MINNEAPOLIS – Denard Robinson wasn’t ready to play after all, and the Wolverines never missed him.
Devin Gardner returned to his original position and put the Wolverines’ offense back on track.
Gardner threw two touchdown passes and ran for another score after being told right before the game he was starting at quarterback, leading Michigan past Minnesota, 33-13 on Saturday.
“It’s the old riding the bike theory, kind of, to some degree,” Wolverines coach Brady Hoke said. “I know it’s probably a little more difficult than that, but Devin’s a smart guy.”
Gardner woke up the Wolverines (6-3, 4-1 Big Ten) after they went two straight games and nine quarters without a touchdown, guiding scoring drives of 91, 90, 86 and 79 yards to squash the hope the Gophers (5-4, 1-4) had of an upset with Michigan’s senior star on the sideline.
Robinson suited up, but Hoke said afterward he decided Friday against playing him with nerve damage in his right elbow.
“I’m an optimistic person. I thought it would be a little bit better. It’s ... a lot better than it was, but it’s just a matter of healing all the way through,” Hoke said.
Hoke said he expected Robinson to start Saturday against Northwestern. Gardner didn’t let the Wolverines down, going 12 for 18 for 234 yards despite one interception to hand the Gophers their 38th loss in the past 41 games for the Little Brown Jug trophy. Minnesota hasn’t beaten Michigan at home since 1977.
No. 21 Nebraska 28, Michigan St. 24: At East Lansing, Mich., Taylor Martinez threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jamal Turner with 6 seconds left, giving Nebraska a win over Michigan State (5-5, 4-1) that kept the Cornhuskers (7-2, 4-1) tied with Michigan atop the Big Ten Legends Division.
The Cornhuskers scored two touchdowns in the final 7:02 to erase a 24-14 deficit. The winning score was set up by a pass interference call in the end zone on Michigan State’s Darqueze Dennard, which gave Nebraska the ball at the 5 when the Cornhuskers would have otherwise had to attempt a tying field goal.
Penn State 34, Purdue 9: At West Lafayette, Ind., Matt McGloin passed for 321 yards and two touchdowns to help Penn State defeat Purdue (3-6,0-5).
Brandon Moseby-Felder had six catches for 129 yards, Zach Zwinak ran for 134 yards and Michael Zordich ran for two touchdowns for the Nittany Lions (6-3, 4-1 Big Ten), who bounced back from a loss to Ohio State.
Indiana 24, Iowa 21: At Bloomington, Ind., Cameron Coffman threw for 315 yards on 21 of 33 passing and three touchdowns to lead Indiana on Saturday to a 24-21 win over Big Ten foe Iowa.
Cody Latimer, who had 113 yards on seven receptions for Indiana (4-5, 2-3 Big Ten), caught all three of Coffman’s touchdown passes. James Vandenberg was 21 of 34 for 249 yards passing and a touchdown for Iowa (4-5, 2-3).
Damon Bullock ran for 83 yards on 25 carries for the Hawkeyes, who played without running back Mark Weisman.
The Hawkeyes regained the lead early in the fourth quarter on a Bullock 4-yard touchdown run to give Iowa a 21-17 advantage. But Coffman threw a 31-yard go-ahead touchdown pass to Latimer with 10:58 left to give the Hoosiers a 24-21 lead.