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January 07, 2002 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-01-07

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4B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - January 7, 2002

TENNESSEE 45

MICHIGAN 17

n n c _A _ -.A

GAME STATISTICS

Team Stats
First Downs
Rushes/Yards
Passing Yards
Offensive Plays
Total Offense
Return Yards
Comp/Att/Int
Punts/Avg
Fumbles/Lost
Penalties/Yards
Time of Poss

MICH
20
31-103
240
70
343
139
21-39-1
7-39.6
4-2
6-42
25:47

TENN
22
37-97
406
72
503
121
27-35-0
5-31.8
3-1
3-32
34:13

Backup tight end runs over Wolverines' secondary.

By Arun Gopal
Daily Sports Editor

M I C H I G A N

PASSING
Player
Navarre
Totals
RUSHING
Player
Askew
Perry
Bell
Navarre
Totals
RECEIVING
Player
Walker
Joppru
Seymour
Bell
Askew
Perry
Butler
Totals

C-A
21-39
21-39

Yds TD
240 2
240 2'

Att
9
17
4
31
No.
5
5
4
2
2
2
21

Yds
71
39
11
-18
103
Yds
100
45
35
29
23
3
5
240
No.
7
7

Avg
7.9
2.3
11.0
-4.5
3.3
Avg
20.0
9.0
8.8
14.5
11.5
1.5
5.0
1 1.4
Yds
277
277

Lg
25
12
11
0
25
Lg
35
19
10
24
14
3
5
35

Int
TD
TO
0
'O
O
TD
0
TO
0
0
0
0
0
2

ORLANDO, Fla. - In the weeks leading up
to the Florida Citrus Bowl, Michigan defen-
sive coordinator Jim Herrmann undoubtedly
spent countless hours trying to figure-out how
to slow down Tennessee's explosive offense.
'Paced by quarterback Casey Clausen, tail-
back Travis Stephens and wideouts Donte
Stallworth and Kelley Washington, the Volun-
teers' offense has enough skill players to
torch any defense. But, during Tennessee's
45-17 thrashing of the Wolverines on New
Year's Day, one of the Volunteers' biggest
stars at the end of the day was a virtual
unknown when the game started.
As the Wolverines tried - and failed - to
contain Tennessee's stars, reserve tight end
Jason Witten stole the show. The sophomore
caught five passes for a game-high 125 yards
and, more importantly, broke Michigan's back
in the third quarter.
Michigan trailed 24-10 at the time, but
appeared to finally have some momentum.
Witten quickly took care of that when he
caught a short pass over the middle and pro-
ceeded to outrun Michigan's secondary. The
64-yard touchdown electrified Tennessee's
fans and put the final nail in Michigan's cof-
fin.
"It was a great pass by Casey, and we
knew that was open over the middle after a
couple deep balls to Donte and Kelley," Wit-
ten said. "But, I tell you, I got a couple good

blocks. I was getting a little tired down there
at the end, but I just knew that I wasn't going
to be denied and I was able to get in the end
zone."
In the Volunteers' 34-32 win at Florida on
Dec. 1, Stephens tore apart the Gators'
defense, rushing for 226 yards. With that in
mind, the Wolverines came out against Ten-
nessee with a clear intent to stop the run, and
they succeeded - Stephens was held to just
38 yards.s
But, all that emphasis on the run game
allowed Clausen to destroy the Wolverines
through the air. He passed for 393 yards and
three touchdowns and repeatedly found Wit-
ten wide-open underneath, which allowed the
Volunteers to turn eight-yard passes into 20-
yard gains.
"Witten's breakout game was the Alabama
game, and ever since that game, he's just
come out and gotten better every single day,"
Clausen said. "The last few weeks, teams did
a lot of bracketing, a lot of zone on the out-
side with Donte and Kelley, and any time we
got Jason matched up with linebackers -
whether it's man-to-man or zone - the mid-
dle of the field is his. He's done a real good
job of just making plays and getting open."
Considering how large a role the tight ends
play in the Wolverines' offense, the impact
that Witten had in Tennessee's offensive
onslaught was not lost on Michigan coach
Lloyd Carr. Following the game, Carr spoke
highly of Tennessee's surprise star.
"Witten is a guy who gives you the kind of

PUNTING
Player
Epstein
Totals
KICKOFF RETURNS
Player No.
Howard 8
Total 8
PUNT RETURNS
Player No.
curry 3
Totals 3

Avg Lg
39.6 50
39.6 50

Yds Avg Lg
125 15.6 24
125 15.6 24

TD
TO
TD
TO
0
0

BRENDANO'UONNELL/Daily
Jason Witten had five catches for 125 yards and a touchdown, repeatedly running over would-be tacklers.

