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Michigan’s Devin Gardner makes Northwestern pay on third down

DevGardner — filling for injured Denard Robins— runs through tackle attempt by Wildcats cornerback Demetrius Dugar. | Tony Ding~AP

Devin Gardner — filling in for the injured Denard Robinson — runs through a tackle attempt by Wildcats cornerback Demetrius Dugar. | Tony Ding~AP

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Updated: December 12, 2012 6:49AM



ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Northwestern certainly didn’t overlook Devin Gardner, who started for Michigan in place of record-breaking quarterback Denard Robinson.

Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald noted that Gardner had emerged “as a weapon” filling in for Robinson, who missed his second consecutive game with an elbow injury, and the junior didn’t disappoint Michigan fans.

Gardner completed 16 of 29 passes for 286 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. He also ran for 49 yards and two touchdowns on nine carries.

He distinguished himself on third downs. The Wolverines converted seven of 10, and Gardner shined on most of them.

In the first quarter, he completed an 11-yard pass on third-and-10 on a drive that ended with a touchdown. He earned three third-down conversions with his speed and shiftiness, including on third-and-11 on his team’s next touchdown drive with about five minutes left in the second quarter. Of his 48 first-half rushing yards, Gardner gained 30 on third downs.

Targeted

Gardner insisted he didn’t pick on Wildcats senior cornerback Demetrius Dugar, who started in place of Nick VanHoose.

That was hard to tell. Dugar had a rough game.

On Michigan’s second drive, Dugar was too far from receiver Roy Roundtree, who sprinted past him and gained 32 yards. Two plays later, Dugar was flagged for pass interference opposite Roundtree.

Later in the game, he gave up a 42-yard pass and was flagged for another pass-interference penalty.

In the fourth quarter, Dugar intercepted a pass from Gardner, but he also missed a tackle in overtime on a play that gained the Wolverines 17 yards.



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