Gardner has played in seven games for 3-4 Michigan this season, throwing for 1,103 yards, six touchdowns and eight interceptions. Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova is the only other Big Ten quarterback to throw as many as eight picks in 2014.
"I've been called the N-word so many times this year," Gardner said. "One guy told me I was the N-word, and said I know N-words can't play quarterback. And I was like, are we not past this? Say what you want about my skill, but come on."
Gardner said he received hate emails and comments last season too, when the Wolverines went 7-6 with him as the starter, but this season has been just as bad, if not worse.
Michigan head coach Brady Hoke replaced Gardner with backup QB Shane Morris for the Wolverine's Sept. 27 game against Minnesota, but Morris sustained a "probable, mild concussion" in the game and has not played since. He has been declared healthy.
The Wolverines play No. 8 Michigan State (6-1) on the road on Saturday where Gardner will start.
- Molly Geary