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September 03, 2002 - Image 15

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The Michigan Daily, 2002-09-03

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The Michigan Daily - SportsTuesday - September 3, 2002 - 15A

STEVE

MICHIGAN 31

WASHINGTON 29

JACKSON

Brabbs' kick sends
him to mountaintop

Athletic stupidity was at
its best over the summer

By J. Brady McCollough
Daily Sports Writer

This summer has featured more
than its fair share of sports sto-
ries that made me say: "That's
the most insanely stupid thing that I
have ever read."
It all started in May, when Aus-
tralian-rules football player Peter Fin-
landia decided to bite another player
in the most private of regions during
a game.
The unfortunate recipient of this
"foul" needed a tetanus shot, which
I'm sure was equally pleasant.
The league gave Finlandia a short
suspension, but I'm happy to report
that the Sydney
Swans are no Najeh Daven
longer paying him up and prove
for his services. American ath
Still, I will never the best of th
look at an Aus-
tralian athfete the finding creat
same way again. get arrested.
Just about the
time I stopped telling everyone I
knew about that story, along came
game four of the NBA Western Con-
ference Finals.
Some of you may remember that
Los Angeles Lakers forward Robert
Horry hit a three-pointer at the buzzer
to even the series with the Sacramento
Kings at two games apiece that night.
However, most of you did not hear
about the "technical difficulties" that
some fans experienced.
Some village idiot at the ATV-ASN
television station in Canada acciden-
tally flipped the wrong switch, turn-
ing playoff basketball into adult
entertainment.
Now I'm sure that working at a tel-
evision network in the "Land of the
Big Empty Cold" could get boring,
but I think that somewhere in his
contract is a clause preventing him
from watching pornography at work,
much less directing it free of charge
into the homes of unsuspecting bas-
ketball fans.
ATV-ASN got more than a few
complaints, and sure enough, the
technician that was responsible was
swiftly fired.
Those two idiots may have sur-
prised and alarmed sports fans thou-
sands of miles away, but their
stupidity only cost them their jobs.
Enter the crazy soccer fans.
The World Cup found its way to
Japan and Korea this summer, and
where big soccer games are played,
brainless soccer fans will follow.
One fan shot and killed his wife for
changing the channel away from the
World Cup game.
I'm very protective of my remote
control, but I wouldn't resort to vio-
lence even if I were forced to watch

an entire game between the Tigers
and Devil Rays.
Another soccer fan, whose name
was not released, reportedly covered
his body with paint thinner and set
himself ablaze.
This, apparently, was all part of his
plan to become a spirit and help the
Korean team to a victory in World
Cup play. Check out his suicide note.
"The sweat and tears of Coach Gus
Hiddink and his players were the
biggest birthday present ever given to
me. But now we have to overcome
South American and European team,
and I am driven to
irt stood take this road by
why impetuosity. I will
tes are become the 12th soc-
cer player by becom-
best at ing a spirit and will
Ways to run for the victory of
the Korean team.
Fighting Korea!"

npo
,d
;le
he
Ive

Michigan offensive tackle Courtney
Morgan couldn't even bear to watch
kicker Philip Brabbs line up for the
biggest kick of his life - and every-
body else's.
"Nothing against Brabbs, but I just
didn't want to watch it," Morgan said.
Safety Charles Drake put his hopes
in divine intervention.
"I was just praying," Drake said. "I
was trying to talk to him subliminally.
Like, 'Hey Phil, get it through there.'
But Cato June was the one who really
told me (he made it)."
Quarterback John Navarre, who
needed a victory celebration more
than anybody after last season's fin-
ish, thought the game had shaped up
to be one more tragic Michigan col-
lapse after Troy Nienberg's miss from
27 yards with 1:30 left in regulation.
"We missed the field goal, and you
think, 'Here we go again,' " Navarre
said.
This was the weight on Brabbs'
foot when he lined up for a 44-yard
field goal that would either affirm or
retract the statement made in front of
a national audience that his team had
recovered from last season's 8-4
record. His teammates were practical-
ly drawing straws to decide which had
to watch his third field goal attempt
of the day.
But the walk-on, who missed his
first two collegiate attempts in the
first half, one from 36 yards and the

other from 42, sent the Big House
into pandemonium with what he feels
was a little help from fate.
"I feel like God had a script written
out, and He was there all the way,"
said Brabbs, whose first career field
goal provided 31-29 revenge for
Michigan's loss to Washington last
season. "I kind of forgot about (the
misses) and felt there was a script to
all of it."
He has a good point. Miracles hap-
pened to set up his game-winning
boot, and they happened in bundles
for a minute and 25 seconds.
The supposedly accurate Nienberg
missed a chip-shot field goal. A
risky play call from Washington
coach Rick Neuheisel to pass the ball
backfired as quarterback Cody Pick-
ett was sacked by Dan Rumishek,
costing the Huskies the chance for a
first down. On fourth and two,
Michigan receiver Tyrece Butler
recovered a careless fumble by fel-
low wideout Braylon Edwards for a
first down. And in a mind-boggling
mistake, Washington was hit with a
15-yard penalty after a timeout for
too many men on the field, setting up
the kick that finally made the Big
House rock.
"Before the season, I was thinking
that I wanted to kick a game-winner
against Notre Dame like Remy
Hamilton (in 1994)," said Brabbs,
whose longest field goal is still a 47-
yarder during his junior year of high
school.
Said Michigan coach Lloyd Carr:

