All those folks anointing Michigan junior Devon Gardner as a potential franchise quarterback in the NFL might need to slow down. Gardner and Michigan struggled to get past a bad Akron team Saturday.
Gardner, making his seventh career start, was just 16-of-30 throwing the ball, and he also tossed three picks against a defense that had come up with just eight interceptions since the beginning of the 2011 season (a span of 26 games). One of the picks was returned for a TD in the third quarter and enabled Akron to get back in the game.
Gardner now has thrown six picks in three games; he also has seven TD passes.
As for the positive, Gardner threw two TD passes and also rushed for 103 yards and a score.
Remember, though, that this wasn't a mediocre passing performance against a good team. Akron is bad. The Zips have lost 27 in a row on the road and have won just four times since the beginning of the 2010 season -- and three of those wins were over FCS programs.
Gardner was excellent in last week's win over Notre Dame, and the Wolverines obviously didn't play nearly as well this week. In some respects, they were lucky to win and they needed a goal-line stand in the final minute to win the game. But Gardner's performance has to give pause; he was not sharp against -- we'll say it again -- a bad team.
Gardner and Michigan play at Connecticut next week. UConn isn't that good, either.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.