While the final three quarters of the Minnesota game were a smashing success for Devin Gardner, the first quarter was an unmitigated disaster that showed the junior still has some kinks to work out in the passing game. It also showed that there are issues bigger than just quarterback play holding back the offense.
Michigan had two three-and-out drives sandwiched around a pretty crummy interception on the second drive. Devin Gardner took the ball on a play action, rolled to the right, got the edge against a defensive end bearing down on him, then uncorked a throw right into a defensive back without setting his feet.
Pretty bad, eh?
There is the obvious criticism of Gardner here to recognize: he shouldn't be throwing across his body without setting his feet. Williams wasn't ever really open once Gardner made the decision to take the ball outside.
However, as Chris as Burgeoning Wolverine Star points out, the blocking on this play was pretty horrible. Elliott Mealer gets blown up by the defensive tackle, Michael Schofield whiffs badly, and Mike Kwiatkowski doesn't get the necessary chip block to give Gardner a chance to throw the ball quickly before the defense recovers without picking a defensive end of out his teeth.
Michigan's struggles on roll out and play action passes are somewhat systemic (as in: why the hell do you think play action will work when nobody respects your run game), but horrible blocking like this doesn't really give the play any chance.