4B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - October 21, 2002
MICHIGAN 23, PURDUE 21
Time of Poss
Boilers' QBs in
state of dis array
M I C H I G A N
Curry, J. 1
By Jeff Phillips and
J. Brady McCollough
Daily Sports Writers
WEST LAFAYETTE - After three
years of consistent play by one quarter-
back in Drew Brees, Purdue finds itself
in the midst of a controversy at the posi-
tion for the second consecutive season.
Former Boilermakers' standout Brees
started his final three seasons, setting
school records in FOOTBALL
that span. But Notebook
coach Joe Tiller has _______
yet to get the same
play out of his quarterbacks the past two
In 2001, Brandon Hance began as the
starter, but he was replaced by then-
freshman Kyle Orton by the end of the
season. The battle ended poorly with
Hance deciding to transfer to Southern
Cal. at the end of the year.
Now Orton appears to be the one get-
ting swept away as freshman Brandon
Kirsch got his first start against Michi-
gan on Saturday.
Tiller pointed to Kirsch's play in his
appearances as a backup, providing a
spark off the bench, as to why he got the
starting nod. Tiller had previously told
Kirsch and Orton that the decision
would be made on play during practice.
Orton, who Tiller said was the better
practice player, said the decision caught
"I won't say it shocked me that he
went with Brandon, but it kind of
surprised me because we were told it
was going to be based on practice,"
But Tiller was not as pleased with
Kirsch's play in the starting role.
"He responded, quite frankly, as most
young people do," Tiller said. "They're
always better when they're relaxed and
come off the bench."
Kirsch moved the ball against Michi-
gan, but mostly by choosing to run
rather than hitting his receivers. He led
the Boilermakers with 81 yards rushing
and a touchdown on 15 carries.
In Tiller's offense, results are better
with a pass-first, run-second mindset.
"His first few series, he pulled the
ball down way too much and ran way
too much," Tiller said. "If he'd had a lit-
tle patience, crossing routes were com-
Kirsch kept the Boilermakers close,
but Tiller opted to go with Orton - the
better passer of the two - in the fourth
"We felt like we had to throw the ball
and Brandon had missed enough checks
and enough open receivers that we just
thought, 'Hey, we'll give Kyle a try,"'
But Orton did not have the same suc-
cess that Kirsch had by going three-and-
out in his first series and ending the
drive with an interception in his last two
possessions. Kirsch then came back into
the game to lead the Boilermakers to
CHEAP SHOT: Michigan safety Julius
Curry can thank Purdue wide receiver
Yds Avg Lg
216 43.2 52
33 33.0 33
249 41.5 52
Avg Lg TD
4.0 4 0
4.0 4 0
Avg Lg TDO
2 2 O
2 2 0
Purdue quarterback Brandon Kirsch eludes a Charles Drake blitz and scrambles for one of his many first downs on the ground.
Taylor Stubblefield for the pain in his
The injury occurred "away from the
ball, and he came and chopped me late,"
said Curry, who was sidelined on
crutches for the second half. "It's cool.
It's part of the game.
"I was more shocked than anything. I
don't know how bad it is, I just have to
see the doctors when I get back."
Curry's absence gave junior Jon
Continued from Page 1B
"Big House" will be more silent than
But play selection isn't the only
thing keeping this offense from play-
ing to its full potential. The stupid mis-
takes that creep up are keeping the
Wolverines' attack grounded. At Notre
Dame, it was drops and fumbles that
cost the offense valuable time of pos-
session and in the end, the game.
Against Utah, Malone's crew could-
n't convert on third down, and mental
mistakes, such as Perry's goalline fum-
ble and countless penalties, kept the
Utes in the game and almost proved to
be fatal blows.
This past week, the Michigan offen-
sive line's lack of push on three key
short-yardage situations was the halt-
ing factor. There is no excuse for not
converting on 3rd-and-one and then
4th-and-one. Michigan coach Lloyd
Shaw, who previously hasn't been able
to crack the lineup, a chance to get some
legitimate game action. Carr was
impressed with Shaw, which bodes well
for the Michigan defense, as Curry indi-
cated that it could be a while before he
MORE INJURIES: While Shantee Orr
returned to action this week, recording a
sack in the fourth quarter, defensive
tackle Norman Heuer sat out for the
Carr knows it. Malone knows it. The
Michigan "big uglies" know it.
