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October 27, 2003 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-10-27

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4

4B - The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - October 27, 2003
MICHIGAN 31, PURDUE 3

Receiving trio catches
prase from Joe Tiller

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
19
38/105
240
71
345
86
18/33/0
7/43.7
3/1
4/30
32:17

PURDUE
13
29/58
184
66
242
105
18/37/2
10/43.9
4/1
8/69
27:43

4

By Courtney Lewis
Daily Sports Editor

Like jigsaw pieces, Braylon
Edwards, Steve Breaston and Jason
Avant fit together to make something
better than each player is alone.
The result is a receiving corps puz-
zle that the Boilermakers couldn't
solve on Saturday, and one that wowed
Purdue coach Joe Tiller.
"I'm going to say this one last time:
Right now, the Wolverines have the best
corps of wide receivers
I have ever seen," Tiller said. "These
guys can go start at Miami (Fla.). Wher-
ever you want to pick that has the best
passing attack in America, this group of
receivers can go there and beat out that
group of receivers in my opinion."
Each Michigan wideout brings
something different to the field.
Edwards, the experienced leader of
the group, has explosive athleticism
that allows him to elevate over defend-
ers and come down with the ball, like
he did in Saturday's third quarter for
his second touchdown of the game.
The junior is John Navarre's favorite
endzone target - he has nine touch-
downs this season - and the player
that defenses are afraid to let out of
their sight.
Edwards sometimes helps the other
members of Michigan's receiving tri-
fecta just by being on the field and
drawing defenders.
"Braylon's a big part of my success
(because) guys look for Braylon a lot,
and guys try to double-team him,"
Avant said. "But you can't really dou-
ble-team him with other guys like me
and Steve on the field."
Breaston, known for his dazzling
punt returns, gives Michigan the luxu-
ry of being able to mix things up on

offense by using his speed.
Michigan threw to Edwards for its
first touchdown Saturday, then used
Breaston on a different type of play for
its second. Tailback Chris Perry hand-
ed off to Breaston, who ran a 21-yard
reverse into the endzone.
The slippery receiver's quickness
also helps him beat opponents' sec-
ondaries. He has three receiving
touchdowns and 307 yards in nine
games.
Avant doesn't have the blazing
speed that Breaston or Edwards have,
but he makes up for it with physical
force. Avant is the rare receiver who
can also lay down monster blocks, and
he can shake off defenders to gain
yards after the catch. He earned 90
yards on just five catches against Pur-
due. Avant has also become the go-to-
guy in third down situations.
"I go out there and just play the best
I can, if it's on first down or third
down," Avant said. "It just seems like
(Navarre) looks for me more on third
down, and I just try to make the play."
Purdue safety Stuart Schweigert
found out first-hand how well the
combination works.
"They're good," Schweigert said.
"They've got great athletes. They have
guys who will catch the ball and run
around and do a lot of things with it."
With all of that talent, it might seem
that there wouldn't be enough passes
to go around, but as Edwards said, "it's
nothing like that."
The three drive each other, but they
aren't in a tight battle for playing time
because they can all contribute by
playing to their individual strengths.
"We make each other better," Avant
said. "We challenge each other in
practice. We challenge each other off
the field to do the right thing."

M I C H I G A N

PASSING
Player
Navarre
Gutierrez
Totals
RUSHING
Player
Perry
Navarre
Bracken
Breaston
Underwood
Team
Totals
RECEIVING
Player
Edwards
Avant
Massaquoi
Perry
Breaston
Bell
Totals

4

C-A
17-30
1-3
18-33

Att
28
4
3
121
1
1
38
No.
6
5
2
2
2
1
18

Yds
95
-11
-1
21.0
2.
-1
105
Yds
86
90
18
16
15
15
240
No.
7
7

Yds
225
15
240
Avg
3.4
-2.8
-0.3
21
2.0
-1.0
2.8
Avg
14.3
18.0
9.0
8.0
7.5
15.0
13.3

