A career that has seen many ups – but as of late – more downs, and the loss to the Terrapins was another moment in the wrong direction.
In defeat, Gardner completed 13-of-24 passes for 106-yards and one interception. He also had 14 carries for 84 yards and a touchdown.
Although his effort wasn’t good enough to get the win, his play still earned respect from his starting center, Jack Miller, who was last seen talking to Gardner as they exited the field.
“I said I was proud of him,” Miller said. “I said he’s done a lot for guys on this team and for this program. And I thought he played really well today. Sure, he had a couple things he wish he could have back. But I told him I was proud of him.”
U-M coach Brady Hoke noted after the game that Gardner had been dealing with an ankle injury for the past five weeks, and was satisfied with his quarterbacks performance.
“I thought Devin did an awful lot of good things today,” Hoke said. “Just like everybody else, he wasn’t perfect. But this is the first game he’s been healthy in about five weeks. Where he’s felt really good with his ankle. And that allowed him to make some plays with his feet. Which he can do very well. I thought he had some ball that were catchable what we didn’t catch. And we got to do a better job of that.” However, with Michigan’s (5-6, 3-4 Big Ten) bowl hopes slipping away, Gardner is sure to hear more of his share for the blame on the field, and for this season.
“Devin has been through a lot,” Miller said. “Especially this season. He’s handled it very well. He’s got a lot of character to him. That’s what you want in your quarterback.”
And for Gardner and the 11 other seniors, it was “disappointing” ending to their last home game of their careers, Miller says.
“Disappointing for all the seniors,” redshirt junior center Jack Miller said. “You feel bad when guys can stay four or five years at any program of this caliber, but Michigan in particular. You’re a tough guy, you deserve a lot . You feel bad when it goes out that way.
“Feel bad for the seniors. That’s sort of the overall feeling right now.”
Michigan next plays at No. 6 Ohio State next Saturday at noon.