Korea won its game just hours after
the fire started. But our famously
crazy fan failed in his mission to
become a spirit. Instead, he lives to
tell the tale as a human barbeque.
I expected some hooliganism, but
committing murder and attempting
suicide in the name of sport was
above and beyond the call of duty for
these soccer fans. Their idiocy
appeared to be without match.
But after hearing of all these
insanely stupid acts by foreigners,
Green Bay Packer Najeh Davenport
stood up and proved why American
athletes are the best of the best at
finding creative ways to get arrested.
Davenport, who had just helped the
Miami football team to a national title
in January, got booked for "a misde-
meanor count of criminal mischief."
That charge makes it sound like he
found an inappropriate use for spray
paint, soap or eggs, but Davenport has
redefined the term.
The 6-foot-2, 248-pound fullback,
who may or may not have been on
mind-altering substances at the time,
allegedly broke into a dorm room and
took a dump in a girl's closet.
He did not know the girl, and no
one has offered a good excuse for
why this outrageous random act of
nature may have occurred.
Davenport is pleading not guilty.
But even if he escapes this legal chal-
lenge, he still wins my award for
"most insanely stupid thing that I
have ever read."
This one will be tough to top.
Steve Jackson's column will appear on
Mondays. He can be reached at
sijackso@umich.edu.

"It was one of the greatest clutch
kicks I've ever seen. He did something
today that will never be forgotten."
Was there any doubt that Brabbs
would be the man to kick the field
goal after both kickers had blown
their earlier chances?
"At that point, with the distance
and where it was, and Phil having the
leg that he does have, there was no
doubt he would be the guy to kick it
(over Nienberg)," special teams coach
Jim Boccher said. "Why he missed
the other ones we have to look on
film."
Boccher paused.
"That was a mountaintop experi-
ence."
But it was an experience that didn't
come without some lessons. Brabbs
felt the emotional extremes of a place

DAVID KATZ/Daily
Michigan kicker Philip Brabbs may never have another day like this. The walk-on
was swamped by media after his 44yard game-winning field goal as time expired.

kicker in just his first game - from
the goat to the prince in a matter of
hours.
"I guess he had to go all the way to
the bottom to make it to the top," said
Brabbs' father, Gregg, beaming with
pride while waiting for his son out-
side the Michigan lockerroom.
The journey to the top began when
former kicker Hayden Epstein graduat-
ed last spring. Carr said that there was
not a day this summer when he was in
his office that Brabbs wasn't on the
practice field kicking field goals.
"Dreams do come true," Carr said.
Boccher said that the main thing he
hopes Brabbs learned Saturday was to
trust his ability. But Brabbs will take
a simpler approach from now on.
"I've learned the less, thought for a
kicker, the better," Brabbs said.

1.

Pass defense must improve for Blue to win Big Ten

PHILLIPS
Continued from Page 13A
Nienberg. Saturday's game won't be the
only game that will be close this season.
The Wolverines still had trouble
holding on to the ball in their own zone.
It was a problem that plagued the team
at the end of last season, and it still
appears to be a problem. Two times
Michigan lost the ball to give Washing-
ton great field position (one Perry fum-
ble and one Navarre interception). The
turnover problem killed Michigan last
season and will need to be fixed in
order to compete for the Big Ten title.
Most importantly, where was the
vaunted Michigan defense? It shut
down the Huskies' running attack
(minus one long Rich Alexis run, which
accounted for the deceiving 98 rushing
yards), making Washington one-dimen-
sional, an oft-cited goal of the Wolver-
ines' defense. But that one dimension
proved very effective by racking up
more than 300 yards in the air - all
this with Marlin Jackson limiting one of
the game's best receivers in Reggie
Williams to just 45 yards and no touch-

downs. Williams' 20-yard reception
came while Jackson was not in the
game. The Wolverines' secondary made
a star of Charles Frederick, who up to
this point had been an erratic, though
talented, player at best. Washington
tight end Kevin Ware had four catches
and a touchdown.
Washington quarterback Cody Pick-
ett was unfazed by what was supposed
to be a potent pass rush. The Wolver-
ines' line of all returning starters sacked
Pickett just twice, both by Dan
Rumishek, while being held in check by
the Huskies' offense.
Yesterday, the Wolverines pointed to
the three-step drop passing utilized by
Washington as the reason for the suc-
cess of the Huskies' passing game.
Michigan got pressure on Pickett, but
he just release too quickly. Carr noted
the Wolverines knocked down Pickett
eight times as evidence of the pressure.
The Huskies have a very strong trio of
receivers with Williams, Frederick and
Paul Arnold each capable of a big play.
But Pickett and company still exposed
the Michigan pass defense as being sus-
ceptible to this kind of an attack. There

are several talented passing teams on the
Wolverines' schedule this year, including
playing against Purdue and Illinois away
and Michigan State at home. Wisconsin
may also give the Wolverines trouble
with the expected return of superstar
wideout Lee Evans by Nov. 16.
The moral of the story is that this
game was amazing and has the potential

to be very inspiring. But Washington is
not the best team Michigan will face this
season and to earn its first Rose Bowl
berth in five years, it needs find an
acceptable solution in several key areas.
JeffPhillips can be reached at
jpphilli@umich.edu.

