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September 03, 2002 - Image 13

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-03

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cJ idlJn&l

SPORTS

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Tuesday
September 3, 2002

13A

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rain

ri ts

Questions
remain after
dramatic
'M'victory

DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily

The Michigan faithful looked on Saturday afternoon as kicker Philip Brabbs nailedthe gamewinner to give the Wolverines a 31-29 victory. Brabbs had missed two field goals earlier in the game.
Blue kicker Brabbs makes amends via last-second heroics

Saturday's Michigan vs. Washing-
ton game was one of the best
football games I have ever expe-
rienced. It ran the gamut of emotions
for every fan and every player on both
teams and ended
in away so
chaotic, it
seemed fitting.
Both teams at
times played well
enough to win
and poor enough
to lose. And as
uplifting as the
victory was forJEFF
the Wolverines, it
will only be as
big as they Ramble
make it. On
Last season, it
was the Huskies that were on the win-
ning end of a spectacular game and
brimming with confidence afterwards.
Nevertheless, Washington still had a
disappointing season after expecting to
compete for a BCS berth, ending up 8-4
with losses in the Holiday Bowl to
Texas and a blowout loss to eventual
national champion Miami (Fla.). I'm
not saying that Michigan will have the
same season, I'm just pointing out that
the college football season is long and
this past Saturday is just the beginning.
Michigan showed off its new offense
and John Navarre exuded a coolness
that he hasn't shown since early last sea-
son. He played well by spreading the
ball to several different receivers and
knowing when to get rid of it. Without
Marquise Walker, Navarre needed to
have confidence in his receiving corps
and they gave it to him.
Chris Perry stepped up and exceeded
his touchdown total from last season
with three against Washington. Braylon
Edwards and Tyrece Butler both proved
that they could be consistent threats in
the place of Walker.
Michigan played an extremely clean
game, penalty-wise, with no big penal-
ties and no infractions before the snap
- a very good sign for the first game.
But there were still many question
marks for the Wolverines.
Will they get consistency from the
kicking game? I'm sure I wasn't the
only person watching that was surprised
when the Wolverines lined up for a field
goal on the final play. As incredible and
as clutch as Phil Brabbs' final kick was
- it's one that he will be remembered
for even if he does nothing else in his
career - he was still just 1-for-3 on the
day for field goals and Michigan was 1-
for-4 overall. The Wolverines will need
a solid kicking game in order to win -
just ask Washington, which had miscues
all day on special teams and had an
extra point blocked by Shantee Orr.
Michigan's three missed field goals
should have been made, both misses by
Brabbs and the chip-shot by Troy
See PHILLIPS, Page 15A

By David Horn
Daily Sports Editor
"That's what I'm talking about Brabbs! That's
what I'm talking about!"
Michigan receiver Tyrece Butler's barks at the
end of Saturday's win at Michigan Stadium
were perhaps in reference to something the
Wolverines have gained a keen appreciation of
early in this 2002 campaign: Second chances.
Saturday's
rematch with Wash- 4, WASHINGTON 29
ington (0-1), in
which the Wolver- MICHIGAN 31
ines looked to
avenge last season's spectacular 23-18 loss in
Seattle, was the first of three opportunities the
team has to make up for the 2001 season's fail-
ures. One Wolverine in particular - kicker
Philip Brabbs - learned about second chances
(third and fourth chances, actually) when he
kicked the game-winning field goal with no
time remaining to give Michigan (1-0) a 31-29
win in its first game of the season.
Brabbs, a junior walk-on from Midland, had
already missed twice in the game, from dis-
tances of 36 and 42 yards. His friend and team-
mate, Troy Nienberg, had missed from 27 yards
away less than 90 seconds before in Nienberg's
own game-winning attempt. But after the Nien-
berg miss and subsequent Washington three-
and-out, the Wolverines were back in position to
win the game dramatically, trailing the Huskies
by one. Preceding Brabbs' heroics, Michigan