TO
2
0
2
Lg
15
5
1
2
0
21
Lg
26
34
9
8
11
15
34

int
TO
TD
O
O
0

O
O
1

4

TD
2
0
0
0
2

PUNTING
PlayerI
Finley
Totals
KICKOFF RETURNS
Player No.
Bracken ,
Totals1
PUNT RETURNS
Player No.
Breaston 6
Totals 6
DEFENSE
Player
Reid
Shaw
LeSueur
Barringer
Woods
Shazor
McClintock
Diggs
Bowman
Curry
Stevens
Burgess
Massey
Heuer
Hell
Hood
Watson
Thompson
Young
Rembert
Tabb
Totals

Yds Avg Lg
306 43.7 46.0
306 43.7 46.0

Yds Avg Lg
19 19.0 19
19 19.0 19
Yds Avg Lg
67 11.2 30
67 11.2 30

TD
O
O
TD
O
0

DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily

Michigan's Braylon Edwards comes down with his first of two touchdown catches of the afternoon.

Special teams tightens up act after Carr's adjustments

Solo
9
4
5
3
4
4
3
2
2
2
2
1
1
1
0
0
0
0
0
0
44

Asst
3
3
1
3
1
1
0
1
1
1
0
1
0
0
0
1
1
22

Tot
12
7
6
6
5
5
3
3
3
3
2
2
1
1
1
1
1
1
1
66

:4

By J. Brady McCollough
Daily Sports Editor

At last week's press conference, Michigan
coach Lloyd Carr deemed the Wolverines'
punt coverage a "work in
progress."
But after keeping dangerous
Purdue punt returner AnthonyCra t
Chambers under wraps Satur-
day, the Michigan punt team
appears to be progressing
rather quickly.
The Wolverines held Chambers, who was
averaging 13.5 yards per return entering Sat-
urday's game, to just 38 yards on five returns.
"We've gone through a lot of different situ-
ations, and we're trying to sure up different
things," said Michigan punter Adam Finley,
who averaged 43.7 yards per punt and pinned
the Boilermakers inside their 20-yard line
four times. "We're trying to come back now
and carry it through the rest of the season."
The Wolverines' punt team became the
team's most scrutinized unit after allowing a
punt to be blocked in the Wolverines' losses to
Iowa and Oregon. Fans and media questioned
the punt formation Michigan used at Iowa, in
which three offensive linemen lined up in the
backfield a few yards in front of kicker-
turned-punter Garrett Rivas.
Less than a week after the special teams'
debacle at Iowa, Michigan special teams
coach Jim Boccher didn't make the trip to
Minnesota due to "personal reasons."
So what's changed the past two weeks? The
Wolverines dropped the new punt formation
and went back to the traditional formation
they used last season. Past special teams phe-
noms Pierre Woods and Ernest Shazor played
on the punt team against Purdue, showing
Carr's commitment to correcting the Wolver-
ines' problems on special teams. Also, wide
receiver Carl Tabb's speed on the unit forced
Chambers to make quick decisions with the
ball.
"We're working hard," Carr said last week.
"Every guy is hustling down there. Every
week, we're just trying to get a little bit better.
Obviously, we have some room for improve-
ment."

MARLIN'S READY: Michigan safety Marlin
Jackson didn't play for the second straight
week due to a muscle pull in his right leg that
he suffered against Minnesota. But Jackson
said that he could have played a minimal
number of snaps Saturday.
"I hoped to play," Jackson said. "It was a
game-time decision. We decided that if they
needed me, I could go out there, but if you
watched the game, they had it in hand."
Jackson said it was hard to watch the
defense play without him, even though the
Wolverines played so well.

"I don't like to watch anything," Jackson
said. "I'm too competitive. I just wanted to
run out on the field and play with those guys."
GOLDEN-ARMED NAVARRE?: Michigan quar-
terback John Navarre is one of seven finalists
for the 2003 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm
Award, presented annually to the nation's best
senior quarterback.
Navarre is joined by Tulane's J.P. Losman,
Mississippi's Eli Manning, North Carolina
State's Philip Rivers, Virginia's Matt Schaub,
Texas Tech's B.J. Symons and Oklahoma's
Jason White as finalists for the award.

