By CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Sports Editor
Watch out Ohio State, Devin Gardner is a-comin. Even on Senior Day, the last home game, Gardner accounted for pretty much the entire offense in Michigan’s 42-17 rout of the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Team 133 went out winners at home, as Gardner accounted for six touchdowns on the day. A full-team effort was needed, especially going down to the oval in Columbus next weekend.
It wasn’t just Gardner that proved himself, especially looking to 2013, but Denard Robinson, who was day-to-day coming into the game with a nerve injury in his elbow, didn’t score a touchdown, but wowed on the field with his usual speed.
“I want to say thank you to everybody that ever came out and supported us,” said Robinson.
“Seniors got to go up the tunnel senior victors for the last time in this stadium,” said Head Coach Brady Hoke, who has yet to lose a game at home.
The game started out as any other Michigan rout starts, with an easy three and out with the Michigan defense standing strong. On the first drive for the Wolverines, what else but a touchdown?
In what was his first of many on the day, and quite possibly the best single-game performance on the year for quite some time, Devin Gardner ran one-yard into the endzone for the first score of the day.
The lead didn’t stand for long, as the Michigan defense did look a little sloppy early on, allowing a touchdown on the very next Iowa drive.
A 75 yard, 14 play drive was capped by a 16-yard touchdown reception by Henry Krieger Coble, the first of his career.
That was pretty much it offensively for Iowa as Michigan started their well-oiled machine and ran it throughout the whole game.
Robinson and Gardner would flip-flop back and forth between quarterback, but the only plays we saw from Robinson were run plays. Gardner had much of his plays through the air, though he dazzled with his feet too.
The running game was very efficient for the Wolverines, along with all aspects, the passing game, everything really.
Gardner would find Roy Roundtree on the very next drive, wiping out any momentum that the Hawkeyes had.
They did respond with a field goal, but that was it until the end of the fourth quarter. The next four Michigan drives would be touchdowns. That’s how dominant this offense was.
One of the few blemishes on the day was one interception by Gardner in the fourth quarter, along with a leg injury to running back Fitzgerald Toussaint. He was carted off the field and taken to the hospital, with surgery on his leg, but further details are not available at the time.
Gardner found the end zone on the first drive, a one-yard touchdown run, followed by an 18-yard touchdown pass to Smith, a senior, to end the first half on a 14-0 run.
On the very first drive of the second half, the Wolverines continued their dominance. Gardner once again found the endzone, this time from three yards out. The defense once again stood tall, stopping the Iowa offense forcing a three and out, and the offense responded.
Tight end Devin Funchess was found in the endzone, 29-yards out to go up 42-10. It was way over before then, but the seniors knew it was looking more and more like a win.
That would be the final points scored by this team at home, and Iowa would score once more, late in the fourth quarter.
“This is his team,” said Coach Hoke, talking about Denard Robinson, who is going out a winner today on his home turf.
When the crowd began chanting “Beat Ohio,” in the fourth quarter, Hoke wasn’t too pleased. “I said to somebody next to me, we need to beat Iowa.”
That they did, and in very good fashion. They’ll relax, and start looking at film on Sunday, working up to their big game on Thanksgiving weekend.
The Wolverines are still in the race for the B1G 10 Championship, but still need help from Nebraska, who must lose.
The seniors are going out on top at home, which is the way everyone wanted it, especially with how their careers started, losing many at home.
Now they will look to “The Game” of the year. Ohio State, or as Hoke calls them, Ohio. It’s been quite a ride for these seniors and it’s not yet over. Bring on Ohio State.
To read the original article that appeared online only in The Michigan Journal, on Sunday, November 18, 2012, go to www.michiganjournal.org