A

DEFENSE
Player
Foote
Hobson
June
Drake
Brackins, E.
Jackson
Stevens
Diggs
Combs
Bowman
LeSueur
Manning
Heuer
Kaufman
Rumishek
Bell
Lazarus
Howard
Epstein
Epstein
Williams
Dudley
Brackins, P.
Orr

Yds
14
14
Solo
5
5
6
6
4
5
5
4
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
Yds
0
0
0

Avg Lg
4.6 8
4.6 8

ability with the tight end, the speed to get
down the middle," Carr said. "The big plays

destroy the morale of your defense, and that's
what Tennessee did to us."

Asst
4
3
0
0
2
O
0
1
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
0
1

Tot
9
8
6
6
6
5
5
5
2
2
2
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
TDO
0
0
0

Vols expose 'M' defense;
Askew and Orr benched

PASS DEFENSE
Player
Foote
Orr
Totals

Int
0
0
0

Lng Brk-up
0 2
0 1
0 3

T E N N E S S E E

PASSING
Player
Clausen
Washington
Totals
RUSHING
Player
Stallworth
Stephens
Scott
Fleming
Davis
Bartholomew
Tinsley
Houston
Clausen
Totals
RECEIVING
Player
Stallworth
Witten
Washington
Graham
Brown
Parker
Stephens
Finlayson
Totals

C-A
26-34
1-1
27-35

Att
2
16
1
2
3
2
9
37
No.
8
6
6
2
2
1
1
1
27

Yds
44
38
21
5
4
-1
-1
-14
124
Yds
119
125
70
28
5
22
19
18
408
No.
5
5

Yds
393
13
406
Avg
22.0
2.4
'21.0
2.5
1.3
1.0
-1.0
-.5
-1.6
2.6
Avg
14.9
20.8
11.7
14.0
2.5
22.0
19.0
18.0
15.0

TD
3
0
3
Lg
42
6
21
5
2
-1
1
5
42
Lg
32
64
37
22
5
22
19
18
64

By Raphael Goodstein
YDaily Sports Editor
i..ORLANDO, Fla. - The 2001 Michigan foot-
ball team (6-2 Big Ten, 8-4 overall) was built
a ° around its defense. When
the defense struggled, the FOOTBALL
team struggled.
So when the defense otebook
. K played its worst game of the
season, it came as little surprise that No. 20
Michigan was overpowered by No. 4 Tennessee.
f~, Tennessee quarterback Casey Clausen was 26-
for-34 and threw for 393 yards and led the Vol-
unteers to 45 points. Michigan State, Ohio State
/ . and Iowa tied for the next highest total on the
Wolverines' defense with 26 points. The Spar-
tans and Buckeyes beat Michigan and against
Iowa, the Wolverines needed a late-game rally to
win.
"The thing that surprises me the most looking
at that game is defensively I felt we would do a
.4 much better job containing the Tennessee
offense," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said. "We
just gave up too many big plays.
"We gave up too many big plays and every
time you give up big plays, you're going to give
up a lot of points. We had 10 points on the board
and I thought in the second half we would have a
chance to get back into the game. We couldn't
do that, basically because Tennessee is too good
for us."
Said defensive tackle Dan Rumishek: "They
were the better team today, and we just couldn't
stop them. They were just hitting on, all eight
cylinders today, and when we did get pressure on
them, they'd just seem to find the open man and
make some great catches."
DAVID KATZ/Daily LATE START: Carr benched junior running back
Though he was benched for showing up "10 or 15" minutes late for practice, running back B.J. Askew B.J. Askew and sophomore defensive end
was Michigan's MVP. The junior finished with 71 yards and a touchdown. Shantee Orr for the start of the game because
Vols end Blue's four-bowl win streak

they missed the, team bus to practice for a pre-
Christmas workout. Askew said the two didn't
receive their wake-up call and were "10 or 15
minutes" late for practice.
Carr responded by making a statement to the
rest of the team that such a lax approach to prac-
tice and details will not be tolerated. "Coach
threw us out of practice for three days," Askew
said. "That was our punishment ... I didn't agree
with it at all. A lot of guys didn't agree with it."
LITTLE TEN: The Big Ten received criticism all
year for its lack of national title contenders. In
defending the conference, coaches claimed parity
created a lack of contenders.
The Big Ten was 2-4 this bowl season, and
looked especially bad in Michigan's loss and Big
Ten champion Illinois' 13-point loss to SEC
champion Louisiana State.
Iowa and Michigan State recorded the Big
Ten's only two wins in the Alamo Bowl and Sili-
con Valley Classic, respectively. The conference
finished worse in the bowl season than any other
major conference.
The SEC recorded the most wins of any con-
ference with five, and the ACC posted the best
record of any major conference, going 4-2.
SOMETHIN' TO HIDE?: When Michigan didn't
win the national title in 1997's final coaches'
poll, it was rumored to be as a result of Phil Ful-
mer voting Michigan No. 4. Fulmer campaigned
all year for his quarterback Peyton Manning to
win the Heisman trophy. Manning ultimately fin-
ished second to Michigan's Charles Woodson.
After the Citrus Bowl, Fulmer was asked who
he voted No. 2 in this year's poll before the Rose
Bowl. There was controversy over who should
play in the game: Oregon, Nebraska or Colorado.
A flustered Fulmer was confused by the ques-
tion, originally thinking the question was in ref-
erence to his '97 vote, before he finally said:
"Aww hell, I don't have to tell you that."