junior quarterback John Navarre completed a
fourth-down pass to sophomore Braylon
Edwards, who coughed up the ball while being
tackled. Edwards believed the pass to be incom-
plete, but Tyrece Butler heard no whistle, and
fell on top of the ball to give the Wolverines a
first down with 32 seconds left, and no time-
outs. But the fumble recovery was actually the
second fortunate turn for Michigan on that play
After a third down draw to running back Chris
Perry on third and two, Washington safety Greg
Carothers cramped up, causing an injury time-
out and an opportunity for Navarre and Co. to
regroup for that fourth down attempt. Between
the Carothers injury and the Butler recovery,
Michigan could sense that things were some-
how going to work out.
"The hustle that Tyrece Butler made won the
game for us," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said
matter-of-factly after the game.
After Butler's heroics and two incomplete
passes, Navarre threw a third - this one on
third and 10 from the Washington 42. But
before Carr had to give too much thought as to
whether he would take one last shot at the end-
zone from 42 yards out or ask one of his under-
achieving kickers to attempt what would be
nearly a 60 yard field goal, the referee penal-
ized Washington for having 12 men on the
field. That set up the Brabbs 44-yarder from the
left hash.
Brabbs received words of encouragement
from Carr and special teams coach Jim Boccher
(both of whom have faith in the claim that

It begins ...
For more coverage of the opening week-
end of the 2002 Michigan football cam-
paign, look inside .'.
Page 15: Phil Brabbs' roller-coaster
day culminated in a kick that will never be
forgotten.
Page 16: Michigan wasn't the
only team in action; check out extended
coverage of the weekend's best on the
national stage
Page 17: New offensive coordina-
tor Terry Malone unveiled his revamped
offense against the Huskies on Saturday
afternoon.
Brabbs could have knocked it in from 60, had
that been needed), but none from holder
Navarre (who claimed that he "looked in
Brabbs' eyes and saw he was ready") and
marched out on the field for his shot at redemp-
tion.
"It was all really just a blur," Brabbs said after
the kick. "I think I got tackled right away. There
were like 50 guys on top of me."
The field goal ended an intense day at Michi-
gan Stadium, which saw seven lead changes
and more than 800 yards of offense. Late-game
dramatics overshadowed an important day for a
See HUSKIES, Page 16A

DAVID KATZ/Daily
Michigan receiver Braylon Edwards made his first ever
collegiate touchdown catch (45 yards) in the second quarter.

Crompton, Chavez lead Blue over Cougars

By Matt Kramer
Daily Spors Writer
It may only be early September, but
don't tell that to the No. 18 Michigan
women's soccer team.
The Wolverines, displaying the type of
team chemistry that usually takes months
to forge, used a combination of physical
defense and a heads-up play to get past
Brigham Young, 2-1 yesterday at the
Michigan Soccer Field.
"This win was huge," Michigan coach
Debbie Rademacher said. "We are so com-
mitted right now to getting a good start,
and that is exactly what's going on."

on a goal by All-American Aleisha
Cramer-Rose, Michigan (2-0) fought
back four minutes into the second half,
when junior Stephanie Chavez knocked
in a header off a Carly Williamson free
kick to knot the score.
With the score still tied in the middle of
the second half, a smart play by senior for-
ward Abby Crumpton made the difference
for Michigan.
Going after a long ball down the right
side of the field 10 yards outside of the
box, Brigham Young goaltender Amanda
Gott couldn't keep the ball inbounds as she
tried to clear it out of the Cougar's zone.
As Gott tried to race back to her goal,

wouldn't relinquish.
"I'm just glad I was able to put it in,"
Crumpton said of her third goal this season.
"It was a real smart play because the team
was able to capitalize on the throw-in."
Crumpton almost added a second goal
on the day, but her shot with six minutes
left in the game hit the post and was
cleared by a Brigham Young defender.
To many of the Wolverines, the victory
over Brigham Young was a major step for
the team so early in the season.
"I'm so excited about this win," defender
Andre Kayal said. "When you know you
can beat a team like this, that is a big boost
of confidence. The last few years we

the team's oyerall effort.
"We have had some really strong sec-
ond-half efforts this year and that is
encouraging," said Rademacher. "I thought
last week against Florida we came out
stronger in the second half and that was the
same today. We let up a bad goal early on
but we got it back."
The Wolverines will look to carry over
their enthusiasm next week as they take on
Western Michigan on Friday and Eastern
Michigan on Sunday. Both games are at the
Michigan Soccer Field.
"We know Western Michigan has a lot of
speed and we know that Eastern is a very
physical team," Rademacher said.

i r t. i., t .:

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