Devin Gardner's 1-yard touchdown run gave the Michigan Wolverines an improbable 38-31 overtime victory over the No. 24 Northwestern Wildcats in a key Big Ten contest. The win put the Wolverines one-half game ahead of Nebraska in the Legends Division.
Trailing by three with 18 seconds left, Gardner, playing for the second straight week in place of the injured Denard Robinson, hit Roy Roundtree on a miracle 53-yard heave to keep Michigan alive. The Wolverines quickly spiked the ball, setting up a 26-yard field goal by Brendan Gibbons to send the game to overtime.
With starting quarterback Kain Colter briefly on the sideline nursing an ankle injury, Northwestern backup Trevor Siemian threw a 15-yard touchdown strike to Tony Jones with 3:59 left. The Wildcats appeared to salt the game away with an interception of Gardner before the Hail Mary saved the day for the Wolverines.
Northwestern got on the board first, marching 78 yards in 10 plays on their opening possession to grab a 7-0 lead. Michigan (6-4, 4-2 Big Ten) responded quickly with an identical 10-play, 78-yard drive of their own. The Wolverines took a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter off a Northwestern turnover, but the Wildcats tied the game up in the final minute of the half.
Northwestern started the second half like they started the first, going 75 yards in 10 plays to take a 21-14 lead. That lead would increase to 24-14 before Michigan scored 14 unanswered to momentarily take the lead.
Box Score Hero: Gardner went 16-of-29 passing for 286 yards and two scores. He also rushed for 47 yards and two scores.
Rankings Ramifications: Northwestern entered the game No. 24 in the BCS rankings and will likely fall out with the loss. Neither team was ranked in the AP Poll, but Michigan could enter the rankings with the win.
But Did They Cover? Michigan was an 8-point favorite, so they did not cover.
For More On This Game: For more on Michigan, head over to Maize n Brew. For more on Northwestern, check out Sippin' On Purple.
Next Week's Schedule: Michigan will host the Iowa Hawkeyes. Northwestern will travel to East Lansing to take on the Michigan State Spartans.