Michigan starting quarterback Devin Gardner has been ruled out of the Buffalo Wild Wings bowl on Saturday due to a turf toe injury.
Gardner started every game for the Wolverines this season at quarterback. The redshirt junior passed for 2,960 yards this season, and he also rushed for 483 yards. He totaled 32 touchdowns for Michigan. Despite these solid numbers, Gardner has been inconstant at quarterback, mirroring the rest of the team’s play.
Heading into the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl at 7-5, the Wolverines have shown promise at times. Other games, Michigan has looked downright awful. The greatest sign of potential for the Wolverines came on the last game of the regular season. Michigan fell to rival Ohio State by one point after the Wolverine failed to convert on a two-point conversion that would decide the game. In the game, Gardner threw for 451 yards and scored five touchdowns. Instead of playing for a victory to cap the season, Devin Gardner must watch from the sidelines because of a turf toe.
Replacing Gardner will be true freshman Shane Morris. While he may not be as polished at the quarterback position as Gardner at the moment, Michigan fans should not be too upset with the backup. The lefty quarterback committed to Michigan as a top quarterback in his class. In fact, ESPN.com ranked Morris as the eighth best in his class. Shane is a pocket passer and should be the type of quarterback of the future for Michigan.
Both head coach Brady Hoke and offensive coordinator Al Borges have been well-known for wanting to create an offense featuring a downhill running game with a pocket passer under center. Since Michigan already had elusive scrambling quarterback Denard Robinson and then Devin Gardner, the current coaching staff is yet to play with a quarterback like Morris. During the Buffalo Wild Wings bowl, Morris should provide a glimpse to the future for Michigan.