4B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - September 22, 2003
OREGON 31, MICHIGAN 27
By Kyle O'Neill
Daily Sports Editor
EUGENE, Ore. - Special teams?
More like not-so-special teams.
Bad jokes aside, Saturday was a
day that Michigan, and even Oregon,
would like to forget from a kicking
From the opening field goal
attempt to the final kickoff, the game
hinged on either team's ability, or
ineptitude, on special teams. Given
that both teams were known for their
explosive offenses, it was shocking to
many that of the 58 points scored in
Oregon's 31-27 win, 24 were the
result of special teams play.
"Coach (Mike) Bellotti was stress-
ing before the game that special
teams would be the difference," Ore-
gon defensive back and punt returner
Steven Moore said. "Our two blocked
kicks and punt return for a touch-
down made a huge difference in the
game and left it wide open."
While it was the Ducks' special
teams that made the ultimate differ-
ence, Michigan was at its best and
worst, all on Oregon's first drive.
Holding the ball for almost 10 min-
utes of the first quarter, the Ducks'
offense finally stalled at the Michi-
gan 6-yard line. Oregon kicker Jared
Siegel lined up for a 22-yard field
goal, only to have it blocked by
Michigan safety Marlin Jackson, who
day for special
crashed through the left side of the gan was prep
offensive line. The blocked kick land- own 27-yard]
ed in the hands of senior Jeremy Nelson push
LeSueur, who took it to the house Michigan's pe
and gave Michigan a 6-0 lead. Thompson, t
That lead would stay at six, as Nelson recov
Michigan punter/kicker Adam Finley yard line and
sent the extra point wide right. Finley the touchdow
would later have an extra point to correct his
blocked by Oregon in the fourth to fumble the
quarter when Michigan pulled within Unfortunatel
four points with just 2:18 remaining. Oregon wide
Even with a blocked kick against fell on the bal
them, the Ducks' special teams would winning touch
answer back in full force. Oregon ev
"We scored two touchdowns on downed with
special teams, and we generally cor- kept Michiga
ralled their punt return - which was Breaston in ci
the best in the nation - so overall four yards onc
I'm pleased," Bellotti said. But for all
The first of Oregon's two special gan's special
team touchdowns came after a Michi- bright mom
gan three-and-out with the Ducks scored to ma
leading 14-6. Finley punted the ball took the ensui
to Oregon's 39-yard line, and as if But even that
there was no one in front of him, when Michiga
Moore broke two arm tackles en ing, taking th
route to a 61-yard return for a touch- gan's 18.
down. The Wolve
"It was like floating on air," Moore play out of fr
said. "I didn't see who was blocking. who had Micl
I just saw grass - open grass - and extra point an
I give all the credit to the people recovered by
blocking for me." Edwards to k
Oregon's other touchdown came alive.
with 6:55 left in the game. With the And even fo
Wolverines down just three, Michi- Oregon's spec
paring to punt from its
line when Oregon's J.D.
hed his way through
ersonal protector, Brian
o block Finley's punt.
ered the punt at the 4-
almost stumbled in for
n. But Thompson tried
ways by forcing Nelson
ball into the endzone.
y for the Wolverines,
receiver Jordan Carey
1 for what would be the
ven had three punts
in the 5-yard line and
an punt returner Steve
heck, allowing him just
of its miscues, Michi-
teams did have some
ents. After Oregon
ake it 31-21, LeSueur
ing kickoff to midfield.
had its dark moments
an was called for hold-
he ball back to Michi-
rines also got a nice
eshman Garrett Rivas,
Ihigan's only converted
nd had his onside kick
wide receiver Braylon
eep Michigan's hopes
r all the acclaim it got,
ial teams didn't have a
Time of Poss
M I C H I G A N
Michigan punter Adam Finley gets a punt blocked late in the fourth quarter. Finley
had a rough day, as he also missed two PATs.
perfect game by any means.
The Ducks barely averaged more
than 20 yards a carry on kickoffs,
while Siegel had problems keeping
the ball in bounds, booting two
kickoffs over the sidelines to give
"Jared Siegel was very inconsis-
tent today," Bellotti said. "He
kicked the last kickoff from the 20,
and it was probably a 75-yard kick-
off or more. He kicked a couple out
of bounds that, as he said, almost
made him come over and throw up
on the sidelines."
