September 8, 2003
Michigan's Pierre Woods zeroes in on Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb in Saturday's game. The Wolverines sacked Kolb six times during the afternoon, as they went on to cruise 50-3.
Backs pound away s Wolverines overpower Cougars
By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Editor
There's hardly an excuse for the way Michigan's rushing
It was nothing but predictable.
In fact, there was nothing innovative about the offense at all.
The Wolverines kept running and running and running.
And by the end of this inexcusable, predictable and unorigi-
nal offensive performance, the Wolverines had racked up 398
yards and five touchdowns on the ground en route to a team
win of 50-3 over Houston. This came as the Wolverines man-
aged just 144 yards in the air, even though they began the
game trying to establish an aerial attack.
"We just have to be patient, and we do things for a reason,"
offensive tackle Tony Pape said. "There was a reason we were
passing for the first couple series, because we wanted to
spread out the defense so we could get that running game
going. I think we just have to be patient with our offense."
It also seemed like anyone with the tailback label next to
his name had a big game in terms of yards per carry.
Chris Perry kept up his pace from the Central Michigan
game with 184 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries.
David Underwood carried for 108 yards and scored one
touchdown on 12 carries - his first 100-yard performance as
a Wolverine. And back-ups Jerome Jackson, Pierre Rembert
(who had two touchdowns) and Tim Bracken combined for
101 yards on 11 carries.
In a game where Michigan's ability to rush the ball was its
biggest plus, it was on the other side of the ball where the
most questions were answered. After giving up 300-plus yards
to Central Michigan (over 200 yards on the ground), there
were some questions to whether the defensive front seven
could recover and show the dominance that it is usually asso-
ciated with it.
One safety, six sacks and 11 tackles for loss later, it is safe
to say that the Wolverines' defense is back - especially after
giving up just 108 yards to the Cougars all of Saturday.
"They were really determined," Pape said of the defense
this week in practice. "They had a great week of practice.
They were not going to let what happened to them last week
But there was some concern with the passing game, as
John Navarre completed just 13-of-30 passes for 136 yards.
Navarre's longest pass came on a 45-yard tight end streak
down the middle of the field to set up a Garrett Rivas 38-yard
field goal to put the Wolverines up 15-0 early in the second
Houston could do nothing to slow down Michigan's running
backs. The Wolverines' offensive line was overpowering and
opened up several sizable holes for Michigan's backs to run
through. Overall, the Wolverines had 398 rushing yards and
five touchdowns. Five players averaged six yards or more per
Name Yards Avg TDs
Chris Perry 188 6.8 2
David Underwood 108 9.8 1
Jerome Jackson 60 12 0
Pierre Rembert 23 7.3 2
Tim Bracken 18 6 0
quarter. Tight end Tim Massaquoi was one of the few receivers
that Navarre was able to complete a pass to over the middle.
For most of the game, Houston left a safety sitting in the
middle of the field and controlled anything between the tack-
les. But on this play, Massaquoi split a cover-2 defense,
Navarre made the read, and completed the pass less than a
second before Houston safety Will Gulley - who had a
game-high three pass deflections - could recover from the
right side of the field.
"They were going in and out of cover-2 and cover-3, and
that's the read we've gotta make if they play that certain cov-
erage," Navarre said. "Tim had a great route and we had a
great play-action to hold the linebackers underneath, and he
just made a great catch and a great play."
Some of Navarre's struggles early on came from not being
able to hook up with his top wide receiver Braylon Edwards.
Though they did connect late at the 13:02 mark of the fourth
See COUGARS, Page 58
Two and one. If you're a Michigan football fan,
that record should sound very familiar to you.
That's because in each
of the past three seasons, the
Wolverines have found a way
to lose that notorious third
game. After securing those
first two wins, the Wolverines
have fallen on their face the
past three years, squashing
their national championship NAWEED
hopes in the process. SIKORA
Every September, before the
Big Ten season even gets Blowin' Smoke
underway, Michigan fans have
been forced to swallow hard and come to the unpleas-
ant realization that a national title is, once again, out
of the cards.
Now, we all know the Wolverines don't mean to lose
the third game. It just happens. The losses at UCLA
(2000), Washington (2001) and Notre Dame (2002)
were heartbreaking and frustrating because they
weren't blowouts. They all came down to one or two
crucial moments - moments that just did not end up
going Michigan's way.
In Southern California three years ago, the Wolver-
ines held a 10-point lead with just over five minutes
remaining in the third quarter, but could not hold on
and fell to the Bruins 23-20. Kicker Hayden Epstein
missed two field goals - including a 24-yard attempt
in the fourth quarter that would have tied the game -
and a PAT.
