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October 06, 2003 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-10-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

(thelMirbtiuu &zilg
SPRS ONA

October 6, 2003

SECTION B

i :1 fl:

Bird

feeder

IOWA 30, MICHIGAN 27

Blue lacks

that special
play in loss
to Iowa
By J. Brady McColkugh
Daily Sports Editor
IOWA CITY - Say what you want
about all the things the Michigan foot-
ball team did during its 30-27 loss at
Iowa. It's what the Wolverines didnt do
that once again sealed their demise.
. For the second time this season,
Michigan overcame 58 adventurous
Ininutes packed with special teams mis-
cues and spotty offensive execution to
have a chance to win the game in the
final two minutes.
And for the second time this season,
the Wolverines couldn't find a way to
get it done.
With 2:44 left in the game, quarter-
back John Navarre led his team onto the
field needing a field goal to tie and a
touchdown to win his first road game
against a ranked opponent.
Navarre, who had just engineered an
86-yard scoring drive out of the shot-
gun, picked up where he left off with
back-to-back completions to Carl Tabb
and Braylon Edwards for a combined
23 yards. At midfield --20 yards away
from kicker Garrett Rivas' field-goal
range - things went sour. A Chris
Perry run that would have put the
Wolverines inside the Iowa 20-yard line
was called back because of holding.
Navarre sneaked two plays later for
the Michigan first down, setting up 1st-
and-10 from the Iowa 47. After a three-
yard completion to Jason Avant on first
down, the offense bogged down with
poor execution and communication.
Three incompletions and a delay-of-
game penalty on their final three plays
gave the Wolverines that familiar feeling
in the pit of their stomachs. No national
championship, and likely, no Rose
Bowl.
"We didn't make the plays we needed
to make to win the game," Michigan
linebacker Carl Diggs said. "Being a
close ballgame, you just have to find a
way to win, and we haven't been doing
that."
The Wolverines knew if they wanted
to accomplish their goal of a national
championship, they would have to make
a few of those special plays that elevate
a team to another level. For evidence, all
they had to do was look at Ohio State's
run to the title in 2002 and Miami
(Fla.)'s in 2001.
The Buckeyes won six games by
seven points or less, including their
miraculous victory at Purdue. It was
4th-and-1 with one minute and 36 sec-
onds remaining, and undefeated Ohio
State trailed Purdue 6-3 in West
Lafayette. Ohio State quarterback Craig
Krenzel hit receiver Michael Jenkins,
now nicknamed "Mr. Clutch," for a 37-
yard touchdown to keep the dreams of
the Buckeye State alive.
"It's a situation I wish everybody in
See HAWKEYES, Page 4B

It's decision
time: Give
him a chance,
or bench him

NAWEED SIKORA
Blowing Smoke
OWA CITY - I'm not the most
talkative person in the world, but
there have been very few times
in life when I have been completely
speechless. I mean, after most
Michigan football games, I usually
have something to say, write or
scream about.
But Saturday, after John Navarre's
final pass of the day sailed into no-
man's land, I just stood there with a
blank look on my face. I was
speechless.
It was deja vu that left me
stunned, actually. After all, I had
been there just two weeks earlier in
Oregon when the exact same events
had taken place. I just couldn't
believe it had happened again so
soon.
The Michigan coaching staff
wouldn't allow the same mistakes,
right? After losing to Oregon, it
would make sure that this team was
not put in the same position ~atin
Wouldn't it?
I guess not. It's time for the staff
to take a step back and re-assess this
situation. A team with this nrtteffttUV
ent does not belong in Central Flori-
da on New Year's Day anymore. The
coaching staff cannot let it go to
waste any longer. It's time for a
change.
And the change must begin at the
quarterback position.
While there are plenty of people
calling for John Navarre's head after
he fell to 0-6 on the road against
ranked opponents this past weekend,
I don't think this is the solution.
I believe Navarre gives the
Wolverines their best chance to win,
but only if used properly.
The coaching staff has two choic-
es here: If it wants to play Navarre,
loosen its grip on him and let him
use his experience and arm to win
games. If it doesn't have enough
confidence in him to do that, then
bench him and play redshirt fresh-
man Matt Gutierrez.
With two losses, there is no point
in babying their senior quarterback
and trying to build his confidence
any longer. John Navarre has never
been a great quarterback, and I'm
sure it's frustrating for the staff
when he is inaccurate, but he does
the best he can.
If the coaching staff wants to play
See SIKORA, Page 5B

SETH LOWER/Daily

Michigan wide receiver Braylon Edwards hangs his head after Iowa quarterback Nathan Chandler took a knee to give the Hawkeyes the win.
i Another Indiana game, another soccer loss

By Ellen Mc~arrity
Daily Sports Writer
One year ago yesterday, the Michigan men's
soccer team suffered a 2-1 overtime loss in Bloom-
ington. The Wolverines were hoping to rewrite the
game script this season when they faced the
Hoosiers on their own turf.
But new screenwriters must have been unavail-
able, as Michigan lost 2-1 in
overtime for the second year IDAA2
in a row.
"When you have such an emotional game, I
think everybody's really shattered," Michigan
coach Steve Burns said. "In four years, we've
played three overtime games with this team. We've
got to figure out how to beat them in overtime."
From the minute the Hoosiers took the field, the
Wolverines knew this team was going to be tough.
Indiana plays with a man-marking system, and

skills of junior Matt Niemeyer and freshman Kevin
Savitskie.
After receiving a pass from Savitskie, Niemeyer
put the Wolverines on the scoreboard in the 19th
minute of play. The goal was the midfielder's first
career score at Michigan. Niemeyer redshirted last
season with a torn ACL and netted this goal with
his recovered right leg.
"Matt Niemeyer played an absolutely incredible
game - his best yet in a Michigan uniform,"
Burns said.
Niemeyer's goal only spurred on the Hoosiers'
energy, and they became more dangerous in the
attack at end of the first half. But at the half, the
Wolverines still had the edge on the scoreboard.
Four minutes into the second half, Michigan's
luck began to turn. After a controversial call from a
referee, Indiana got an easy penalty kick to tie up
the game.
"I thought that was a bad call," sophomore goal-
1. . ---T - - ;1 j<Tb - - A Ilo - o

Michigan's defense ran itself rugged for the
remainder of the half, shutting down the Hoosiers.
The Wolverines even came close to breaking
the tie with nine minutes remaining. Cameron
managed to break away from his defender long
enough to take a shot on goal. But the ball hit the
crossbar.
"That would have been a great finish," Burns
said. "Five minutes left in the game, the big man
gets it on the right foot, gets a defender off balance
in space, and that's his shot right there. Unfortu-
nately, the crossbar was in the way."
That was Michigan's last chance to score in the
game. In overtime, Indiana's Jacob Peterson
scored, deciding the game just two minutes in.
Although Michigan has yet to beat Indiana, the
team remains optimistic.
"I think we've started gelling as a team,"
Niemeyer said. "It's tough to swallow a game like
this, but you've got to pick your head up and move

imi \ A# 1

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