Michigan good field
position on its
Chris Perry and Braylon Edwards can't hide their emotion after Michigan came up just short of a comeback against Oregon.
Runnig game headsSouthfor Winter
Continued from Page IS
at the line of scrimmage, and Michigan finished with
minus-three yards on the ground. Turnovers and
botched plays marred the Wolverines' offense early,
while the Ducks' receivers found holes in the Michi-
gan secondary all afternoon.
"We have no excuses," Michigan coach Lloyd
Carr said. "We just made too many mistakes to win
the game. We had chances to win. We never stopped
fighting, we never stopped clawing and trying to
find a way to win, but in the end, we just didn't
make a play."
The Wolverines opened the scoring with a 78-yard
touchdown return by cornerback Jeremy LeSueur
after safety Marlin Jackson blocked a field-goal
attempt at the 22-yard line. But the Ducks had been
chipping away at the Michigan defense for 9:18 on
their opening drive, and by the time Michigan's
offense took the field at 2:11 in the first quarter, it
couldn't get anything going.
The Wolverines went three-and-out on their first
possession, fumbled the ball on a fake punt snap dur-
ing their second possession and headed to the locker-
room with just 46 total yards and a 15-point deficit.
Oregon extended its lead to 24-6 before the Michi-
gan offense started to find any rhythm. The Wolver-
ines abandoned their ineffective running game, and
Navarre dialed into his receivers. Beginning with
Michigan's touchdown drive at the end of the third
quarter, Edwards, sophomore Jason Avant and red-
shirt freshman Steve Breaston took over, making
clutch receptions to keep Michigan alive. At 4:03 in
the third, Avant caught a pass near the 10, dragged a
defender downfield and extended the ball just over
On Michigan's next possession, Navarre and Edwards
connected on 4th-and-12, and on the next play, Edwards
was hit so hard his helmet flew off one way and his do-
rag went the other, but he hung onto the ball. Breaston
capped the drive with a did-you-see-that diving grab in
the corner of the endzone, and Michigan pulled within
three after a two-point conversion.
"That's just a big-time thing," Edwards said. "We
don't have time to get down on ourselves. The
game's not over until there's 0:00 seconds on the
clock; and until that point you have to play like
you're going to win."
Michigan had the momentum in the fourth quarter
until Oregon's J.D. Nelson blocked an Adam Finley
punt with just less than seven minutes left, and Jor-
dan Carey returned it to put the Ducks up 31-21.
Despite an interception thrown by Navarre, the
Wolverines pulled back within four (the extra point
on Breaston's touchdown was blocked), and then
Edwards recovered the onside kick that Michigan
couldn't take advantage of.
The loss dropped the Wolverines to 11th in the
Associated Press poll - one spot behind the Ducks.
Edwards led the team with 13 receptions for 144
yards, and Breaston had two touchdowns and 109
receiving yards. Navarre completed 28-of-55 passes
for 360 yards and three touchdowns. He threw two
interceptions. Perry, rarely used in the second half,
finished with 11 carries for 26 yards.
"We came here as a team, we go home as a team,"
Carr said. "We're not pointing the finger."
-....... --. ...... ..................................
After a very emotional loss in Eugene,
Ore., the Wolverines will have to find a
way to rebound as they come home to
open the Big Ten season against Indi-
ana. The Hoosiers have not looked
impressive this season, as they have
gone 1-3 in nonconference play thus
far. The3Indiana offense is averaging
just 18.3 points per game.
BIG TEN STANDINGS
By I aweed Sikora
Daily Sports Editor
EUGENE, Ore. - What happened to the
Michigan running game?
What happened to the second-ranked rushing
attack in the nation that had been good for more
than 300 yards per game?
It took three giant steps
After completely dominat-
ing their first three opponents
on the ground, the Wolverines
hit a wall against Oregon. The
Wolverines finished with
running through. The offensive line succeeded
in protecting Navarre, but was unable to han-
dle Oregon's run defense, which often consist-
ed of more than eight men in the box because
the Ducks brought the safety up.
The Wolverines didn't get much of a chance
to establish the running game early on, as Ore-
gon ran 24 offensive plays before Michigan's
offense even got its hands on the ball. By the
time the half rolled around, the Wolverines
were already down 21-6 and hadn't done any-
thing to establish their ground game.