0l

PUNTING
Player
Colquitt
Totals
KICKOFF RETURNS
Player No.
Scott 3
Totals 2
PUNT RETURNS
Player No.
Stallworth 3
Parker 1
Totals 4
DEFENSE
Player
Lott
Whiteside
Henderson
Battle
Campbell
Stevenson
Golden
Jones
Burnett
Baker
Gaines
Haynesworth
Marsh
Fitzgerald
Scott
Jackson
Hand
Greer
Moore
Tinsley
James
Moore
Overstreat
Davis
Ritzman

Yds Avg Lg
159 31.8 49
159 31.8 49

Yds Avg Lg
67 22.3 34
34 17.0 17

TD
0
TO
TD
0
0
0

Yds
27
9
36
Solo
6
5
4
4
3
2
3
3
3
3
3
2
2
2
2
1
1
1
1
0
0
O
0
0
Yds
18
0
O
O
1s

Avg
9.0
9.0
9.0

Lg
16
9
16

Asst
0
2
0
2
0
0
0
0
0
1
0
0
0
1
0
0

Tot
6
6
6
4
4
4
3
3
3
3
3
3
2
2
2
2
2
2
1
1

VOLUNTEERS
Continued from Page 1B
into halftime down just 24-10 after Ten-
nessee jumped to a 17-0 lead.
On one play, Michigan even fumbled
twice, as quarterback John Navarre was
hit and dropped the ball. Tailback B.J.
Askew picked it up and ran 10 yards
before dropping it himself, giving Ten-
nessee the ball. All-America defensive
tackle John Henderson forced the first
drop and recovered Askew's fumble.
Up 3-0 at the time, the Volunteers
scored a quick touchdown on a 3-yard
pass by Clausen to Kelley Washington.
Meanwhile, Michigan started out
conservatively, attempting to run up the
middle right at Henderson. Chris Perry,
starting in place of Askew - who had
been late for practice earlier in the week
- was stuffed by Henderson three
times before the Wolverines had gained
two total yards.

"We tried to establish the run at the
beginning," said senior wide receiver
Marquise Walker. "Eventually we had
to come out passing and I think it was a
little bit too late for that."
Walker's athleticism almost gave
Michigan a giant momentum swing
near the start of the second half. On the
Wolverines' second drive, with the Vol-
unteers up 31-10, Navarre fired the ball
down the field to Walker, who jumped
back and, nearly horizontally, made the
one-handed catch but fell out of
bounds. The catch, despite being
incomplete, evoked memories of Walk-
er's grab in the endzone at Iowa on Oct.
27. What made it more impressive,
though was how long the pass was and
the fact that he was being closely
guarded.
While one catch probably could not
have gotten Michigan back into the
game, the Wolverines were desperate
for a big play, and that could have been

it.
"We weren't playing horrible on
offense," said Navarre, who complet-
ed 21 passes for 240 yards and two
touchdowns, along with one intercep-
tion. "We were moving the ball and
we put together some long drives. It
was just a matter of cracking it, and
that's where it didn't work out."
On the flipside, Tennessee relied on the
big play often to put the game out of
reach. Besides for Witten's touchdown
catch, the Volunteers had wide receiver
Kelley Washington complete a pass and
got a 42-yard run from receiver Donte
Stallworth on an end-around play on
third-and-long.
"We just ran into a better team
today," said Michigan linebacker Larry
Foote. "On film they didn't look that
good, but they showed us something
today. They just made the big plays."
The loss was Michigan's worst ever
in a bowl game.

BRENDAN 0' UUNNELL/Uaily
The Tennessee defense repeatedly got to Michigan quarterback John Navarre,
forcing him into two costly turnovers.

PASS DEFENSE
Player
Greer
Baker
Lott
Jones
Gaines
Totals

Int
0
O
O
O
0
1

Lg
18
'0
0
0
0
18

Brk-up
2
2
1
S1
1

TD
O
0
O
0
0
0

Big Ten exposed by SEC's athieticism

PLAYER OF THE GAME:

PHILLIPS
Continued from Page 1B
the SEC from the Big Ten. The Wolverines
looked as though they were running in
sand and the Volunteers' receivers flew by
them.

fast as Louisiana State before the Sugar
Bowl and paid for it. Illinois fell behind
34-7 before finishing with a bit more
respectable 47-34 loss.
Like Michigan, the Illini could not stop
the passing game and allowed Tigers'
quarterback Rohan Davey to pass for a

wasn't as great. In addition, northern
teams and specifically the Big Ten could
keep teams on their heels with a power
running game. Against Tennessee, Michi-
gan's young offensive line was no match
for the Volunteers' front four.
Next season, with the addition of the

I <s -_.;

A

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