IOWA CITY—Michigan’s offensive struggles reared their ugly head yet again Saturday in the Wolverines’ 24-21 loss at Iowa.
Michigan rushed for a total of 51-yards in the first half, leading 21-7 at the break as quarterback Devin Gardner completed 8-of-16 passes for 62-yards and two touchdowns.
Well, things got ugly and the wheels fell off in a big way.
Gardner completed 5-of-12 pass attempts in the second half for a grand total of 36-yards, sacked for a 14-yard loss in the fourth quarter, all the while looking uncomfortable and lacking confidence as Iowa came back to steal the win with 17 unanswered points.
“I can’t really pinpoint anything,” Gardner said afterward when asked about the struggles in the second half. “We just didn’t finish well.”
Gardner’s indecision wasn’t helped by a receiving crew that consistently dropped passes in the 18-degree weather, including multiple by sophomore wide receiver Devin Funchess.
“The momentum is what always hurts you,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said afterward. “We usually do not drop those balls.”
Despite the miscues Michigan put themselves in position to at least tie if not win the game in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.
Gardner ran left on a draw, engaged with Iowa defenders just before the first down markers when senior linebacker Anthony Hitchens stripped the ball and recovered the fumble himself in front of the Michigan sideline with 2:12 left in the game.
“I fumbled to lose the game,” Gardner said. “There’s not much else (that needs to be said).”
Gardner added, “I lost the game by myself, I fumbled the ball when they trusted me to drive down and score.”