Devin, did it feel like a basketball game where there’s one guy who’s on fire so you just keep giving him the ball?
Gardner: “I mean, I guess you can say that. I felt like the offensive protected so well and gave me such a good opportunity to hit those guys. [The receivers] did a good job getting open, so it made my job easy.”
With the criticism you’ve been getting, how excited were you to have a record day on offense?
Gardner: “I mean, I just feel like we did a good job of rebounding. It just shows the senior leadership and the leadership on the team that after such a tough loss last week, we could come out and perform and fight like we did and finish the game.”
Can you talk about how the young linemen performed in their first action?
Gardner: “I don’t know if I got sacked too much. They did a good job, man. I’m really happy for them and happy they took advantage of an opportunity and moved forward.”
Were they pretty confident?
Gardner: “They were confident. There’s no time for a lack of confidence. I tried to do my best letting them know I’m confident in them. And Fitzgerald Toussaint did a great job of that. And then you’ve got a guy like Taylor Lewan, and confidence is not a thing that he lacks. They kind of took on his personality and fought.”
Jeremy, can you explain to the layman why you were so wide open today?
Gallon: “I can’t tell you. I guess they focused in on Funchess, and they forgot about me. I don’t know. Just playing the game just to win, like Devin said. To come back and to bounce back from a loss like last week.”
Were you surprised to be so wide open?
Gallon: “No. I was just playing football. If it came to me, it came to me. If it didn’t, it didn’t. I was just playing football.”
What makes Gallon so difficult to defend?
Gardner: “I mean, because he’s what, 5-8? 5- …”
Gallon whispers to Gardner.
Gardner: “... Because he’s only 5-9, I think they might underestimate him some, but he has the same skills as all the taller receivers. He can get the high balls. He’s really quick in and out of his cuts. He’s a terror for opposing defenses. He’s a good player.”
Devin, you set the single game record at Michigan for yardage. What went through your head hearing that for the first time?
Gardner: “I just wanted to win the game. It came down to a defensive stop and everything, so I just wanted to win the game. I didn’t know anything about the record until I was walking down the hall and [Dave Ablauf] told me that you guys might ask about it. I feel stupid that I don’t know about it, but it’s a dream. I just could never dreamed of playing a game like this, after having such a tough loss. It’s all about the offensive line. They gave me plenty of time to read defenses, and when I had an opportunity to make plays, that’s what I did.”
Jeremy, was anything going through your mind as you were setting the Big Ten record for receiving yards?
Gallon: “I really wasn’t focused on it. I was just playing the game. I just wanted to win for my team and for my seniors. We had a tough loss last weekend. Just to bounce back from that, I wasn’t really focused on any records or anything like that.”
When you look at the stat sheet and see 369 yards receiving next to your name, would you ever have believed you could put up those numbers in one game?
Gallon: “Uh, naw. To be honest with you, no. But it’s nice to know. That’s what we play for as receivers. That’s what you dream of. Just going out there and giving your all for your teammates and making the best of your ability. Taking advantage of every opportunity that’s coming your way. That’s what I did tonight.”
Devin, there were some times in the first half where it was a little shaky on some of those plays when you got flushed out of the pocket. You handled the pressure better in the second half. Can you talk about the change in your attitude or approach?
Gardner: “My whole attitude for the entire game didn’t change. I just do my job, go down and score, and protect the ball. In the first half, a couple times I got flushed out of the pocket, and they did a good job of chasing me down. In the second half, they weren’t so lucky.”
You mixed in more spread schemes today. How did that open up the run game?
Gardner: “I mean, it was great. It was great to see the offensive line get a lot of push and Fitz hitting the hole. I think he had 170 yards rushing. That’s really good for a running back. I’m really happy for him as well.”
Did it just feel like one of those games where you absolutely had to keep scoring?
Gardner: “Coach Hoke always reminds me that we need more. Coach Jackson came up to me and said it was like a basketball game you have to keep scoring. We had to trust in our defense, and if they didn’t get a stop, we would have to go score. That’s why this is the greatest team game. If we’re not playing well, they’ll pick us up. If they’re not playing so well, we get a chance to pick them up. At the end of the game, they got two interceptions when we screwed up the snap and to seal the game. They did their job and we did ours.”
On the last touchdown yous cored, it looked like you took a big sigh of relief. Was that what it was?
Gardner: “Uh, it kinda hurt. That was a pretty hard tackle. I was relieved that I didn’t, you know, die. I was just relieved to get out of there. The guy came in unblocked, which scared me, but I saw a lane and I took it. That’s what happened.”
On that specific play, what exactly happened?
Gardner: “I was going to get Jeremy Gallon another touchdown. We had a pretty good play call. I’m not going to tell you what the play was, but it was going to work. The offensive line turned the protection, but Fitz didn’t get a chance to hear them. They turned it late, and Fitz didn’t hear them, so that leaves the guy unblocked. They trust me because I can make plays. I just wanted to be careful and do what I could to make a play. I eluded them and got into the end zone.”