In Washington in 2001, the Huskies scored back-to-
back touchdowns in the fourth quarter to come from
behind and beat Michigan 23-18. The first came on a
blocked Michigan field goal attempt that was run back
77 yards for a score. As soon as the Wolverines got the
ball back, John Navarre threw a pick that was run back
21 yards for another touchdown. It was a tough series
of events to watch.
And finally, in South Bend last season, the game
went down to the wire, and the Wolverines even held a
lead in the fourth quarter, but were unable to seal the
deal and fell to the Irish 25-23. Another third game,
another aggravating loss.
Could this be the year that Michigan's three-year
third-game losing streak ends? The game is being
played at home, which is encouraging. The familiar
scenery could put the Wolverines at ease. Plus, it's
against the Irish, who the Wolverines have been wait-
ing to get another shot at since Sept. 14, 2002, the day
when the Wolverines fell in South Bend.
"We want to win very bad," Navarre said. "I think
the whole team is in the same boat. When you get a
chance to play the same team that you lost to the year
before, it's big."
Thus far, Michigan has looked impressive to say the
least. The run defense was soft against Central, but air-
tight against Houston (the Cougars had just 74 yards
on the ground). The ground game has looked like the
best in the nation. And although the aerial attack
See SIKORA, Page 4B
Taylor plays hero as Wolverines win on late PK
By Ellen McOwrity
Daily Sports Writer
It's not every day that a defensive back
gets the chance to score the winning and
only goal in a game of soccer. But yesterday
against Evansville, Michigan junior Kevin
Taylor was handed that
opportunity when he
was chosen to take a EVANSvLLE
"Knox (Cameron) is
the guy that takes
penalty kicks for us, but we had him on the
bench to save him for later in the second
half," Burns said. " Then KT (Kevin Taylor)
is the man from there."
Taylor went one-on-one with the Aces'
keeper, hesitating slightly to throw him off,
then took his shot. The ball went over the
keeper's head and into the net.
"I was just thinking, 'Don't miss,' " said
Taylor. "You usually just pick a spot and
stick with it."
But Taylor's perfect kick wasn't all that led
was kept in the opponent's end of the field.
During the first half, senior Mike White
and juniors Knox Cameron and Mychal
Turpin worked together to set up several
promising shots on goal, but had trouble
finishing, costing Michigan the chance to
score in the first half.
In the second half, the Wolverines came
out with a more high-pressure defense. This
strong defense, coupled with some close
saves by junior goalkeeper Peter Dzubay
kept Evansville's offense quiet.
"This game we just tried to keep the ball
on the ground - and we got the result,"
Hot weather and a late game start also left
players from both teams frustrated and less
energetic than they could have been. But
Michigan coach Steve Burns had something
"It was a team victory in that we had a
deep bench now that we're four years into the
(varsity) program," Burns said. "We were
able to get guys off the bench very effectively
in order to get some energy into the game."
"Mike White put in a great effort today
as did Dawson Stellburger," Burns said.
"They were the two most effective players
- they maintained energy all game long."
Sophomore Kevin Hall started his first
game of the season, taking the usual spot of
senior Joe Iding, and was kept in by Burns
up until the last few moments of the game.
"It was his first opportunity to get a start ,
and I said to him, 'Play the way you think
we need to play in this game. Don't get too
conservative because you're an attack-mind-
ed back,' " Burns said. "And he took advan-
tage of his minutes. For a freshman, it was a
In the game against Evansville, one
goal was enough to leave Michigan on
top. Earlier this weekend, though, even
two wasn't enough.
On Friday, the Wolverines swallowed, but
did not choke on their first loss of the sea-
son to Dayton, 4-2. Michigan may have lost
in terms of goals scored, but White felt that
the team's time of possession and skill of
play were evenly matched. He said Michi-
had four decent chances. We just didn't cap-
italize on ours. We just didn't finish. As the
season goes on, we'll get better at it."
The Flyers scored first when they slipped
a ball past the goalkeeper Dzubay near the
end of the first half. Another goal by Dayton
early in the second half left Michigan trail-
ing 2-0, a worrisome lead in soccer.
White and Turpin appeared to turn the
game around when they each scored a goal
in the second half. But Dayton quickly
countered with goals of its own, ending the
game leading by two.
"It's great to see that the team's got fight
and is able to rebound and get themselves
back in the game" Burns said. "But once you
get back in the game, you've got to seize that
momentum and make it yours for as long as
possible. We seemed to seize momentum, but
then give it right back to them."
Although Michigan did lose one of its
first home games this weekend, Burns does-
n't think that is the hardest thing for the
players to accept.
"More so than being beaten on the
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