With star quarterback Denard Robinson out due to injury, the Michigan Wolverines got off to a sluggish start offensively in their first ever trip to TCF Bank Stadium against the Minnesota Golden Gophers. But backup Devin Gardner got things together quickly, leading the Wolverines to a 35-13 victory and keeping the Little Brown Jug in Ann Arbor.
Michigan (6-3, 4-1 Big Ten) only managed nine yards of offense in the first quarter, and the Wolverines fell behind 7-0 when Minnesota (5-4, 1-4 Big Ten) scored on the first play of the second quarter courtesy of Philip Nelson's 10-yard pass to John Rabe.
Michigan struck back quickly, as Gardner found Drew Dileo for a 45-yard touchdown to cap off a 91-yard scoring drive. The Wolverines tallied the next 14 points, with two more long scoring drives of 90 and 86 yards.
Minnesota notched a field goal early in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to 21-10, but Gardner's two-yard touchdown run minutes later closed the door on the Gophers. Fitzgerald Toussaint's 41-yard scamper with 3:05 left was the icing on the cake.
Box Score Hero: Gardner was brilliant as Robinson's fill-in, completing 12-of-18 passes for 234 yards and two touchdowns to go along with one interception. Gardner also had 21 yards on the ground with a score.
Rankings Ramifications: Michigan was bounced from the BCS rankings after a loss to Nebraska last Saturday, and the Wolverines had only two votes in the AP Poll this week. The win could get them closer to the rankings, but it's unlikely they get back in unless there's some help.
But Did They Cover? Michigan was a 9½-point favorite according to most services, so they easily covered.
For More On This Game: For more on Michigan, head over to Maize n Brew. For more on Minnesota, check out The Daily Gopher.
Next Week's Schedule: Michigan hosts the Northwestern Wildcats. Minnesota visits the Illinois Fighting Illini.