ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Devin Gardner continued to show he’ll be just fine as the quarterback of the future for Michigan. And as long as Denard Robinson is hurt, Gardner will be the Wolverines’ man in the present, too.
The pro-style attack Gardner and Michigan ran was once again a smart game plan with a lot of options, and one that has ignited a Wolverines offense that had appeared stagnant through the second half of October.
On a day when Michigan’s defense struggled to contain Northwestern’s Kain Colter and Venric Mark, it needed a big day out of its offense, and it got it with Gardner. His play moves him into the top spot in this week’s Michigan 10 (last week's rankings in parentheses).
1. QB/WR Devin Gardner (2): The junior had his second consecutive good start and looked like he improved since the Minnesota game, understanding when to run and having more touch on his passes. He completed 16 of 29 for 286 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. In the second half, he completed 10 of 16.
2. LB Jake Ryan (1): Ryan didn’t have his usual productive day -- his four tackles tied a season low and snapped a five-game streak of at least a half-tackle for loss -- but Ryan continued to be around the ball as Michigan’s best overall defender, and he leads Michigan in tackles (69) and tackles for loss (12).
3. LB Kenny Demens (3): The senior made the game-winning defensive play as he stuffed Northwestern’s Tyris Jones up the middle on fourth down in overtime to clinch the win. It was the last of his nine tackles, including two tackles for loss. Demens now has 251 tackles in his career and is tied for second in tackles this season with 67.
4. WR Roy Roundtree (NR): He had been silent for more than half the season, making a few catches here and there, but the fifth-year senior has found a rhythm with Gardner starting. On Saturday he caught 5 passes for 139 yards, including a 53-yarder on the final drive of regulation to set up the game-tying field goal.
5. S Jordan Kovacs (6): The senior, who wore the No. 11 Legends jersey instead of his traditional 32, had 5 tackles, 2 pass breakups and a tackle for loss. With 54 tackles this season, he is fifth on the team.
6. S Thomas Gordon (10): The redshirt junior was around the ball, notching a team-high 11 tackles, the first double-digit tackle game of his career. He is fourth on the team in tackles (62), and with a season-plus remaining in his career he could end up making 250 career tackles. He's at 152 now.
7. WR Jeremy Gallon (9): The junior had a career-high seven catches against Northwestern, breaking his previous career high of five, also set against the Wildcats. He had 94 receiving yards and is closing in on 1,000 career yards (986).
8. QB Denard Robinson (8): Tough to drop Robinson any lower than this. While the senior missed his second consecutive game with an ulnar nerve injury, he spent almost the entire game on the headset, and as Gardner put it after the win: “This is still Denard’s team.” Whether or not he is on the field, he is a leader for Michigan.
9. LB Desmond Morgan (7): No huge reason to drop Morgan again, except that he has other teammates playing better than him. But the sophomore continued to be a consistent support, making nine tackles for Michigan, and he is tied for second in tackles, with 67.
10. RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (NR): The junior has not been all that productive this season, but he gained a season-high 92 yards and looked more determined than he has all season. He also ran more between the tackles instead of trying to bounce outside.