After Perry rushed nine times for 18 yards
in the first half, the offense decided to go to
the air. Perry rushed just twice in the entire
"Our coaches thought it was best to get
away from the running game, and you can't
argue with them," Perry said. "I wasn't produc-
ing for the team.
"We knew they were going to be loaded up in
the box. They usually had, eight, nine, 10 guys
in there. They had a great defensive scheme."
BREASTON BACK ON OFFENSE: Michigan punt
returner Steve Breaston reappeaied on the
offense against Oregon, and immediately made
his presence felt. The sophomore finished with
six catches for 106 yards and his first two
career touchdown receptions. Both his touch-
downs, and most of his catches, came in the
fourth quarter when the Wolverines were
attempting to make a comeback.
"Steve has been banged up a little bit the
past two weeks, but he had a good week of
practice, and I think he'll be a much bigger
part of our offense as we go forward," Carr
Breaston had four catches against Central
Michigan, but was limited to returning punts
in the two following games. Although he didn't
get an opportunity to make an impact on spe-
cial teams against Oregon, several of his clutch
receptions down the stretch kept the Wolver-
ines in the game until the end.
MINNESOTA GAME UPDATE: Michigan Athletic
Director Bill Martin said he would be dis-
cussing the start of Michigan's game at Min-
nesota, scheduled for Oct. 11, with other Big
Ten officials in the near future.
If the Minnesota Twins make the playoffs
(they're 5 1/2 games ahead), there will be a
scheduling conflict with a Twins divisional
playoff game on FOX.
Martin said one option is to discuss an
agreement with FOX that would allow the
Wolverines to play early Saturday morning, in
time for the baseball game to be played at its
THIS WEEKEND'S RESULTS
MICHIGAN 27, OREGON 31
Ohio State 24, Bowling Green 17
Iowa 21, Arizona St. 2
WASHINGTON 45, IDAHO 14
Michigan St. 22, Notre Dame 16
MINNESOTA 48, LA. LAFAYETTE 14
North Carolina 27, Wisconsin 38
California 31, Illinois 24
Kent State 10, Penn State 32
ARIZONA 7, PURDUE 59
NORTHWESTERN 28, DUKE 10
KENTUCKY 34, INDIANA 17
minus-3 yards on the ground. Chris Perry, who
had been the nation's leading rusher with 183
yards per game, was held to just 26 yards on
11 carries. His longest run, which came in the
first quarter, was for five yards.
"Oregon did a great job against the running
game," Lloyd Carr said. "They mixed their cover-
ages really well, but we didn't get the movement
like we needed to get. But we knew coming in
that they had a big, strong defensive front."
Michigan's offensive line seemed over-
whelmed for the first time all season. Oregon's
front seven seemed to beat them to many key
spots, closing the gaps that Perry was used to
Central Michigan W, 45-7
Houston W, 50-3
Notre Dame W, 38-0
at Oregon L, 31-27
Indiana 12:10 p.m.
at Iowa 2:30 p.m.
at Minnesota TBA
at Michigan State TBA
at Northwestern TBA
Ohio State Noon
SOUTHERN SHOOTOUT: Louisiana
State wide receiver Skyler Green
wasn't supposed to be the hero
at the end of the game - but
that's the way it turned out.
Quarterback Matt Mauck hit
Green with 1:22 left in the fourth
quarter to give Louisiana State a
17-10 win over Georgia.
Mauck was looking for star
receiver Michael Clayton, but
Green ended up being the open
man and caugiht the~ winningi
HOW THE AP TOP 25 FARED
Associated Press Poll for week of Sept. 15.
Games updated through Sept. 20.
(first-place votes in parentheses)
2. Miami (Fla.)
4. Southem Cal.
5. Ohio State
6. Kansas State
8. Virginia Tech
10. Florida State
beat 59-24 UCLA
beat Boston College 33-14
lost to Oregon 31-27
beat Rowling G-n 24-17
lost to Marshall 27-20
lost to LSU 17-10
beat Texas A&M 35-19
lost to Toledo 35-31
beat Colorado 47-7
at Texas A&M
1. Oklahoma (55)
2. Miami (Fl.) (3)
3. Southern Cal. (2)
4. Ohio State (5)
5. Virginia Tech (8)
6. Florida State
7. Louisiana State