Navarre has completed 57.9 percent of his
passes for 2,271 yards, 16 touchdowns and
seven interceptions.
INJURY UPDATE: Woods limped off the field
Saturday, but after the game, indicated that he
was fine and would be ready for next week's
game ... Defensive end Jeremy Van Alstyne
returned to action after sitting out the past
three games with a knee injury ... Safety
Jacob Stewart, who left the Illinois game with
an apparent knee injury, said his goal is to
return by the Northwestern or Ohio State
game.

4

WHO'S NEXT:
MICHIGAN STATE
The Wolverines have been waiting two
years for another opportunity to get back
at the Spartans for dropping a close game
in East Lansing. Michigan destroyed the
Spartans at home last year, but Michigan
State has regrouped and is currently sit-
ting on top of the Big Ten as its only
undefeated team. Quarterback Jeff Smok-
er has led the charge, coming back from
off-field difficulties last season to become
the Big Ten's top quarterback.
BIG TEN STANDINGS

4

Team
Michigan State
Michigan
Ohio State
Purdue
Minnesota
Wisconsin
Iowa
Northwestern
Penn State
Indiana
Illinois

Big Ten
4 0
4 1
3 1
3 2
3 2
3 2
2 2
2 2
0 4
0 4
0 5

Overall
7 1
7 2
71
6 2
7 2
6 3
6 2
4 4
2 6
1 7
1 8

4

THIS WEEKEND'S RESULTS
MICHIGA 31, Purdue 3
Ohio State 35, INDIANA 6
Minnesota 36, ILLINOIS 10
IowA 26, Penn State 14
NORTHWESTERN 16, Wisconsin 7
'M' SCHEDULE

4

Date
Aug. 30
Sept. 6
Sept. 13
Sept. 20
Sept. 27
Oct. 4
Oct. 11
Oct. 18
Oct. 25
Nov. 1
Nov. 15
Nov. 22

Central Michigan W, 45-7
Houston W, 50-3
Notre Dame W, 38-0
at Oregon L, 27-31
Indiana W, 31-17
at Iowa L, 27-30
at Minnesota W,38-35
Illinois W, 56-14
Purdue W,31-3
at Michigan State Noon
at Northwestern TBA
Ohio State Noon

4

DANNY MOLOSHOK/Daily

Michigan punt returner and receiver Steve Breaston carries the ball to the enzone on a reverse aided by a block from John Navarre.

WEEKEND'S
BEST
VOLUNTEERS STOP TIDE: Ten-
nesse had to battle Alaba-
ma for five overtimes
before coming out with a
51-43 win.
Tennessee's Casey
Clausen scored on a one-
yard quarterback sneak,
then converted the two
point conversion on a two-
yard pass to reciever
James Banks.
Alabama quarterback
Brodie Croyle's pass was
deflected in the endzone

HOW THE AP TOP 25 FARED
Associated Press Poll for the week of October 21.

NEW AP
TOP 25

Games updated through October 25.

(first-place votes in parentheses)

Team:
1. Oklahoma
2. Miami (Fla.)
3. Virginia Tech
4. Georgia
5. Southern Cal.
6. Washington State
7. Florida State
8. Ohio State
9. Louisiana State
10. Purdue
11. Michigan State

Last week:
beat Colorado 34-20
Idle
lost to WestVirginia 28-7
beat Alabama-Birmingham 16-13
beat Washington 43-23
beat Oregon State 36-30
beat Wake Forest 48-24
beat Indiana 35-6
beat Auburn 31-7
lost to Michigan 31-3
Idle

This week
Oklahoma State
at Virginia Tech
Miami (Fla.)
at Florida
Washington State
at Southern Cal.
at Notre Dame
at Penn State
Louisiana Tech
Northwestern
Michigan

TEAM
1. Oklahoma (62)
2. Miami (3)
3. Southern Cal.
4. Georgia
5. Florida State
6. Washington State
7. Louisiana State
8. Ohio State
9. Michigan State
10. Virginia Tech
11. Michigan
12. Nebraska
13. Iowa

REC
8-0
7-0
7-1
7-1
7-1
7-1
7-1
7-1
7-1
6-1
7-2
7-1
6-2
7.4

PTS
1,622
1,563
1,470
1,378
1,320
1,260
1,241
1,226
1,041
1,026
939
924
762

PVS
1
2
5
4
6
6
9
8
11
3
13
14
16
1Q

4

I

j

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