Sheri L. Szuch, PhD
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
- Eating Disorders
*Depression
-RelationshipIssues
*Grief & Loss
Individual " Group - Family Therapy
Eating Issues Groups Starting Mid Sept.
Phone 734-741-8584
425 E. Washington - Suite 101 F Ann Arbor Michig an- 48104
Office: 1/2 block from campus; client parking available

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
36/150
268
75
418
50
22/39/1
5/45.0
4/1
3/17
26:14

UW
18
34/81
318
79
399
66
28/45/1
,6/37.3
2/1
5/40
33:46

WASHINGTON

PUNT RETURNS
Player No.
Frederick 3
Totals 3

M I C H I G A N

PASSING
Player
Pickett
Totals
RUSHING
Player
Alexis
Tuiasosopo
Pickett
Totals
RECEIVING
Player
Williams
Frederick
Ware
Jackson
Reddick
Hooks
Arnold
Alexis
Tuiasosopo
Totals

C-A
28-45
28-45

PASSING
Player
Navarre
Team
Totals
RUSHING
Player
Perry
Askew
Bellamy
Navarre
Totals
RECEIVING
Player
Askew
Butler
Edwards
Bellamy
Bell
Joppru
Totals

C-A
22-38
O-1
22/39

ti

Att
23
7
1
5
36
No.
7
6
5
2
1
1
18

Yds TD
318 2
318 2

PUNTING
PlayerI
Finley
Totals
KICKOFF RETURNS
Playgr No.
LeSueur 2
Totals 2
PUNT RETURNS
Player No.
Curry, J. 1
Totals 1
DEFENSE
Player
Hobson
Curry, M.
June
Curry, J.
Jackson
Drake
Diggs
Combs
Reid

Yds
120
31
11
-12
150
Yds
50
85
80
14
28
11
263
No.
5
5
Yds
36
36
Yds
14
14
Solo
7
5
4
4
3
3
3
2
3

Yds
268
0
268
Avg
5.2
4.4
11.0
-2.4
4.2
Avg
7.1
14.2
16.0
7.0
28.0
11.0
14.6
Yds
225
225

TD
1
0
1
Lg
57
13
11
2
57
Lg
30
22
45
12
28
11
53

Int
1
0
1
TD
3
0
0
0
3
TD
0
O
1
0
O
0
2

Att
28
1
5
34
No.
6
5
4
3
3
2
2
2
1
28

Yds
98
2
-19
81
Yds
72
88
38
36
17
30
16
12
9
318
No.
6
6
Yds
50
50

Avg
3.5
2.0
-3.8
2.4
Avg
12.0
17.6
9.5
12
5.7
15.0
8.0
6.0
9.0
11.4
Yds
224
224

Lg
59
2
2
59
Lg
20
51
25
19
12
17
11
8
9
51

Int
1
1
TD
2
O
O
2
TD
TO
0
1
1
O
O
O
O
O
O
2

DEFENSE
Player
Cooper
Carothers
Benjamin
Mahdavi
Massey
Ellis
Johnson, D.
Galloway
Williams
Miller
Hopoi
Johnson, T.
Alailefaleula
Stevens
Alexander
Jackson
Arnold
Krambrink
Coffin
Lobendahn

Yds
16
16
Solo
10
4-
6
3
4
2
2
2
2
1
1
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
Yds
0
0
0
0

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

Tot
10.5
5.5
6.0
4.5
4
2.5
2.5
2.5
2.5
2
2
2
1.5
1
1
1
1
1
0.5
0.5

Avg Lg TD
5.3 10 0
5.3 10 0

PUNTING
PlayerP
McLaughlin
Totals
KICKOFF RETURNS
Player No.
Frederick 3
Total 3

Avg Lg
37.3 56
37.3 56

PASS DEFENSE
Player
Mahdavi
Ellis
Miller
Totals

Avg Lg
16.7 30
16.7 30

TD
0
0

Int
0
1
1

Lng
O
0
O
0

Brk-up
1
1
1
3

TD
0
0
O
0

--,-I

I

Avg Lg
45.0 49
45.0 49

Avg Lg
18.0 21
18.0 21
Avg Lg
14.0 14
14.0 14
Asst
2
1
2
1
2
2
2
3
1

TD
0
O
TD
TO
O
Tot
9
5.5
5
4.5
4
4
4
3.5
3.5

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