Film Study: The anatomy of Devin Gardner’s terrible interception against Notre Dame

Graham Watson

All interceptions are bad, but some are so terrible they make you physically ill.

Welcome to Devin Gardner’s world.

The Michigan quarterback threw the worst interception of college football's short season, and – had it cost the Wolverines the game against Notre Dame – possibly one of the worst interceptions in school history.

We all saw the epic play in real time and even in slow-mo replay, but to understand just how terrible a play this was, it deserves to be broken down frame-by-frame.

Here we go:

Here's where it begins. The running back completely missed his block and the lineman at the bottom of the screen has no idea where his quarterback is and, consequently, has taken a terrible angle to try to block his defender. And Gardner's Heisman pose does little to impress Notre Dame.

This would have been a good time to throw the ball away, but...

Nope, retreating into the end zone was clearly the better option here. This genius move, which surely made everyone not wearing green and gold cringe, was topped only by Gardner's next decision that now was a good time to get rid of the ball.

You know how they tell quarterbacks not to throw off their back foot? Throwing off no feet isn't much better.

This shot is my favorite because not only is Gardner being pummeled by three unabated Notre Dame defenders, he's also getting taunted by the Notre Dame leprechaun. If you thought this moment couldn't get any worse, having a smallish guy dressed as a leprechaun standing over you talking crap has got to be a low light in anyone's career.

When Gardner lets the ball go, this is what he sees. Let's count the number of Michigan players (other than Gardner) versus the number of Notre Dame players in the picture, shall we?

And then there's this. Really, Devin? You're shocked that your off-balance throw with nothing on it from the back of the end zone was intercepted? Really?

At the time, this touchdown and extra point made the game 34-28 Michigan with a bunch of time left in the third quarter. Luckily for Michigan, the Wolverines knew they could count on Tommy Rees to somehow blow the game with his own slaptacular interception in the end zone.

Still, if Gardner wants to be a Heisman candidate - and he made some plays that would definitely put him in that category - he can't make boneheaded throws for me and the rest of the nation to mock from the comfort of our living rooms.

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