 42-17 victory over the Iowa Hawkeyes at Michigan Stadium on November 17, 2012 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Denard Robinson and Devin Gardner hooked up in the first game of Michigan’s season for a 44-yard touchdown. Who knew that eight games later Gardner would take over for an injured Robinson at quarterback?

And, who could have even predicted back in September that touchdown pass-and-catch could be looked at as a symbol of Robinson passing the Michigan quarterback torch to Gardner?

Senior day is always a sad time. You see players play their final game in front of adoring fans that have come to know them in the past four or five years. 

When these two players were recruited, Gardner and Robinson were looked at as dual-threat quarterbacks. Robinson was an athlete coming into Ann Arbor, while Gardner was the No. 1 quarterback in his 2010 class, according to Rivals

However, Gardner, unlike Robinson, was positioned as a wide receiver before making the transition into Michigan’s quarterback. And, unlike Robinson, Gardner had to wait three seasons before getting his first crack at being QB1 on the Wolverines depth chart. 

Since taking over as the starting quarterback three weeks ago, Gardner has played phenomenally. 

He’s led three-straight Michigan victories, with the offense scoring in each game: 35, 38 and 42 points. He’s thrown seven touchdown passes in those three games. And, he’s seen his passing yards increase every week, from 234 in his first start against Minnesota to 286 in the following week against Northwestern and then this week against Iowa he threw for 314-yards.

On top of having huge passing days, Gardner has been able to keep up Michigan’s dual-threat passing attack. 

With Gardner at the helm, he’s rushed for a score to go with his passing touchdowns in each game that he’s started. 

And, just like how his passing yards have increased each week, his rushing touchdowns have gone up from week-to-week from one in his first start, to two the following week and three in his latest start.

With Robinson still dealing with nerve damage in his right elbow, and with no timetable of the nerve being back to 100 percent, it looks as if Gardner will stay as Michigan’s starter. 

And even if Robinson does get his nerve back in his elbow before Ohio State or its Bowl Game, it doesn’t look like Michigan would go back to its original starter.

Robinson was an electrifying player in his time at Michigan.

However, the future of Wolverines football is here-and-now with Gardner. 

The season started with a touchdown pass from Robinson-to-Gardner. Maybe the season will conclude with Gardner throwing a score to Robinson to close what has been a wonderful collegiate career.