And that's exactly what he did on Saturday.
Gardner, in triple-overtime, sealed the Wolverines improbable comeback with a 5-yard touchdown run and capped off the scoring with a two-point conversion run, as the Wolverines defeated Northwestern, 27-19, Saturday night at Ryan Field.
"He had the hot hand," Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. "So going with him, you know. And keeping the ball in his hands. I thought it was a good idea."
But despite his late game heroics, Gardner still gave all the credit to his teammates, saying it was a "team win."
"I am really proud of my teammates. That's all I can really say. I'm just so proud of teammates," Gardner said. "It's team win. You know, we talked about sticking together. No better game, then a game like that to show we are sticking together. It's about us."
Gardner completed 22-of-43 passes for 223-yards. He threw a 11-yard touchdown pass to Jake Butt in the first overtime.
Michigan's offense was held to three field goals in regulation, including a last second Brendan Gibbons 44-yard kick as time ran out.
After the Gibbons kick, Gardner said he felt reenergized – and it showed in overtime.
"I really don't know," Gardner said, on explaining his execution in overtime. "But this team was really fired up after the end of regulation the way we did. It felt like it was meant to be for us to finish this game. You can call what you want, we came out and competed together won the football game."
With the win, Michigan (7-3, 3-3 Big Ten) ended its two game losing streak.
Gardner has been under scrutiny with his decision making this season, and has been sacked 19 times in the past three games. But even with all his lumps and bruises on the field, he said he "felt good" to the end.
"It felt good," Gardner said, when asked about his energy level at the end of the game. "At that moment you're not worn out. If worn out, you're not a competitor. I got to give it my all. That's what I did. And my teammates you know, they backed me up.
"I'm a competitor. I pride myself on being a competitor. And I feel if I have the ball in my hands I the opportunity. I would have just as comfortable if we had in somebody else's hands. I trust my teammates and I trust myself as well."