And what makes it so frustrating
to watch Michigan's bumbling, plod-
ding offense for 75 percent of this.
season is that masterful, unstoppable
25 percent. Take the Utah game.
Michigan's one touchdown drive
consisted of passes of 44 and 12
yards to Braylon Edwards. Three
plays, 55 yards - easy.
This is a unit that is capable of per-
fect execution, believe it or not. How
about that reverse that was three weeks
in the making? Every part of that play
worked as it was planned, as blocks
from receiver Ron Bellamy and
Navarre down field were the key to
Calvin Bell's 34-yard touchdown run
that sealed the game for Michigan.
Of course, the Illinois game -
which featured an offensive perform-
ance unequalled in the past two sea-
sons - has to be mentioned. Maybe it
can never be duplicated. I think it can.
third straight game. Carr said last week
that Heuer was "close" to returning, but
obviously, not close enough.
The Wolverines also lost their redshirt
freshman offensive line duo, Adam Ste-
navich and Matt Lentz, for the game
against Purdue. Lentz hurt his ankle, but
Carr would not disclose where Stenavich
was hurt. Courtney Morgan started for
Stenavich at left tackle, and Dave
Petruziello got the start at left guard.
Malone's offense ran as smoothly as a
Ford assembly line, as each receiver
was fed in plenty and Perry punished
the Illinois defenders for four quarters.
This can happen again, and
frankly, a performance near its level
of perfection will be necessary to
beat Iowa this coming Saturday. The
14th-ranked Hawkeyes are playing
like the eighth-ranked team in the
country - the eighth-ranked
Wolverines like the 14th.
Malone has the tools to put a lot
of points on the Michigan Stadium
scoreboard. He just needs to loosen
up that maize-and-blue tie, wipe the
sweat off his brow and let his ath-
letes make the plays that they are
fully capable of making.
The Big Ten championship depends
.J Brady McCollough can be reached at
P u r d u e
Fullback BJ. Askew was versatile, catching three balls for 73 yards. But both he and
running back Chris Perry struggled in short-yardage situations and third and fourth down.
Yds Avg Lg
270 38.6 56
270 38.6 56
Continued from Page 11B
Michigan also suffered from similar
problems as it could not convert on
two 4th-and-1 runs deep in Purdue ter-
ritory. In the third quarter, fullback B.J.
Askew was stuffed by the Boilermak-
ers' Landon Johnson and in the fourth
quarter, running back Chris Perry was
stopped not once, but twice when he
needed to gain one yard.
But the misses were not as glaring
because on both occasions, the
Wolverines scored a touchdown on
their next possession - in the third
quarter, Michigan scored on a 31-yard
catch by Braylon Edwards and in the
fourth quarter, the Wolverines scored
on a 34-yard run by Calvin Bell off the
Michigan's other touchdown came
on a one-yard run by Askew in the first
Purdue had success early in the
game by utilizing the mobility of
Kirsch, who ended the game with 81
yards and one touchdown on the
ground. But Kirsch's was inconsistent
through the air and could muster only
172 yards passing and one touchdown,
a 31-yard pitch to John Standeford.
Both teams can point to miscues in
the kicking game, something that has
plagued them all season. Purdue kicker
Berin Lacevic missed attempts of 41
and 40 yards in the first half, while
Michigan kicker Troy Nienberg made
a 33-yard fieldgoal, but had a 37-yard,
fourth quarter attempt blocked and
missed a fourth quarter extra point
Continued from Page 18
you forget they're out there at all. Edwards, Bellamy
and the rest of John Navarre's targets are solid, but
unspectacular. They have shown themselves capable of
making the play when it's third-and-game, or fourth-
and-game (against Penn State), but have also failed in
such situations (against Notre Dame). Edwards in par-
ticular has been a model of inconsistency, despite the
promise that he has shown on certain days, and on cer-
The offense isn't bad - it's middle of the road. The
27.7 points per game is fine, but it requires the defense
to keep opponents' scoring low. Through last weekend,
Michigan is holding its opponents to 20.9 points per
game. That seven point cushion is not enough when you
are afraid - rightly - to kick field goals. The games
only get tougher, and the margins of victory (or defeat)
will only shrink. A statistician will tell you to remove
the outliers. So if the highest and lowest scoring games
of the season are removed from the equation (10-7 ver-
sus Utah and 45-28 versus Illinois) then that difference
becomes 27.8 points per game scored and 22.2 points
per game allowed. That difference of two field goals is
the difference between having a kicking game you trust,
or a fullback that is a guarantee on fourth-and-inches.
The defense needs to be as good as advertised.
Injuries have plagued the unit at every level, but Michi-
gan does not have the luxury to make excuses if it's
talking seriously about Big Ten titles and BCS berths.
Saturday's 23-21 score against a meager Purdue team
was typical. But the offense cannot and will not score
much more than 23,against the rest of its Big Ten com-
petition, so the defense will have to find a way to keep
opponents below 20.
Say what you will about the offensive weapons -
they're doing what they'll do. The burden from here on
out is on the D.
Yds Avg t
David Horn can be reached at email@example.com.
Injured Perry delivers for 'M'
PLAYERS O THE GAME:-
By Joe Smith
Daily Sports Editor
WEST LAFAYETTE - Chris Perry was
nearly inconsolable as he limped into the
locker room at halftime on Saturday.
The junior tailback injured his left ankle
early in the second quarter when a Purdue
lineman fell on him while he was pass
blocking. But it wasn't the throbbing pain
coming from his ankle that led tears to
stream down his face.
More so, it was the all-too-familiar, yet
symbolic scene of Perry reluctantly hob-
bling off the field and sitting on the side-
lines with the training staff instead of
helping the Wolverines in their battle.
"I was really upset," Perry said. "Since
I've been here, I haven't made it through a
whole season without getting injured. That
was a goal of mine to make it through a
whole season and play every game."
The same coaches and teammates who
challenged Perry prior to this season to be
the durable, dependable and capable run-
ning back the Wolverines' desperately need-
ed also nnsoled Perrv at halftime.
the load in the second half. He finished
with 78 yards on 16 carries, most of which
came after his injury.
"We really needed him," said Michigan
offensive coordinator Terry Malone. "He's a
very important part of our offense, and he
came out like a warrior today.
"He was not 100 percent after he rolled
his ankle, and probably needed to sit down
the rest of the game. But we needed him
and he came out and played."
But Perry said playing hurt is just part of
the game, and a huge part of his role for the
"I feel like my team is dependent on
me," Perry said. "I have to be out there. I
have the starting position for a reason,
and I should be out there on the field -
especially in games as tight and important
as this one."
Such a display of toughness occurred in
last week's dramatic victory over Penn
State. In the critical, overtime drive, Perry
limped off the field only to return a few
plays later and punch in the winning score.
"Chris is a tough kid," captain Bennie
Jonnrn said. "There's no way you're going
tions. He was disappointed he couldn't put
enough pressure on his ankle and drive as
hard to gain those crucial first downs on
consecutive 3rd-and-1 and 4th-and-1 plays
late in the game. He said that's what the
Wolverines need to improve on for their
stretch run against Big Ten powers such as
Iowa and Ohio State.
After the game, Perry was still visibly
bothered by the injury. He was even over-
heard yelling to one of the trainers, "Some-
one give me a shot, this hurts." But as he
limped to the team bus, he said there's no
need to worry about him missing any more
snaps on the field, as Hell will freeze over
before he sits out.
"They'll have to amputate something
before that happens," Perry said.
Michigan junior tailback Chris Perry is
trying to prove he can be a durable and
dependable rock in the backfield after
two injury-plagued seasons. He hasn't
dissapointed Michigan's coaching staff
thusfar, as he's on pace for a career year.
il ' oe